There is a number of compelling reasons why you should take advantage of the mediation process, if the employer agrees to participate as well:
* EEOC Mediation is a proven tool to resolve employment cases before a lot of effort and resources are invested into it. This can be beneficial to both employees and employers. By coming to the mediation table, you retain significant amount of control over the outcome, rather than living your case to the mercy of court/jury. Since statistically, over 75% of Plaintiffs lose their employment case, the advantages of early negotiations are significant.
* EEOC / DFEH mediation is usually free, while private mediators charge up to $3,000 or more per party per day.
* EEOC/DFEH mediation allows you to resolve your case much sooner, and there is simply no price tag on avoiding the litigation process which can be stressful and time consuming, and at the very least you should explore and early resolution of your case. This is especially true if you are still employed with the same employer against whom you filed a discrimination charge.
* At the end of the mediation you don't have to settle your case, if you don't want to. However, at a minimum, you will find out the employer's position, and the arguments/defenses they are likely to use if you chose to file your case in court and litigate.
* An experienced employment attorney should do the following in order to effectively represent you in your case:
(a) Meet with you in person and thoroughly understand the facts of your case.
(b) Candidly and openly advise you how the law applies to your case, and inform you of the strengths and the weaknesses of your case, and remind you that no employment case is perfect, and proving the employer's liability is a challenge in most cases.
(c) Explain to you exactly how the mediation works and answer any questions you might have about the process.
(d) Attend your mediation with you and facilitate the process.
If you decide to attend EEOC/DFEH mediation on your own and without legal representation, at the very least, you should meet with an experienced employment attorney who should evaluate your case and advise you on the best negotiation and mediation strategies you can use given the unique circumstances of your case.
The bottom line is this: you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by attending DFEH/EEOC mediation. Chances are that you will settle your case and will close that chapter of your life. But even if you don't, at the very minimum you will have a preview of the employer's position on your case and will make a more informed decision about the merits of your case.