On June 4, AABANY Labor & Employment Law Committee Co-Chair Christopher M. Kwok was invited to speak by the NYCLA ADR Committee at JAMS NY about his experience at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Each NYCLA ADR Committee meeting features an ADR expert; Chris spoke to an intimate audience of 15-20 NYCLA members and was accompanied by his interns Ashley Galloway and Daniel Lieberman.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Having spent his entire legal career there, Chris has felt firsthand the changes that the political environment has effected for the EEOC. As an outgrowth of the civil rights movement, the EEOC’s funding and staffing is subject to the policy shifts depending on who is in office. Recently after the government shut-down, the EEOC was granted the ability to hire 200 more people to replace the people who had been lost without replacement in the last 4 years.
Envisioning himself as an arrow traveling fast towards a resolution, Chris works in the hyper-niche field involving resolution value and does about 2-3 mediations a week, with an average mediation taking 5 hours. He strives to treat all parties the same, handling cases from the top of the economic scale to the bottom. Chris walked the NYCLA ADR Committee through the process of investigation, cause, and conciliation and how to go forward with a case using the right amount of engagement and emotional investment to effectively resolve and settle. More generally, Chris also spoke about body language, preparation, and looking for facts that cannot be disputed – useful tools in any conflict.
Thank you to Chris for sharing his service and legal wisdom and for NYCLA & JAMS NY for hosting him.