The EEOC Mediation Process

After an EEOC charge has been filed by an employee, the EEOC may contact both the employer and the employee and ask if they are interested in mediation.  A mediation is an informal attempt to resolve the claims in the charge by having the parties meet with an independent third-party (the mediator) to discuss the claims and any potential for settlement.

From the perspective of the employee who has just filed an EEOC charge, there is usually little downside to participating in a mediation.  The obvious advantage is that it provides a chance for a quick resolution rather than waiting through a lengthy EEOC process and then moving into costly and time-consuming litigation.  However, even if the mediation does not result in a settlement, a mediation can be an excellent opportunity to gain access to information from the employer that might not otherwise be presented until the formal discovery process starts during a lawsuit.

It is important to maximize the benefit of an early mediation while ensuring that any information provided to the defense at this early stage is not utilized by the employer in a way that is detrimental to the employee’s claims.   This requires strategy in stating a strong case while being selective with the production of documents and in revealing witnesses and other sensitive information.  Our firm is experience in handling EEOC charges and has settled numerous claims at this stage.  Please contact me at or at (205) 382-3872 if you are interested in a free consultation regarding your EEOC claim or mediation.

Toyota Dealership Settles Harassment and Retaliation Claims with EEOC

A California Toyota dealership has agreed to pay $400,000 to five former Afghan-American employees who say a manager called them terrorists and threatened them.  According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the general manager of the dealership allegedly called four salesmen names and threatened to blow them up with a grenade in a 2007 staff meeting.  The EEOC further alleged that the Afghan-American salesmen resigned after facing harassment for reporting the abuse and a manager was also fired for complaining.

This settlement shows that businesses are taking a large financial risk when they do not strictly enforce polices that prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace.  Our law firm continues to represent workers in claims before the EEOC for race and gender discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour claims throughout the State of Alabama.  If you believe you have suffered discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, please contact us at (205) 382 – 3872 for a free consultation.

How do I make a complaint of discrimination against my employer?

This is one of the most common questions an employment lawyer receives.  The answer varies depending on the situation, however, a couple of common routes typically apply.

If your employer has provided you with an employee handbook, the process for making a complaint for race, gender, age, or disability discrimination is usually included in the handbook.  At a larger business, there may be a specific person with the Human Resources department who handles all complaints.  However, in a smaller company you may be forced to discuss the issue with your supervisor or the business owner.  If the supervisor is involved in the discrimination or sexual harassment, it is often acceptable to complain to someone at a higher level of authority regarding the actions.

If an internal complaint is not effective in resolving the issue, it is then appropriate to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (the “EEOC”).  Most employment attorneys are willing to walk you through this process.  If you decide to proceed with your EEOC without an attorney, it is best to contact the agency promptly to avoid being time-barred from a legal remedy.

Normally, charges must be filed with EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act.  In some jurisdictions, where you are required to file a charge first with the State or other local agency, you may file charges with EEOC within 300 days of the discriminatory act, or 30 days after receiving notice that the state or local agency has terminated its processing of the charge, whichever is earlier.

Please feel free to contact me at if you would like a free consultation regarding an employment issue.