On June 24, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to roll back a rule created under the Trump Administration governing EEOC conciliation as an alternative process to litigation for resolving workplace discrimination allegations. This paves the way for final repeal of the rule through President Biden’s signature since the Senate also voted to repeal the rule.
Conciliation is a process that occurs only after the EEOC makes a finding that discrimination or retaliation has occurred. The initial goal of the conciliation rule was to better inform employers on the EEOC’s findings in conciliated cases and encourage informal resolution instead of litigation of EEOC charges. It required the EEOC to provide employers with the name of the complaining employee and any witnesses to the alleged conduct. The EEOC was also required to share facts it relied upon in making a finding of discrimination, as well as a detailed calculation of damages.
Opponents of the rule felt it gave employers an opportunity to delay resolution by dragging out settlement talks and resulted in the disclosure of too much information that gave employers an advantage in settlement discussions. The repeal of the rule is likely to be signed by President Biden. While it is too early to tell how the repeal of the rule will impact EEOC conciliation going forward, the likely result will be fewer conciliated resolutions since employers will not be provided with detailed background regarding the EEOC’s findings in making a determination of whether to settle an EEOC charge prior to litigation.