After 10 years as founder and principle of Dispute Resolution Counsel, LLC, Michael Zeytoonian has accepted a newly created position as the Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), joining the MCAD in June, 2019.
This new role at the MCAD is the perfect challenge for Michael, combining work in his favorite area of law—employment law, and specifically discrimination and harassment matters—with the use of non-adversarial ADR processes such as mediation and conciliation to help parties before the Commission resolve their disputes in a way that best satisfies the interests and needs of the parties. Zeytoonian’s duties include overseeing and developing the ADR Unit at the MCAD, and overseeing the Commission’s mediation and conciliation efforts in its Boston Headquarters and its Worcester, Springfield and New Bedford regional offices.
“This newly created position reflects the MCAD’s commitment to a strong and vibrant ADR unit,” said MCAD Chairwoman, Sunila Thomas George. “Our goal is to help carry out the MCAD’s mission of eradicating discrimination in the Commonwealth by offering quality mediation and conciliation processes with a team of expert mediators,” Chairwoman George added. “It is imperative that agreements that arise from MCAD mediation not only satisfy the needs of the parties in the case, but also serve the public interest by obtaining the commitment of the Respondent party to be proactive in taking appropriate measures to address and prevent discriminatory behavior in all of the arenas within MCAD’s jurisdiction: at home, at work, in public places, school admissions, lending and credit,” the chairwoman said.
Working to prevent discrimination is both a personal and professional concern for Zeytoonian, who has spent much of his legal career on employment issues as well as educating people about non-adversarial and creative ways to resolve disputes. “Like many members of ethnic groups who suffered as victims of discrimination, my family history is one that includes the devastating losses resulting from the attempted genocide of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Turkish government,” Zeytoonian said. “Discrimination is not only wrong and unjust, but it also robs us all of the richness of different ethnic, racial and religious cultures, traditions, arts, rituals, histories, music, language and stories of the diverse members of our country’s social fabric.”
Zeytoonian is energized about this new work and its positive impact. “Every step we take toward eradicating discrimination also contributes to restoring richness and depth to our civilization,” he notes. “We hope our work helps to heal those who have suffered discrimination or harassment, and also helps to restore the inherent goodness of the workplace, the places people live and the community as a whole. That is what makes our work at the MCAD important and satisfying for me,” he closes.
About the MCAD:
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) was established in 1946 as the Commonwealth’s chief Civil Rights law enforcement agency charged with the authority to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and resolve cases of discrimination. Led by three Commissioners, one who serves as chair, the MCAD enforces the Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws in these areas Employment, Housing, public places, school admission, lending and credit. The MCAD protects individuals in numerous protected categories such as their race, color, creed, national origin, age, disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
MCAD is an independent agency of the Commonwealth, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other earned revenue.