Mediation is an informal way to resolve a complaint of discrimination based on age, race, sex, disability, national origin, religion, or retaliation. It is a process in which an impartial third party assists the parties to resolve their dispute.
Mediation provides advantages to other forms of alternative dispute resolution methods. Mediation:
Mediation is voluntary; however, both parties must agree to mediate. Unless both parties agree to use the mediation process as a way to help resolve their disagreement, mediation cannot occur. Parties should:
You should have the authority to settle, be ready to settle, and be prepared to commit any resources agreed upon.
The mediator assigned to your case is a senior civil rights investigator in the Commissionís mediation unit. This individual has successfully completed specialized training in mediation. As a neutral third party, the mediator acts as a facilitator to communication and to conflict resolution. The mediator is NOT a decision-maker. Our mediator qualifications include:
You may retain a lawyer or representative, but one is not required. You are free to consult one at any time.
If you are unable to reach a satisfactory solution, your complaint will be assigned to the Commissionís investigative unit for further processing.
Transfer to the investigative unit does not preclude the possibility of mediation happening at a later time. An invitation or request for further mediation can be initiated by either party or the staff of the Commission at any time during the administrative process.
Mediation resolves the dispute immediately without deciding the merits of the case. Its purpose is to settle the charge.
Investigation is a longer process and results in a decision on the merits of the charge. Its purpose is to determine if there is enough evidence to prove discrimination.
While mediation and investigation serve very different purposes, a case filed with the Commission may move from one process to the other as a result of a request from one or both parties or at the suggestion of a staff member.
The senior civil rights investigator assigned to your case can answer your questions and provide more information.
A decision not to mediate does not impact the case as it goes through the investigative process.
In accordance with its statutory obligation, the IHRC has a mediation program through which parties may resolve their disagreements. This method has been successfully used at the IHRC for over 20 years.