When you took your job, you hoped that you had found a home there. Perhaps you hoped that you could make some friends, rise through the ranks and otherwise succeed. Then, those hopes were dashed when you began to notice that your co-workers or a manager began treating you differently.
At first, you shrugged it off thinking it was an isolated incident, but it continued to increase to the point where it made you uncomfortable and created a hostile work environment. You complained to your boss in accordance with the company’s policies, but your superiors did nothing to curtail the discrimination.
Taking your complaint outside the company
At this point, you may realize that you need to go outside of the company for help. You file a complaint with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding the discrimination you suffer at work. As you go through the process, you may decide that you want to avoid further trauma by avoiding an investigation and going to court. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid this eventuality by going through the EEOC’s mediation process.
During mediation, a neutral third party helps you and your employer come to a mutually satisfactory resolution to your disputes. The advantages of doing so include the following:
- You have the opportunity to tell your side of the story and express your opinions and concerns.
- You can focus on problem-solving instead of blaming.
- You can sit down with your employer outside of work where distractions could prevent you from working things out.
- You and your employer both sign a confidentiality agreement. No one involved in the mediation reveals the details of your session or sessions.
- Most mediation cases reach a resolution in just one meeting, which saves time. Litigation can drag on for months.
- The EEOC does not charge for mediation, so it also saves you and your employer money. Litigation can quickly become expensive.
Mediation can also allow you to deal with the issue without feeling as though you have to relive it numerous times in the courtroom. The adversarial nature of litigation tends to blame the victim, and after what you have been through, you may want to try this method of resolution first.
You still don’t have to go it alone
You may hesitate to go through the mediation process because you mistakenly believe that you have to go through it alone. Fortunately, that’s not true. You can still have a legal advocate by your side even if you decide that mediation would be a better avenue to resolve your dispute. In fact, an experienced attorney could assist you with filing your complaint and help you decide whether mediation or litigation would best serve your future interests.