The Minnesota Department of Human Rights' mediation program is an opportunity to broaden perspectives, build shared understanding, and repair relationships through creating a path forward together. Resolving issues of discrimination early on, while there is still an on-going employment, housing, education, or service relationship is an essential component of civil rights enforcement work.
In mediation, both parties meet with trained mediators to talk about possible ways to resolve their case. Staff at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights will review your case and decide if it is a good case for mediation. If it is, staff will invite you to participate in mediation . We can answer your questions about what mediation is, how to prepare for a mediation session, and what happens with your case during and after mediation.
Voluntary – both parties have to agree to participate in mediation;
Collaborative – agreements reached in mediation work for both parties;
Confidential – mediators do not share what is said or talked about in mediation with anyone outside the mediation process; and
Free – parties do not have to pay to participate.
During a mediation:
Mediators – listen to each party, ask questions to better understand and help find possible solutions that work for both parties. Mediators do NOT make decisions for the parties, evaluate the parties’ positions, or give legal advice.
Parties talk with mediators about what they want and need; learn about each other’s positions, and work together to identify ways to move forward. Parties do NOT gather evidence to use against each other later or find out who is right or wrong.
Neutral – they are independent from MDHR’s investigators or any party;
Trained – every mediator has completed a Minnesota Supreme Court Certified 30 Hour Civil Mediation Course and takes six hours of continuing education each year, including at least one ethics credit; and
Matched with the parties and issues of the case – whenever possible, MDHR matches mediators based on the issues and parties in the case.
Mediation works because:
Parties choose what, if anything, to agree on – mediators help parties focus on what they need in order to move forward, so they can find agreements that work for everyone;
Parties rebuild damaged relationships – by listening to both parties, mediators can help parties build a new relationship moving forward based on shared goals and understandings.
The parties do not have to pay to participate in the mediation program and it does not affect the time limits in the case.
If the parties come to an agreement, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights closes the case and does not work on the case anymore. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights continues to investigate the case.