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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a procedure designed to bring together the disputing parties in a complaint in order to provide them an opportunity to resolve the dispute themselves with the assistance of a neutral third party. ADR can be used at all stages of the complaint process. EEO disputants may engage in resolution discussions during the EEO pre-complaint and formal complaint processes.

A neutral third party known as a mediator facilitates resolution of the dispute. The mediator has no power to make a decision or force one on any party. The mediator works with the parties to reach a voluntary agreement of their own.

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Can ADR be used during the informal (pre-complaint) stage?
Yes, unless the Agency has determined that a particular case is inappropriate for ADR. When ADR is selected as the method of resolution, the traditional counseling process will cease and the complaint will be referred to Mediation and Worklife Services Division (MWSD) for assignment of a mediator. In all cases, the EEO counselor will conduct the initial counseling session, identify claims and fully inform the individual of their rights, to include the option to elect traditional counseling or ADR. Counselors must inform individuals that if the ADR process is not successful, the complaint will be referred back to the EEO Counselor. The Counselor will then conduct a final interview with the aggrieved within 90 days of the initial contact with the Civil Rights Division, Office of the Administrator and provide the aggrieved a Notice of Right to File a formal complaint.

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Can ADR be used during the formal complaint stage?
Yes, unless the agency has determined that a particular case is inappropriate for ADR, it is available at all stages of the formal EEO process. Management and disputants are encouraged to continue attempts to resolve disputes throughout the complaint process, whether through ADR or any other means of informal settlement.

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How does the ADR process work?
The process usually begins with a joint session. During the first meeting, the mediator explains the process and how it works, and answers any questions. After each party presents his or her side of the story, the mediator may meet with each party separately, in what is known as a caucus, to discuss the issues in greater detail and to gain a better sense of how the parties would prefer to see the issue resolved.

The mediation process may then continue with a series of separate meetings or continue in a joint meeting with the parties. During these meetings, the mediator will explore with the parties various options for resolving the dispute. The mediator can act in any number of roles, i.e., communicator, translator, agent of reality, etc. The goal of mediation is to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

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Why should you use ADR?
The entire process is confidential. As such, the mediator will not willingly be a witness in a court of law or an administrative process. No written record will be made of the mediation process. However, if a resolution to the complaint is reached during mediation, the terms of the agreement will be reduced to writing.

Secondly, mediation is quick and can result in a win-win situation for all parties. An EEO mediation settlement takes much less time to achieve than the more timely, sometimes bitter and costly process of litigation.

Finally, the disputant does not give up any rights to pursue the matter formally. Mediation is designed to be an informal settlement process and it is entirely voluntary. Either of the parties or the mediator can end the session at any time.

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Is ADR right for you?
To assist in choosing whether or not mediation is an appropriate ADR process for your dispute, you should consider the following:
  1. Does the conflict involve a continuing working relationship?
  2. Do the parties want the matter settled confidentially and informally?
  3. Do the parties want to have a voice in shaping an agreement?

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Who should be present during the ADR?
Parties can represent themselves or have a representative accompany them to the session. Management's representative must have first hand knowledge of the situation and authority to enter into a resolution agreement with the disputant.

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Last Modified Jul 31, 2013