Compensation

I filed a complaint with the EEOC regarding discrimination against my former employer. I was terminated from my job and a person of another race was unfairly moved into my position. The EECO has filed my charge and I'm eligible for mediation.

The question is, what kind of compensation should I ask for if I decide to mediate? I'm a little worried because the company does not have to admit fault during this process. I worked for a multimillion dollar telecommunications company and I don't want this form of discrimination to happen to anyone else.

1 answer  |  asked Mar 25, 2004 7:04 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Mediation requires reality check

To answer your question, I believe you first need to understand what mediation is and what it isn't. Mediation is simply a structured form of settlement negotiation, one that uses a neutral mediator to keep the discussion focused and moving forward. It is completely voluntary, and either party can end it simply by refusing to negotiate further. The fact that the EEOC offered it to you means nothing about the strength or weakness of your case. Your former employer's representatives may have agreed to mediate because they genuinely want to resolve the dispute, or they may simply want to use the process to find out more about your complaint before they have to answer it.
Race discrimination cases are covered by two statutes, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which is what the EEOC enforces through its investigative process) and 42 USC 1981 (which does not require the filing of an EEOC charge prior to a lawsuit). Title VII permits recovery of back pay, reinstatement or front pay, and compensatory and/or punitive damages up to a statutory maximum that varies depending upon the size of the employer. Section 1981 has no limitation on damages. What you should ask for depends upon two factors: first, how strong is your case; second, how much have you been damaged?
The fact that you were fired and replaced by a person of another race is at best a prima facie case of race discrimination. The company will undoubtedly have an allegedly legitimate reason for its decision. To have any chance of winning, you must either have some direct evidence that the decisionmaker was motivated by a racially discriminatory motive or you must be able to show that the so-called "legitimate" reason for the termination was a pretext.
How much you were damaged depends in part upon how much you were making and whether you can find another job that pays what you used to make.
Keep in mind that the people you need to convince in mediation are the employer's representatives. The mediator has no power to force them to agree to anything, so you have to persuade them that it makes sense to settle. Whatever you ask for, be prepared to compromise or the mediation will go nowhere.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Mar 29, 2004 11:23 AM [EST]

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