Dispute Resolution

Mediation Services

Mediation is a confidential process facilitated by a neutral third party to help parties in dispute resolve conflict. CRD provides free, voluntary mediation services for discrimination complaints filed with CRD. CRD voluntary mediation is a cost-effective opportunity for parties who agree to mediate to quickly resolve a CRD complaint on their own terms, before investigation begins.

The Department employs a staff of experienced neutrals, whose exclusive role at the CRD is to mediate complaints. The Department also provides mandatory dispute resolution services for investigated cases the CRD intends to prosecute.

To be eligible for mediation, first a CRD complaint must be filed. (If you have an intake appointment, you must complete your intake interview and CRD must accept your complaint for investigation before it can be referred to mediation.)

For more information or to request to mediate a filed CRD complaint, please contact the Dispute Resolution Division at DRDOnlinerequests@calcivilrights.ca.gov.

Community Conflict Resolution Unit

Mission Statement

To promote peaceful relations by assisting communities experiencing fear, conflict, or tensions relating to discriminatory practices, hate incidents, or hate crimes that have a community impact.

What We Do

The Community Conflict Resolution Unit (CCRU) within the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) works with communities, and/or local and state public bodies to constructively manage or resolve conflict, minimize or eliminate the potential for violence, reduce or eliminate antagonism within communities, or help them reach mutually acceptable outcomes. California Government Code 12931

CCRU works closely with stakeholder groups affected by conflict to ensure that solutions include community-driven input. CCRU believes that community collaboration is most effective in addressing concerns related to hate and discrimination-based community conflict.

How We Achieve Our Work

CCRU accomplishes our work by:

  • Designing conflict resolution processes
  • Facilitating processes to ensure meaningful community engagement
  • Mediating conflict
  • Providing education and training
  • Providing technical consultations


CCRU provides assistance only when requested and when initiated due to a hate- or discrimination-related community dispute, disagreement, or difficulty which impairs the rights of persons in those communities under the Constitutions and laws of the United States or California.

Furthermore, CCRU services are made available in cases of these disputes, disagreements, or difficulties only when, in our judgment, peaceful relations among the persons of the community involved are threatened.

Who We Work With

    • Community Groups
    • Nonprofit Organizations
    • Government Agencies
    • Schools and School Districts
    • Religious Organizations
    • Community Advocacy Groups
    • Colleges and Universities
    • Tribal Groups
    • Elected Officials
    • Demonstration Groups

Standards of Practice

Impartiality and Neutrality

  • CCRU is a neutral, impartial resource for communities experiencing conflict.
  • CCRU does not conduct investigations, refer requests to government agencies for enforcement, bring complaints or lawsuits, or develop settlement agreements on behalf of groups requesting our services.


  • CCRU does not share information regarding our work with communities with other parts of CRD. We protect the names of contacts, who prefer to remain anonymous, and other information that might identify groups or individuals who prefer to remain anonymous.
  • CCRU does not share names, contacts, or other identifying information with any government departments or agencies.
  • CCRU avoids identifying individuals and groups that prefer to remain anonymous in any written records.
  • CCRU contacts individuals and communities using the means they prefer to aid in maintaining confidentiality and anonymity.


There is no cost to request, receive, or participate in services provided by CCRU.

Requesting Assistance

Services may be requested by any person directly affected by a dispute, disagreement, or difficulty relating to discriminatory practices that threaten peaceful relations in the community, or by an appropriate state or local public body.

Contact Us

Email – CCRU@calcivilrights.ca.gov

Mail – Civil Right Department
Attention: Communitity Conflict Resources Unit
2218 Kausen Dr. Ste. 100
Elk Grove, CA 95758

Telephone – Call by using information on our Contact Us page.

Who is Protected

Under California law, CRD may act as a “peacemaker” to resolve community conflicts or tensions related to discrimination based on these characteristics:

  • Race, color
  • Ancestry, national origin
  • Religion, creed
  • Age (over 40)
  • Disability, mental and physical
  • Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Medical condition
  • Genetic information
  • Marital, familial status

Employer Assistance

Any employer whose employees refuse or threaten to refuse to cooperate with the Fair Employment and Housing Act may file a complaint with the Department asking for assistance through mediation. (Gov. Code, § 12960, subd. (c).)

If you are an employer seeking assistance, please submit your contact information and a brief description of the issue you would like to mediate to the Dispute Resolution Division at DRDOnlinerequests@dfeh.ca.gov.


What is a mediation?

Mediation is a confidential process where a neutral third party helps complainants and respondents discuss their dispute and reach a mutually acceptable resolution. The mediator does not represent either party and does not impose a decision on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps the parties come to an agreement that ends their dispute.

