“Mediation” refers to the process by which a neutral third party, who is not a decision-maker, facilitates discussion between the parties in order to help them find a mutually acceptable solution. C.F.R. § 1614.105(b)(2), which covers complaint handling, requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Advisor to inform the aggrieved person that he or she may choose between participating in the Agency`s EEO-ADR program and traditional equal employment opportunity counseling procedures. Before the injured person makes a choice between counselling and equal employment opportunity, the Equal Employment Opportunity Counsellor must fully inform the injured person of the steps in the equal employment opportunity process. (See Chapter 2 of this Management Policy). The Equal Employment Opportunity Advisor must also inform the aggrieved person through other appropriate legal or regulatory bodies, such as the Merit Systems Protection Board or a negotiated grievance mechanism. When a person enters an OEE-ADR procedure following the lodging of a formal complaint, the time limit for dealing with the complaint may be extended by mutual agreement by up to 90 days. If the dispute is not resolved, the complaint must be dealt with within the extended time limit. OEE-ADR procedures are most effective when a neutral or impartial third party who has no personal interest in the outcome of a dispute allows the parties themselves to try to resolve their dispute.
An agency should also take into account the aggrieved person`s perception of the impartiality of the third party when appointing a neutral for an OEE-ADR procedure. For neutral to be effective, participants in an alternative dispute resolution program for equal employment opportunity disputes must perceive the neutral as completely impartial. The selection of neutrals shall be consistent with the basic principles of alternative dispute resolution set out in section II. While, in the Charter of the United Nations, the peoples of the world reaffirm, inter alia, their determination to create conditions for the maintenance of justice and proclaim as one of their objectives the implementation of international cooperation in promoting and promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race or sex, of language or religion, mediation is also an alternative to litigation. Mediators are people trained in negotiations who bring the opposing parties together and try to reach an agreement or arrangement that both parties accept or reject. Mediation is not binding. Mediation is used for a wide range of case types, from juvenile offences to federal government negotiations with Native American tribes. Mediation has also become an important method of resolving disputes between investors and their investment dealers. See Securities Dispute Resolution. In addition, aggrieved parties should be assured that they are free to terminate the EEO-AS procedure at any time and that they retain the right to continue the administrative EAO procedure if they prefer that procedure to the EA-ADR and no solution has been found.
Both sides need to be reassured that no one can impose a solution on them, not the management of the agency, not the equal employment opportunity officers, not the neutrals. Finally, parties are more likely to voluntarily approach a solution if they know their right to representation at all times. Confidentiality is critical to the success of all OEE-AS procedures. Congress recognized this fact by improving the confidentiality provisions of the Administrative Disputes Settlement Act of 1996 (ADRA) and, in particular, by exempting qualified dispute resolution notices from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. See 5 U.S.C. § 574. Parties who know that their ADR statements and information on equal employment opportunity will remain confidential feel free and accommodating during the proceedings without fear that this information may later be used against them. In order to maintain this level of confidentiality, it is necessary to explicitly limit the dissemination of ADR-related information on equal employment opportunities. For implementation and reporting purposes, the details of a decision may only be disclosed to specific bodies where such information is necessary.
Neither ADRA nor the Commission`s basic principles require the parties to agree that a settlement must be confidential. If the Agency and the injured person agree to a resolution of the matter, the Commission`s regulations require that the terms of the resolution be in writing and signed by both parties to ensure that they have the same understanding of the terms of the resolution. See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.603; Chapter 12 of this Directive. The written agreement must clearly state the terms of the resolution and include the procedures available pursuant to 29 C.F.R. § 1614.504 in the event that the Agency fails to comply with the terms of the resolution. Written agreements must comply with the EEOC Guidelines on the Application of Workers` Rights Under Applied Laws, in which the Commission sets out its position that: Many ADR techniques are available to authorities in their programmes. Each organization`s ADR program should strive to use AS techniques that best fit its culture. While the Commission does not require organizations to offer specific ADR techniques, organizations must at least provide parties with ADR technology that allows all parties concerned to participate meaningfully in the dispute. Mediation, moderation and comparison conferences are common alternative dispute resolution techniques involving all parties to the dispute.
“Neutral” means a third party who has no interest in the outcome of the proceeding and whose task is to assist the parties in resolving the issues in dispute. Agencies and aggrieved individuals/complainants recognised many of the benefits of using ADR on equal employment opportunity. The ADR on equal employment opportunity provides the parties with the opportunity for early and informal resolution of disputes in a mutually satisfactory manner. Alternative dispute resolution of equal employment opportunity disputes generally costs less and consumes fewer resources than traditional administrative or judicial procedures, particularly proceedings involving a hearing or litigation. Early resolution of disputes through Equal Employment Opportunity Alternative Dispute Resolution can provide agency resources for mission-related programs and activities. The agency can avoid costs such as court reporters and experts. In addition, employee morale can be improved if agency management is seen as open-minded and cooperative in resolving disputes through alternative dispute resolution in equal employment opportunity. Applicability is a key principle for the success of a EST-ADR program. Section 1614.504 of 29 C.F.R.
provides that “any settlement agreement knowingly and voluntarily entered into by the parties at any stage of the appeal process shall be binding on both parties.” The Regulation provides for specific procedures for the execution of such a settlement agreement.