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How Does Participation in Mediation Affect An Employee's Rights?

Persons participating in mediation do not waive any of their rights by coming to mediation. Employees' rights to pursue formal complaint processing, including administrative and court action, are not affected if they decide to mediate the issue. No person participating in a mediation is to be penalized in any way because of such participation or by not reaching an agreement, as to do so would be retaliatory and illegal under the EEO laws and regulations.

Complainants unwilling to continue in mediation or who are unable to reach settlement through the mediation process will continue through the EEO complaint process in a timely fashion. If unresolved issues remain at the end of the mediation, the mediator will notify the Bureau EEO Officer or Bureau ADR Coordinator (if the mediation is held during the informal complaint stage), or Department EEO ADR Manager (if the mediation is held after a formal complaint is filed), that a settlement agreement was not reached. The Bureau EEO Officer or Department EEO ADR Manager will contact the employee to advise on the next steps in the process. If employees or complainants believe their rights were violated during any mediation or settlement discussions through actions such as threats, coercion, or intimidation, etc., they should contact the Department EEO ADR Manager.