The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides employers with several opportunities to resolve potential charges of discrimination. Resolving sexual harassment cases successfully by means of certain voluntary processes can save you time, money, and effort. These processes are termed as mediation, conciliation, and settlement.
EEOC has enhanced its mediation program to a large extent. This program is quick, free, and absolutely confidential. If mediation concludes successfully, then any further investigation is unnecessary. If the harassment charge brought against your company is entitled for mediation, you are invited to participate in this mediation process with a sexual harassment attorney. However, should mediation fail, the charge is passed on to an investigation.
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EEOC’s program of mediation is free, extremely straightforward, and wholly voluntary. The mediation process begins before any investigation is initiated. Mediations are concluded in just one session, and lasts for around 1 to 5 hours. The processing time for the program is generally 84 days. Mediators are third parties who remain neutral and show no interest in the conclusion of the process.
Mediation is confidential in nature. The sessions are neither transcribed nor tape-recorded. Any notes that the mediator takes while the mediation is going on, are disposed of. In case the mediation becomes unsuccessful, information gathered during the process is discarded.
According to sexual harassment lawyers, the process of mediation is quite informal, and its objective is not of fact finding. The intention is to thrash out the charge and arrive at an agreement satisfactory to all concerned parties. Mediation saves you from unnecessary and extensive litigation while settlement agreements reached during the mediation are fully enforceable.
Most employers as well as the complainants taking part in the program are usually satisfied with the mediation process as well as their sexual harassment lawyers. It can also help the concerned parties determine the cause for the breakdown of employment relationship, and can help them identify means of repairing a continuing relationship.
Charges of sexual discrimination and voluntary settlement efforts can be resolved during the investigation. However, resolving a charge without any delay can save you the time and effort entailed during an investigation. It is important that a settlement is by no means an admission of guilt or liability which means there is a better chance there is a settlement at all.
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If the evidence collected at the time of investigation concludes that there is “reasonable cause” to feel that discrimination has indeed occurred, the concerned parties are invited to take part in conciliation discussions. At the time of conciliation, the investigator will work closely with you as well as the charging party to plan a suitable remedy for the alleged discrimination.
The process of conciliation is voluntary and your sexual harassment lawyer will let you know about this. Conciliation discussions are essentially negotiations where any of the parties can present counter offers. These efforts provide the complainant and the defendant a final opportunity to resolve the charge easily. Conciliation agreements can eliminate any lingering uncertainty and hostility surrounding litigation, and the cost involved.
For the most part, every effort ought to be made to resolve the harassment charges. However, in the event of such efforts ending in failure, a sexual harassment lawyer could be your best bet. Since litigation can be costly and long drawn affair, only a salient legal representative has the skills and resources to resolve the situation whether you reach a settlement or take your case to court.