Who conducts mediations at CRD?

The CRD employs a staff of experienced neutrals whose exclusive role at the CRD is to mediate cases in the Dispute Resolution Division. CRD’s mediators do not participate in investigations or prosecutions. They have no stake in the outcome of a case. They have no access to case files and do not disclose any information they learn during mediation to the Enforcement or Legal Divisions. Most CRD mediators are attorneys with litigation experience; some are former administrative law judges or arbitrators. All have undergone extensive mediation training and some are trainers themselves.

Are there different types of mediations at CRD?

Yes, there are both voluntary and mandatory mediations. Voluntary mediations occur when both parties agree to mediate before CRD finishes its investigation. Voluntary mediation cannot take place unless both sides agree; CRD cannot require a party to participate in voluntary mediation if the party does not wish to mediate.

Mandatory mediations occur after CRD finds reasonable cause to believe that a civil rights law has been violated. Prior to filing a civil action in court, the law requires CRD to attempt to bring parties together to resolve their complaint with a Dispute Resolution Division mediator.

Why was my case sent to the Dispute Resolution Division for voluntary mediation?

Sometimes a case is referred to the Dispute Resolution Division because one of the parties requests mediation. Other times a case is referred because it is one of several the Enforcement Division randomly selects each week, to offer parties the opportunity to engage in free, confidential mediation before an investigation starts. Even though your case has been referred, voluntary mediation will not take place unless you and the other side agree to mediate.

Why should I agree to mediate?

Mediation provides parties a cost-effective opportunity to quickly resolve a complaint on their own terms, without going through the investigative process. Advantages of mediation include:

  • It is free.
  • Mediation is a confidential process. This confidentiality is protected by the mediation privilege in Evidence Code sections 1115 -1129.
  • Mediation can improve communication. Both parties can openly discuss their views and share information about the dispute in a confidential, neutral setting.

Do CRD mediators represent anyone during mediations?

CRD’s neutral mediators do not represent any parties during mediations.

Should I hire an attorney?

Parties may retain legal representation for mediation, but are not required to do so.

How many times can a case be sent to mediation for possible resolution?

If mediation initially is declined or is unsuccessful, the matter may be referred for voluntary mediation again if both parties request and agree to mediation. If CRD finds reasonable cause to believe that a civil rights law has been violated, the parties are required to mediate before the Legal Division files a lawsuit.

What if I don’t like the settlement that is proposed?

CRD mediators do not have the authority to require parties to agree to a settlement they do not like or want. If you do not like a settlement proposal, you may reject it and make a counter offer, if you like.

If a respondent agrees to a settlement, does that mean the respondent is guilty?

Not necessarily. Most CRD settlements are no-fault settlements. CRD settlement agreements generally state that they do not constitute an admission of liability or wrongdoing on the part of the respondent.

What information do I need to bring to mediation?

Mediation participants should know the facts related to their complaint. You will have an opportunity to provide the mediator whatever information you feel is relevant to resolving the complaint. If you have relevant documents, you can bring them to mediation. You do not have to share documents with the opposing party at mediation.

Will the mediator have access to all the documents and information I already provided the investigator?

No. Because of the information firewall the CRD maintains between the Enforcement and Dispute Resolution Divisions, CRD mediators have no access to CRD investigative files. All information CRD mediators learn about a case comes from the mediation participants themselves.

Does the respondent have to prepare a response while a case is in mediation?

No. While a pre-investigation complaint is with the Dispute Resolution Division, all work on the matter by the Enforcement Division ceases and the requirement to submit a response to the complaint is temporarily suspended.

If my case does not settle in mediation, how much time will the respondent have to respond to CRD?

If mediation is declined or is unsuccessful, a response must be provided to CRD no later than twenty-one days after the date the Enforcement Division notifies the respondent in writing that a response is due.

Small Employer Family Leave Mediation Program

Among the laws enforced by CRD is the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which protects employees and job applicants from discrimination and harassment based on a protected characteristic. The Fair Employment and Housing Act guarantees eligible employees a certain amount of job-protected leave when the employee needs to care for their own serious health condition or a family member’s serious health condition, or to bond with a new child. These leave provisions, which apply to California employers with 5 or more employees, are known as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

Through CRD’s “small employer family leave mediation program,” small employers (of between 5 and 19 employees) and their employees have the right to mediate with CRD – free of charge – a dispute involving CFRA leave before the employee may go to court. For more information about this mediation program, please review the following frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Small Employer Family Leave Mediation Program FAQ:

Communication Center: 800-884-1684 (voice), 800-700-2320 (TTY) or
California's Relay Service at 711 | contact.center@calcivilrights.ca.gov