The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Questions and Answers
Universal Agreements to Mediate (UAMS)

What is a UAM?

A UAM is an agreement between EEOC and an employer to mediate all eligible charges filed against the employer, prior to an agency investigation or litigation. A UAM substitutes for the individual agreement to mediate which the parties sign prior to a mediation being conducted. Because mediation is voluntary, the employer or the charging party may opt out of mediation on a particular charge even though a UAM has been signed. Charges ineligible for mediation include class and systemic charges or those filed solely under the Equal Pay Act. EEOC also has the authority to withhold charges from mediation in cases where it serves the public interest to investigate the charge.

UAMs may be local, regional, or national. Local UAMs are agreements that exist between an employer and a particular EEOC field office to mediate eligible charges filed against that employer within the field office's geographic jurisdiction. Regional and National UAMs are agreements between an employer and the EEOC to mediate all of an employer's eligible charges in a multi-state region or on a nationwide basis.

Why did the EEOC decide to offer UAMs if either party can agree to mediate under an individual mediation agreement?

The expansion and promotion of ADR and voluntary mediation are the centerpieces of Chair Dominguez's Five-Point Plan to enhance EEOC's overall operations. The parties can get to the mediation table more quickly if an employer has signed a UAM. Studies conducted by outside consultants have shown that EEOC's mediation program has high customer satisfaction ratings, and that 96% of employers who participate in mediation are willing to try it again. A UAM provides a way to resolve workplace disputes promptly and more efficiently before any investigation occurs, should a charge be filed.

What are the benefits of having a UAM?

Can any employer have a UAM?

Yes. Any employer can have a UAM. This sample agreement shows the type of information included in a UAM.

How many UAMs does the EEOC have with employers?

At the end of Fiscal Year 2008, EEOC had signed 1275 local UAMS, and 177 Regional and National UAMs, for a total of 1452. Read what some employers are saying about the Mediation Program.

How can I find out if my employer has a UAM with EEOC?

UAMs are confidential unless an employer has agreed to make the agreement public. EEOC has permission from employers included on this list of National Agreements to Mediate to use the employers' names in connection with the Mediation Program. Your employer may agree to participate in mediation whether or not they have signed a UAM with EEOC.

Is an employee required to participate in mediation if their employer has a UAM?

No, the EEOC's mediation program is a voluntary program. Both the employer and the employee may opt out of a particular mediation.

How can I learn more about EEOC's UAMs?

Additional information is available on this site. You may also contact the EEOC field office nearest you by calling our toll free numbers 1-800-669-4000 (Voice) or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY).

This page was last modified on October 30, 2008.

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