In any given year, we represent a multitude of individuals who have filed claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) in Baltimore, Maryland because they contend they have been subjected to illegal discrimination, retaliation, and/or sexual harassment in the workplace.
The EEOC process is lengthy – it can actually take years before the Commission makes a finding, and the reality is that in more than ninety percent of cases, the EEOC does not find in favor of the complainant. To avoid that, the EEOC often asks the charging party (the individual filing the claim) and respondent (the employer) if the parties are interested in participating in mediation. Participation is voluntary but many cases are assigned to mediation because both parties are willing to try to resolve the dispute early. In our experience, most mediations that we are involved in result in a favorable settlement – but not all. When there is no resolution, the charge is eventually assigned to an investigator for processing. That process is what takes such a long time because the investigators are flooded with complaints (more than a thousand per year are received at the Baltimore EEOC Field Office) and they have limited resources. Many charging parties do not have the patience or the commitment to stay the course for a long period of time because they usually find work elsewhere and decide to move on from what may have happened at their previous place of employment.
If you have been notified by the EEOC that mediation is or will be scheduled in your case, you may be asking yourself if it is a good idea to be represented by a lawyer – we always emphatically answer that question in the affirmative – representing yourself at an EEOC mediation will likely not garner a successful result. Most respondents are represented by at least one lawyer so attending mediation without your own counsel will send a signal that you are not serious about your complaint – that’s a big mistake. So if you are about to participate in the EEOC mediation process, call us – we can help!