What is the Difference Between Mediation and Pre-Determination Conciliation?
The Mediation Program of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission attempts to resolve complaints through mediation after a ruling of probable cause has been issued by the West Virginia Human Rights Commission. The Pre-Determination Conciliation Program attempts to settle complaints through conciliation prior to the issuance of a Determination by the Commission. The point to remember is that mediation occurs after a finding of probable cause and Pre-Determination Conciliation can occur during the investigation but prior to a Determination of the case.
What is the Pre-Determination Conciliation Program?
The Pre-Determination Conciliation Program offered by the West Virginia Human Rights Commission serves as an efficient and time-saving method to resolve complaints early in the investigatory process. The process involves a trained Conciliator who is employed by the West Virginia Human Rights Commission. The Conciliator acts as a facilitator to help the participants arrive at a negotiated settlement resolution. The decision to Conciliate can be voluntarily requested by any party involved in the complaint. The West Virginia Human Rights Commission may also request the parties to participate in a voluntary conciliation.
When does Conciliation occur?
After a charge is filed, any party may request Conciliation at any time prior to the Commission's issuance of a determination. The Commission, after reviewing the charge and information obtained during the investigation, may determine that the involved parties could benefit from the Pre-Conciliation Program and inquire if the parties would be interested in Conciliation negotiations.
Advantages of Pre-Determination Conciliation
Pre-Determination Conciliation is a fair and confidential process during which a mutually acceptable agreement may be reached, thereby avoiding time consuming, costly investigation and litigation. This program is a free service offered by the Commission.
What Happens if a Settlement is Not Reached?
If the charge is not resolved, the case is returned to the Investigative Unit for the completion of the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the Commission will issue a determination of either No Probable Cause or Probable Cause.
Are Pre-Determination Conciliation Settlements Binding?
If the parties reach a voluntary settlement agreement and a written settlement agreement is executed, the agreement is enforceable in the same manner as any other written contract.
Are the Proceedings Confidential?
Settlement discussions during the Pre-Determination Conciliation process are confidential. The Conciliator is required not to reveal any of the information discussed during the negotiations.
Are the Settlements Confidential?
If the parties mutual agree that the settlement remain confidential, the Commission will agree to the terms of the settlement. However, the Commission shall maintain a fully executed copy of the agreement and will submit the agreement to any federal agency with whom the charge is dual-filed. Should the Commission issue a Probable Cause Determination in a charge, any settlement reached after this determination is issued shall not be confidential. If the parties are interested in participating in a Pre-Determination Conciliation, please contact the West Virginia Human Rights Commission at (304) 558-2616.