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National Employment Dispute Resolution Act of 2000 (NEDRA)

by House of Representatives (U.S.)
August 2000
(NEDRA) (Introduced in the House)

HR 4593 IH

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4593

To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, to require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to mediate employee claims arising under such Acts, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 7, 2000

Mrs. CLAYTON introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


A BILL

To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, to require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to mediate employee claims arising under such Acts, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `National Employment Dispute Resolution Act of 2000 (NEDRA)'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) The prohibitive costs and emotional toll of litigation as well as the growing backlog of employment civil rights claims and lawsuits has impeded the protection and enforcement of workplace civil rights.

      (2) Mediation is an economical, participatory, and expeditious alternative to traditional, less cooperative methods of resolving employment disputes.

      (3) Mediation enables disputants to craft creative solutions and settlements, surpassing the reach of traditional remedies, thereby possibly protecting the continuity of the employment relationship.

      (4) As we enter the new millennium, a national program of directed or required participation in mediation where any settlement is voluntary mandated mediation for certain employment and contract disputes, will help fulfill the goal of equal opportunity in work and business places of the United States.

      (5) Overt and subtle discrimination still exists in our society and in the workplace.

      (6) Overt and subtle forms of discrimination cause substantial measurable economic and noneconomic costs to employers and the American workforce, create a barrier to fully realizing equal opportunity in the workplace, and are contrary to public policy promoting equal opportunity in the workplace.

    (b) PURPOSES- The purposes of this Act are--

      (1) to establish a fair and effective alternative means by which employees and covered employers may have an increased likelihood of resolving both alleged overt and subtle forms or acts of discrimination without the necessity of the employee taking some form of legal action against the employer,

      (2) in accordance with the various public policies encouraging the use of mediation, to make mediation available at an early stage of an employment dispute , thus--

        (A) possibly reducing economic and noneconomic costs,

        (B) preserving the employment relationship and decreasing acrimony, and

        (C) decreasing the filing of a number of formal discrimination complaints, charges, and lawsuits and further burdening our public justice system, and

      (3) to provide that the participation in mediation shall not preclude either the employee-disputant or covered employer-disputant from having access to the public justice system.

SEC. 3. AMENDMENTS TO TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964.

    (a) FEDERAL EMPLOYEES- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) is amended--

      (1) in section 706(a) by inserting after the 7th sentence the following:

    `Regardless of whether the Commission makes an investigation under this subsection, the Commission shall provide counseling services regarding, and endeavor to responsibly address and resolve, claims of unlawful discrimination using certified contract mediators.', and

      (2) in section 711(a) by adding at the end the following:

    `Every employer, employment agency, and labor organization shall provide to each employee and each member, individually, a copy of the materials required by this section to be so posted.'.

    (b) OFFICE OF FEDERAL CONTRACT COMPLIANCE- Section 718 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-17) is amended--

      (1) by inserting `(a)' after `SEC. 718', and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

    `(b) The Office of Federal Contract Compliance shall endeavor to responsibly address and resolve any alleged discrimination using mediation with respect to which this section applies.

    `(c) An employer who establishes, implements an approved internal conflict management program or system providing the use of a certified mediator participates in mediation under this section shall be given preferred status in contract bidding for additional and for maintaining current Federal Government contracts.

    `(d) An employer who is a party to a Government contract or the agency of the United States shall assume the costs of mediation under this section, including the fees of the mediator and any travel and lodging expenses of the employee, if such travel exceeds 25 miles, one way. Any settlement shall include, among other things, any appropriate and reasonable attorney fees.

    `(e) Retaliation by an employer who is a party to a Government contract or the agency of the United States, or the destruction of evidence, shall result in the imposition of appropriate civil or criminal sanctions. The participation in mediation shall be at the option of the employee. The participation in mediation shall not preclude the employee's access to any State, local, or Federal EEO enforcement agency or any State or Federal court.

    `(f) The Office of Federal Contract Compliance shall have authority over employers who are parties to Government contracts that fail to comply with this section. Failure to comply shall result in the loss of a current Government contract and disqualification from consideration for future Government contracts.

    `(g) No resolution by the disputants may contravene the provisions of a valid collective bargaining agreement between an employer who is a part to a Government contract and a labor union or certified bargaining representative. Any voluntary settlement outcome and agreement may not be in conflict with the collective bargaining agreement.'.

SEC. 4. AMENDMENTS TO THE AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1967.

