If you have been the victim of discrimination in your workplace, you may hesitate to take legal action because you dread the thought of spending a significant amount of time in court. More than likely, other Florida discrimination victims would agree with you.
Fortunately, litigation may not be your only choice. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides the option of mediating your claim instead of going to court.
Do you know about mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that provides you and your employer with an informal setting in which to resolve your dispute. A neutral third party helps you negotiate a voluntary settlement. You receive the opportunity to do the following:
- Clear up any misunderstandings
- Discuss the basis of your claim
- Find issues on which you agree
- Determine underlying concerns and issues
- Reach a final settlement
You may want to know that the mediator does not decide your case or make your decisions. He or she simply helps both sides keep on track during the negotiations and may offer potential solutions. The contents of the final agreement are up to you and your employer.
Even though mediation does not require you to obtain legal counsel, it would probably be in your best interest to have a legal advocate to help protect your rights and advise you of the legal implications of any agreement you come to with your employer.
Do you know about its benefits?
Mediation through the EEOC has numerous benefits as listed below:
- Saves money and time
- Free of charge
- Neutrality and fairness
- Encourages cooperation and compromise
- Helps with communication
- Identifies real workplace issues
- Control over the final result
Perhaps most importantly, the parties can avoid time-consuming and expensive litigation. Many of the people who have participated in the process in the past say they would go through it again if necessary.
Do you need legal support?
You may have already suffered extensively, and going through the litigation process would more than likely not alleviate that suffering anytime soon. In addition, you would need to publicly discuss the harassment and humiliation that you endured at the hands of those with whom you work.
If you consider mediating your discrimination claim with your employer, you already have a situation in which you believe that your employer, or someone on your employer's payroll, violated your rights. It may not be a good idea to create a situation in which more of your rights are disregarded. Having experienced legal support on your side could make all the difference.