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Mediation a viable alternative to work discrimination issues

Posted on March 5th, 2012 Read time: 1 minutes

In 2011, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saw almost 100,000 work discrimination claims, resulting in more than $450 million in compensation for both workers and job applicants.

As part of HR administration's job description, they're required to monitor the workplace for any discrimination that may occur, and take action to ensure a similar act doesn't take place in the future.

However, if such an unfortunate situation does occur, a claim can be filed online or sent to the EEOC office. Cases must be filed within 180 days of an incident – although that length can be extended to 300 days depending on the situation.

Once received, the EEOC will evaluate the complaint and contact the employer to learn more. If the agency believes a situation can be resolved without going to court, it may ask both parties to participate in a mediation program. In this scenario, a neutral mediator leads talks for both sides to try and resolve their differences.

For instance, a St. Cloud, Minnesota, police officer who claimed he was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation recently settled his dispute after a court-ordered mediation session, the St. Cloud Times reports.

Investigations can take multiple months to close depending on whether the parties attempt mediation.

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