    The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.) is amended--

      (1) in section 7(e) by inserting after the 2d sentence the following:

    `The Commission shall provide counseling services regarding, and endeavor to responsibly address and resolve, claims of unlawful discrimination using certified contract mediators.', and

      (2) in section 8 by adding at the end the following:

    `Every employer, employment agency, and labor organization shall provide to each employee and each member, individually, a copy of the materials required by this section to be so posted.'.

SEC. 5. AMENDMENT TO AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990.

    Section 107(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12117(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following: `The Commission shall provide counseling services regarding, and endeavor to responsibly address and resolve, claims of unlawful discrimination using certified contract mediators.'.

SEC. 6. MEDIATION.

    (a) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section:

      (1) The term `employer' means any Federal agency (including Federal courts) or business enterprise receiving Federal funds of $200,000 or greater or having 20 or more employees.

      (2) The term `mediator' means any neutral, third-party, including an attorney and a nonattorney, who is trained in the mediation process and has a demonstrable working knowledge in relevant EEO and employment law, including a third party who is--

        (A) appointed or approved by a competent court, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a certified mediation center, or a university, or

        (B) jointly chosen by the disputants.

      (3) The term `trained mediation professional' means a person who--

        (A) has participated in employment mediation training of 40 or more hours, or

        (B) has co-mediated with or been supervised by another trained certified mediation professional for at least three employment or contract dispute cases of no fewer than 15 hours.

      (4) The term `certified mediation center' includes any private or public entity that is qualified to facilitate the employment or contract mediation process and provide training on employment and contract dispute resolution , including, but not limited to, the American Arbitration Association, the American Bar Association, the Center for Employment Dispute Resolution , CPR Conflict Institute, JAMS/Endispute, United States Arbitration and Mediation, Inc., Institute on Conflict Resolution at Cornell University, and the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution .

    (b) REQUIREMENTS- (1) All employers shall--

      (A) establish an internal dispute resolution program or system that provides, as a voluntary option, employee-disputant access to external third-party certified mediators,

      (B) participate in mediation if the employee has exhausted the internal dispute resolution program or system and has formally requested mediation without the filing of a charge or lawsuit, and

      (C) participate in mediation if the claimant has filed a charge or lawsuit and the claimant formally requests mediation.

    (2) While the mediation settlement outcome would be voluntary, the employer shall participate in mediation where the employee-disputant has expressed a desire to mediate.

    (3) Under all circumstances, the employee-disputant is entitled to legal representation.

    (4) Employers shall inform employee-disputants of the mediation alternative and their respective rights thereof, and the employee-disputant would have 30 days in which to decide whether to participate in mediation.

    (5) When an employee-disputant voluntarily agrees to participate in the mediation process, any applicable statute of limitations shall be tolled, and the private tolling agreement shall be enforceable in any court of competent jurisdiction.

    (6) The employee and employer disputants shall not have more than 90 days within which to resolve the dispute .

    (7) Should mediation prove unsuccessful, the employer shall again inform the employee-disputant of their rights, in writing including the right to pursue the matter under any applicable State, county, local ordinance, or Federal statutes.

    (8) Consistent with section 705 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and any State or local authority involved in proceedings described in section 706, shall offer technical assistance to any unrepresented or self-represented party, provided that a formal complaint has been filed with the Commission or such authority. Such assistance shall include, but not be limited to--

      (A) pre-mediation counseling,

      (B) assistance in understanding the status of relevant case law,

      (C) assistance in what would be the appropriate remedy if the instant claim were to be found to have merit, and

      (D) assistance in drafting any post-mediation settlement agreement or resolution .

    (9) Submission of a claim for mediation shall not preclude either the claimant or respondent from seeking other appropriate relief on that claim, except that neither party shall seek other relief until the mediation process has concluded.

    (10) Any settlement as a result of the mediation process shall be strictly voluntary and remain confidential except for research and evaluation purposes.

    (11) In every case, the privacy, privilege, and confidentiality of all parties to the dispute shall be preserved, including complaint intake personnel and mediation consultations.

    (c) ATTORNEY'S OBLIGATION TO ADVISE CLIENTS OF MEDIATION- For the purposes of this Act and all of the other related statutes, attorneys and consultants are legally obliged to advise their clients of the existence of the mediation alternative and their obligations under the Act to participate in mediation in `good faith'.

    (d) JUDICIAL ENFORCEMENT- Either party to a mediation agreement to bring an action of enforcement in a Federal district court of competent jurisdiction, however any matter discussed or material presented during mediation shall not be used in any subsequent local, State, or Federal administrative or court proceeding. The confidential provisions of any internal conflict management program or system or agreement to mediations shall be immune from attack by any third party.

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