How Can I Prepare For An EEOC Mediation Meeting?

The most proven way to prepare for any legal proceeding including an EEOC mediation session is to hire a lawyer. While an unrepresented employee might be able to go far in the process, crucial legal meetings such as a mediation can result in a settlement that might be far too small for the issue at hand or include long-last consequences. A lawyer understands the best options available to employees in the legal system.

A mediation seeks to settle a dispute through a meeting of the two opposing parties alongside a neutral third party. Through the communication of concerns, the mediation could result in an agreement that resolves the problem. The settlement ends the problem.

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Questions & Answers: Mediation

What Is The EEOC Mediation?

The EEOC mediation program, implemented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the early 1990s, successfully resolves many disputes throughout the United States. When employees file a discrimination complaint against their company, the EEOC encourages the use of mediation in seeking resolution of employment issues.

Does The Employer Or Employee Have The Advantage In An EEOC Mediation?

The mediator in a mediation is a neutral third party with experience in helping two at-conflict groups come to a resolution and settlement. Ideally, neither employer or employee should have any advantage. However, since employers often have legal representation, it’s very possible that the employer will have more advantage over an employee who does not understand the legal terminology and is unrepresented during the mediation.

Will The EEOC Mediator Help Me In The Mediation?

No, the mediator’s job is to remain neutral and guide the conversation to resolution. If anything, view the mediator as someone who’s main client is the United States. Yes, the mediator is there to support employment law, but the main goal of the mediator is to help you and your employer settle the problem outside of court.

Why Does An Employee Need A Lawyer For Mediation?

A lawyer understands the legal system and language. Since your employer will likely have a lawyer, it’s important for you, the employee, to be represented by a lawyer as well. As your representative, your lawyer will ensure that your rights and employment concerns won’t get lost in the lawyer-speak. If an agreement on a settlement is made, your lawyer will check to be sure that the paperwork of the agreement won’t have long-lasting consequences on your life.

How Is An EEOC Mediation Session Scheduled?

After a complaint has been filed with the EEOC, the EEOC selects the cases that they view as being suitable for mediation. The EEOC Mediation Unit reaches out to both parties and asks about their interest in mediation. Upon agreement, the EEOC schedules the mediation for a day that works for both parties. If mediation is declined by one of the parties, the complaint progresses to investigation.

Why Should An Employee Choose EEOC Mediation For A Complaint?

An EEOC mediation is not an either-or option. An employee can choose to have a mediation, and then if the mediation doesn’t result in a settlement, the complaint will continue through the legal process potentially all the way to trial. Nothing is sacrificed or lost by trying to mediate the employment issues. In fact, many EEOC mediations are successful and settle well.

What Happens During An EEOC Mediation?

The EEOC mediator introduces the process of the mediation to all parties and then requests that the employee shares why the complaint was filed and what his or her expectations are for the mediation. Then, the employer shares their side of the dispute and corresponding goals for the mediation. Once both parties have spoken, the mediator tries to guide both parties to a mutually acceptable settlement. Once resolved, the settlement agreement carries the same weight as a court’s judgment. Therefore, it’s imperative that the employee has legal representation so that he or she is not taken advantage of during the process.

What The Difference Between Mediation And Court?

During mediation, the participants choose their final outcome rather than relying on the judge or jury to settle the case. During a mediation, the mediator doesn’t sift through evidence and doesn’t have any authority to make a decision. A mediation usually settles with a win-win compromise while a case that goes to court will have only one winning party. Finally, mediation often only lasts a day and remains private and confidential while a court case could become extremely public as evidence is unpacked publicly.

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6 Things To Know For Mediation

1. Your Employer Won’t Apologize.

If you expect that your employer will apologize for the employment discrimination or sexual harassment, think again. It’s very unlikely that an employer will admit fault.

2. Know Why You, Your Employer, and Mediator Are There.

It’s likely that your employer wants stay out of court and pay as little as possible to settle the case. The mediator’s sole purpose is to hopefully close the case as well. But what do you want from the mediation?

3. Speak Confidently.

When you know what you want, present it with confidence. Hesitancy weakens your case. And your goal is to walk out of the mediation with what you want and not to walk out with something you don’t want.

4. Dress For Court.

Looks do matter. Be sure to show up in professional clothing and carry yourself with calm politeness. Even though this is not court, the outcome has the same weight as a court settlement so dress well.

5. Carry Your Documentation Of Events.

During a mediation, it’s possible that your employer may try to lie about an incident. When you have the documentation on hand, that can set your employer back in to his or her place.

6. A Lawyer Gets Results.

A lawyer is the best preparation you can make for an EEOC mediation. Not only will a lawyer prepare you specifically for your mediation according to your case, but a lawyer also helps you value your case and formulate the right legal arguments. A lawyer recognizes when to accept or reject a settlement offer. If you want to do well in a mediation, hire a lawyer.


If you are preparing for an EEOC mediation and you don’t have a lawyer, contact an employment lawyer who will equip you for the mediation and help you know the best settlement for your case.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or