Reposted from the Labor & Employment Law Navigator Blog - Click Here to Subscribe
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently announced a pilot program which modifies certain aspects of the agency’s mediation program. The EEOC mediation program is a voluntary, informal and confidential way for parties to resolve EEOC charges prior to the EEOC conducting a formal investigation. The EEOC has launched a pilot program known as “ACT” (Access, Categories, Time). The pilot program, which began on July 6, 2020, expands the categories of charges eligible for mediation and generally allows mediation to take place even after an investigation has commenced. Presently, only certain types of charges are eligible for mediation prior to the EEOC beginning its investigation. Since 1999, when the EEOC first implemented its mediation program, the agency has conducted more than 235,000 mediations, resolving over 170,000 charges and obtaining over $2.85 billion in benefits for charging parties. As a result of these recent changes, there are now fewer restrictions on mediation. Consequently, it is likely that more charges will be eligible for and referred to mediation leading to resolution both prior to and during an investigation and/or before the EEOC renders a determination.