Mediation can be a useful way to resolve legal conflicts without going through the stressful and time-consuming experience of litigation. In the context of employment law, for example, an attorney who is experienced in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) mediations can advise you of your rights during this potentially complex process. If you have an issue or concern arising from a job near Atlanta, the experienced employment discrimination attorneys at Mays & Kerr can assist you from the beginning to the end of your case. We can help you determine the strength of your claim, its likely value, and whether resolving the dispute through mediation makes sense for you.Protect Your Rights by Contacting the EEOC
Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on national origin, race, color, sex, religion, disability, and age. Forbidden conduct can occur during recruiting, hiring, employment, or termination. Examples of potential discrimination may include:
- Refusing to hire or promote members of a certain race;
- Refusing to allow members of a particular religion to wear clothing required by their religion that does not otherwise violate the dress code;
- Limiting employees of a particular national origin to undesirable shifts;
- Terminating employees when they reach a certain age; and
- Engaging in or condoning sexual or racial harassment.
The EEOC enforces most federal employment discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An employee or prospective employee is required to file a charge with the EEOC before bringing a lawsuit. Generally, an individual has only 180 days to file the charge, while a shorter time window applies if he or she works for the government.
After the charge is filed, the EEOC sends notice of the charge and a copy to the employer. At this point, it often recommends that the parties engage in mediation. This process is voluntary, but it can be a good way for to resolve the matter without going to court.What to Expect in Mediation
In mediation, a neutral third party talks to both sides and tries to facilitate a resolution. The matter is only resolved if the parties reach an agreement. The mediator does not make an independent determination.
Mediation gives each side an opportunity to present its case to the other side. The mediator will then speak to each party privately and try to help them reach a consensus.
If the parties do not reach an agreement in mediation, the EEOC will request a written answer to the charge and may ask for additional information from the employer. The agency may then conduct an investigation or seek additional information from the employee. The EEOC will ultimately decide whether it will pursue litigation against the employer or and notify the worker that he or she may pursue the claim and file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf.
Employees should remember that it is likely that the employer will either be represented by legal counsel at the mediation or have consulted counsel beforehand. Although the mediator is a neutral party, he or she does not represent your interests. He or she cannot advise you on the true value of your case or the language of any settlement agreement.
The parties to a mediation should be prepared to settle. Both sides should therefore have an idea of what they believe the dispute is worth and what terms they would be willing to accept to resolve it. An attorney can help you evaluate the strength of your case before mediation and advise you if any facts learned during the process change that assessment. Additionally, a legal professional can help you determine if you may have additional claims, such as wage and labor law violations, that fall outside the EEOC’s purview.Employment Law Attorneys Ready to Protect the Rights of Georgia Workers
Mays & Kerr is a firm that knows employment law inside-out. Our team is skilled in not just litigation but in alternatives like mediation and arbitration. The knowledgeable employment lawyers at Mays & Kerr have the skills to provide tenacious representation at an EEOC mediation in Georgia. If you have been affected by employment discrimination, call us at 1-877-986-5529 or contact us online to schedule an initial appointment at no cost to you.