EEOC Mediation – Tips for Your Opening Statement

Today I found this message posted on the Internet:

EEOC Mediation Questions?

Just wondering if anyone has any tips for an EEOC mediation ( i am the employee). I was asked by my attorney to write an opening statement. Tips ?

And here is my answer.

EEOC mediation gives you a great opportunity (a) to explain to your employer why you believe you were treated unfairly, (b) to listen to their side of the story, and (c) to find out if there is any way to resolve your case in a way that is acceptable to both of you.

With that in mind, your opening statement should be clear, calm, factual, and non-accusatory. For example, you could say something like this.

Mr. Mediator, I would like first to give you a brief summary of what happened, who was involved, and why I felt treated unfairly. Next, I would like to listen to my employer’s perspective. And finally, I would like to discuss how this case can be resolved in a way that is fair and reasonable. Let’s begin…

On January 2 John Smith, my supervisor, did/said (whatever) to me. On February 3 Mary, another employee, came to me and told me that she had overheard John complaining about me, and saying that “I needed a short leash”. And on February 5 John called me into his office and told me that, starting immediately, I should (whatever).

As a result of what happened, I felt treated unfairly, and when I asked John for an explanation, he just told me to mind my own business. Two days later, I asked him again. And again he told me that he is the boss and therefore he owes me no explanation for his decision. And that’s why I decided to file an EEOC complaint.

Keep in mind two things:

First, the mediator is by definition neutral and therefore cannot decide whether and how your case should be settled. That decision is up to you and your employer.

Second, mediation is more likely to work if you know beforehand how to answer two key questions that, sooner or later, the mediator will ask you and your attorney:

  • What is exactly your proposal to your employer, in order to get your case resolved today?
  • And why do you think that your proposal is fair and reasonable?