Q. The EEOC wants us to participate in mediation. Should we? If we don’t, will it make the investigator think we’re trying to hide something?
A. The employers we know who participate in agency-initiated mediations tend to give the process mixed reviews. Certainly, not all mediations result in a settlement or withdrawal of the charge. Some are a colossal waste of time.
Even when an agreement can be reached to settle a charge through mediation, there can be downsides. Agencies don’t want to keep settlements confidential, and some disallow inclusion of a waiver and release of all claims in the agreement.
A mediation session may be useful for getting information or gaining a better understanding of the charging party’s position, but it’s probably best to go into mediation with low expectations.
If you don’t want to participate, don’t worry. It won’t upset the investigator or put your organization in additional jeopardy.