EEOC, Cracker Barrel Sign Mediation Pact

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. have signed a Universal Agreement to Mediate (UAM) to informally resolve workplace disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to an EEOC investigation or potential litigation. The UAM applies to 56 Cracker Barrel establishments throughout Florida.

"We commend Cracker Barrel for entering this mediation partnership, which signals its intent to address workplace disputes in a constructive manner," said Naomi C. Earp, EEOC chair. "More employers nationwide are realizing the many benefits of EEOC mediation, which saves time, money, and is non-adversarial."

Michael J. Zylstra, Cracker Barrel vice president and general counsel, said: "Cracker Barrel is committed to providing a fully inclusive workplace, where diversity is welcomed and everyone is treated with courtesy and respect. This innovative agreement builds upon our existing policies and procedures to effectively and fairly resolve employee concerns and demonstrates our shared goal to create a bias free workplace. We look forward to developing an even stronger relationship with the EEOC."

Under the terms of the UAM, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC Miami District Office in the State of Florida in which Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is named as an employer/respondent will be referred to the EEOC's mediation unit, as appropriate. The company will designate a corporate representative to handle all inquiries and other logistical matters related to potential charges in order to facilitate a prompt scheduling of the matter for EEOC mediation.

Expanding mediation is a key component of the EEOC's efforts to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. EEOC has entered into 178 national and regional Universal Agreements to Mediate (UAMs) with private sector employers, including several Fortune 500 companies.

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