Representing You At The First, Informal Stage
All EEO complaints in the federal sector must start with the pre-complaint counseling stage. This stage must be initiated within 45 calendar days of when you learned of a discriminatory event. The EEOC places great emphasis on trying to resolve discrimination claims as quickly as possible. To this end, all agencies are required to have an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program at this informal stage. Most agencies use mediation as their ADR method of choice.
At Passman & Kaplan, P.C., Attorneys at Law, we are skilled in representing federal employees in negotiating settlements through mediation. Our Washington attorneys have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge in federal employment law matters, making us ideal counselors and representatives on behalf of your rights and interests to seek the best resolution possible.
What To Expect During Mediation
Mediation is not like a trial. For most employees, the mediation process involves sitting around a conference table and discussing the issues. Sometimes the person or people who wronged you will be present. Other times, the discussion will include someone from higher-level management. The goal is to come up with a solution – a mutually agreeable settlement – that resolves your concerns and remedies the workplace harm you suffered.
You have the right to be represented by an attorney in ADR. The agency will typically also send a lawyer to represent its interests. Finally, a third-party neutral mediator will be present to facilitate the discussion. The mediator will assist the parties in reaching a negotiated, binding settlement of your complaint.
A Little Compromise May Save Years Of Stress And Expense
Many people do not understand that ADR always involves compromises on both sides. If you demand “full relief,” in other words, insist on all the results that you might only get after years of proven successful litigation, then the agency has no motivation to settle your case at this early stage before there is “evidence” decided on by a judge. The bottom line is this: If you want a guaranteed result to end your workplace discrimination and you want that result as quickly as possible, compromise is the best alternative to lengthy litigation.
Of course, this does not mean giving up everything. Not every case can be settled at the early informal stage. Only settlements which fairly resolve the problem should be agreed upon. You can count on P&K to help you formulate a fair and acceptable resolution that saves you the financial and emotional trauma associated with years of litigation. Of course, if your case can’t be settled, P&K can assist with the next stage of the process: filing the formal complaint and the EEO investigation.