November 13, 2020
HR Policy emphasized pursuing conciliation over litigation and greater transparency in the conciliation process in comments filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission regarding its Proposed Rule on conciliation procedures.
Under Title VII, the EEOC is obligated to engage in good faith conciliation efforts before bringing suit against a party alleged to have engaged in a discriminatory practice. The EEOC’s Proposed Rule provides some clarification on what constitutes “good faith conciliation” and provides procedural guidelines that the EEOC must follow when engaging in conciliation.
The Association highlighted the benefits of conciliation and its potential for voluntary compliance and speedier dispute resolution, avoiding protracted litigation that can be costly for all parties. Our comments further argued that the EEOC has consistently failed to meet its duty to conciliate, and that the current conciliation process often fails to provide adequate transparency and procedural safeguards for employers.
The Association supported much of the EEOC's Proposed Rule while recommending further measures to ensure the EEOC meets its duty to engage in good faith conciliation efforts and to provide greater transparency for all parties.
Outlook: A renewed focus on conciliation before litigation is a long overdue and welcome change to the EEOC’s case handling process. A final rule is expected before the end of the year.