When you consider the millions of workers and the diverse workforce that our nation has, it is of no surprise that people bring their own personal biases and prejudices to their respective employer. Fortunately, the victims of workplace harassment and discrimination do have an avenue to assert their rights to equal employment opportunity through a sophisticated investigative complaint process that is administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This federal agency is responsible for employment discrimination issues based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, age, disability, sex, national origin, religion, ethnicity, ancestry, retaliation, genetic information, sexual harassment, and equal pay. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Issues the EEOC deals with are wide ranging: from the "terms and conditions" of the employment (such as training, benefits, privileges, assignments, locations of work, etc.) to issues involving termination, constructive discharge, forced resignation, forced retirement, suspension, reprimand, warning, unequal pay, denied hire or promotion, and others. When your case has been filed with the EEOC, you will have a unique opportunity early in the process to mediate the allegation of discrimination. Both the worker (complaintant) and the employer (respondent) must agree to mediate the case. As a former federal mediator for the EEOC, I was given the opportunity to learn a great deal about the investigative and mediation process. I now use those skills in assisting those who have been discriminated and those who are faced with allegations of discrimination.
In a 2016 survey - employee attitudes and characteristics revealed:
Lipsky, D and Seeber, R "The use of ADR in U.S. Corporations: Executive Summary", 2007
Another study found that 50% or more of large employers had instituted some kind of grievance process for nonunion employees.