House Votes to Reverse EEOC Conciliation Reforms

On June 24, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reverse reforms the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had made under the prior administration. The House passed S.J. Res. 13 by a vote of 219-210, and the Senate has already approved the joint resolution to reverse the reforms.

Under the conciliation reforms, the EEOC was to provide employers with “a written summary of the known facts,” among other information, when an employee files a discrimination charge. Conciliation is similar to mediation, except that an EEOC investigator, rather than an independent third party, conducts conciliation procedures.

The conciliation reforms were in response to a Supreme Court ruling that held the EEOC is required to do two things during the conciliation process:

  • Inform the employer about the specific allegation against it—describing both what the employer has done and which employees, or class of workers, have suffered as a result.
  • Attempt to engage the employer in some form of discussion, oral or written, to give the employer the opportunity to remedy the alleged practice.

Conciliation is voluntary and occurs after the EEOC determines there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination has occurred. Conciliation is similar to mediation, which the EEOC also offers for some charges, though its timing differs. Unlike mediation, conciliation is conducted by an EEOC investigator rather than a neutral party like a mediator.