This page contains a list of FAQs and their answers that relate to Alternative Dispute Resolution.
- The other party will probably dominate and won't listen. Why should I even bother?
Often the other party feels the same way. The reality is that an experienced, professional neutral controls the process and flow of communication and creates a fair and balanced climate. This allows for respectful conversation and dialogue.
- I know that mediation works, but how can I convince my employees to use it?
We recommend that you simply explain that mediation is a viable option with a proven success rate. Describe how it works and its benefits. Provide all informational materials and the ADR specialist's contact information. Parties must voluntarily choose to participate in mediation. If they are forced to the table, there is a lower likelihood of a successful outcome.
- In EEO cases, what role does the responsible management official have in ADR
If the responsible management official is willing to participate in mediation, then s/he will join the employee in an effort to resolve the concerns. In other situations, the SES manager over the employee’s unit can decide who should represent the agency and can require the responsible management official, or the agency official directly involved in the case, to cooperate in the ADR process. The agency may also appoint another official, such as the second level supervisor or office Director to represent the agency in mediation.
- Is mediation effective?
Every case is unique, but Federal statistics show that when parties come to the table in good faith, mediation helps resolve approximately 70% of workplace disputes.
- Who serves as the mediator?
The ADR Manager or other neutrals acquired from external sources in a cost-effective manner, to include the DoD Sharing Neutrals (administered by the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals), the Health and Human Services Sharing Neutrals Program, and/or the mediators from DoD's Civilian Personnel Management Service Investigations and Resolutions Division (IRD).
- Are all cases appropriate for ADR?
No. Mediation is generally not appropriate in cases when:
- A decision to set precedence is required
- The matter involves significant policy questions
- Rights of third parties cannot be addressed using ADR
- Full public participation is important, and
- the issue requires continuous oversight and adjustment
The ADR Specialist will recommend whether the case is appropriate or not, and refer cases as needed to the appropriate forum.
- What training do ADR neutrals have?
Individuals serving as mediators/facilitators have completed approved professional training as a neutral third party and agree to abide by established ethical standards. If the case is complex, a neutral with advanced training, specialized knowledge and significant experience would be assigned.
- How long does mediation take?
The length of the mediation session depends upon the complexity of the case and willingness of the parties to resolve the dispute. Most mediation sessions are completed in eight hours or less. We recommend parties set aside a minimum of 4 hours to dedicate to the resolution process. A follow up session can be scheduled if more time is required.
- Does the ADR neutral help me come up with solutions to the problem?
Yes. A Neutral is trained to help the parties "think outside the box" and pinpoint interests versus positions.
Collaborative Resolution Program
- Nothing I've done is resolving a problem between my two employees. How can the CRP help?
The presence of a neutral third party can have a profound impact on the dynamics. It removes power imbalances and puts all parties on the same playing field. Communication and understanding is often maximized because of this balanced and structured environment.
- Can an employee who has elected ADR withdraw from the process?
Yes. The ADR process is voluntary and either participant, the employee or the supervisor/ manager representing the agency, may withdraw at any time.
- Do I lose my right to use the formal EEO complaint process if mediation does not work?
No. You have nothing to lose by attempting mediation. You retain the right to pursue formal avenues if settlement does not occur. However, you must comply with the time frames for filing an EEO complaint.
- 3. May I bring a representative to mediation?
While it is not always necessary, both parties may bring a representative of their choosing to the mediation table. Since ADR neutrals do not provide opinions or advice about the merits of the case, a representative can often serve as a valuable feedback mechanism. If any party in ADR decides to bring a representative, it would be a courtesy to let the ADR Neutral know in advance.