Resolving Race Discrimination in Employment Disputes Through Mediation: A Win-Win for All Parties
Kendall D. Isaac
Appalachian School of Law
June 1, 2011
American Journal of Mediation Volume 5 2011
*Article co-authored with Professor Floyd Weatherspoon at Capital University Law School.
Race-based employment discrimination in this country has had a long and troublesome history of discrimination directed at various minority groups. The primary difference between past and present discrimination is that today’s discrimination is much more subtle. In the past, it was not only lawful, but acceptable to simply state “We don’t hire your kind here!” However, discriminatory practices have taken a much more indirect and less obvious approach with the advent of affirmative action programs, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and enforcement of civil rights laws by federal courts and the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Some describe today’s race-based discrimination as discrimination with a smile. Undoubtedly, discrimination continues to persist in virtually every aspect of our society, such as housing, public accommodation, and employment matters, to name but a few problem areas.
Congress and most states have promulgated a number of statutes to prohibit race discrimination in employment. Specifically, Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit workplace discrimination, particularly racial discrimination. Plaintiffs primarily use Title VII to pursue race discrimination charges against employers. This has resulted in an explosion of race complaints filed with the EEOC and in federal courts.
Approximately one hundred thousand claims of employment discrimination are filed with the EEOC every year. Additionally, employees also file racial employment discrimination in federal court under sections 1981 and 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Also, plaintiffs file charges with state fair employment practices agencies and in state courts under various under state and local laws. To address this influx of cases filed in both federal and state courts, mediation programs have been implemented throughout the judicial system. Mediation helps resolve cases prior to the expenditure of limited judicial resources on litigation. Every federal agency is required to have an alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) system to resolve disputes in lieu of litigation. In addition, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 encouraged the use of mediation to resolve discrimination disputes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: mediation, EEOC, discrimination, race, Title VII, Civil Rights Act, race discrimination
JEL Classification: J70, J71, K40Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 5, 2012
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