Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a draft of its strategic plan for fiscal years 2022-2026. The plan is still under review and subject to approval by the full commission before becoming final. 

The strategic plan serves as a framework for achieving the EEOC’s mission through the strategic application of the EEOC’s law enforcement activities, preventing employment discrimination and advancing equal employment opportunities through education and outreach, and organizational excellence, according to a news release. While the plan focuses on a commitment to equal employment opportunity, accountability, and integrity. It lacks a clear commitment to mediation resolution that we find concerning.

Mediation is an informal and confidential way for people to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral mediator who is trained to help people discuss their differences. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or issue a decision. Instead, the mediator helps the parties work out their own solutions to problems.

Currently, when an EEOC complaint is filed the commission contacts both the employee and employer to find out if they are interested in participating in mediation. If both parties agree, a mediation conducted by a trained and experienced mediator is scheduled. Hopefully leading to a fair and efficient way for both parties to avoid a lengthy investigation and litigation.

We believe that mediation should be a key focus when it comes to all aspects of strategic planning and the lack of a mention anywhere in the strategic plan may be a hint that the EEOC plans to take on a more adversarial role in the future. We hope this is not the case.