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Can I mediate a Colorado EEOC complaint?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | Discrimination

When an employee in Colorado files a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, they will definitely wonder how to resolve the issue. Each filer will have different ideas about what justice means to them, and some might wonder if mediation is an option. The answer is yes. This guide explains how mediation works and what you can expect from the process.

What is EEOC mediation?

Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution method provided by the EEOC. In this informal process, a neutral mediator helps both parties, the employee and the employer, negotiate and reach a mutually acceptable resolution. The neutral mediator’s job is to facilitate communication between the employee and employer to help the parties resolve their dispute.

Voluntary participation

Participation in the EEOC mediation program is entirely voluntary. If either party chooses not to mediate, the complaint will proceed through the standard EEOC investigative process.

Requesting mediation

Both the employee and the employer can request mediation at any point, even if the EEOC has not specifically offered it. The key requirement is that both parties must agree to participate in the mediation process. Once they do, the EEOC will consider the complaint for mediation.

The mediation process

After a charge is filed, the EEOC may contact both parties to gauge their interest in mediation. If both agree, the EEOC schedules a mediation session. The mediation session typically lasts 3 to 4 hours. During this session, the mediator assists the parties. They discuss their issues and explore potential solutions.


Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the EEOC mediation program. All participants, including the mediator, must agree to keep the details of the mediation confidential. This ensures that discussions during mediation cannot be used as evidence in future proceedings, if the dispute is not resolved.

Timing of mediation

Mediation can be initiated early in the complaint process, even before a formal investigation begins. Additionally, the EEOC has expanded its mediation program to include cases at the conciliation stage, which occurs after a finding of discrimination. This flexibility allows for mediation at multiple points in the process, potentially expediting resolution.

Benefits of mediation

Mediating an EEOC complaint offers several advantages. It can be quicker and less costly than a prolonged investigation or litigation. Mediation also allows both parties to have more control over the outcome, often leading to creative and mutually beneficial solutions. Moreover, the confidential nature of mediation can help preserve relationships and protect the privacy of all involved.