Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

EEOC Reports on 2006 ADR Use in Federal Sector

Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

EEOC Reports on 2006 ADR Use in Federal Sector

Article excerpt

An annual report of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the use of alternative dispute resolution by federal agencies in fiscal year 2006 shows that mediation remains the most often used process to resolve workplace disputes. The report also showed that use of ADR in 2006 at the subsequent formal complaint stage more than doubled, compared to 2005.

According to the report, mediation is the overwhelming choice of parties, both before and after a complaint is filed. The same held true when data from the Postal Service was excluded. Mediation was selected by all agencies in the pre-complaint stage 98% of the time, (excluding the Postal Service, 92.4% of the time). In the complaint stage, mediation was selected 85% of the time.

According to the report, agencies have discretion to use neutrals from inside and outside government. The data shows that in the pre-complaint stage, agencies chose private sector neutrals 75% of the time, in-house neutrals 14% of the time, and other agency neutrals just under 10% of the time. But when the Postal Service is excluded, federal agencies chose in-house neutrals more frequently than other sources of neutrals.

In the formal complaint stage, however, in-house neutrals dominated, being used by all agencies 49% of the time. Other agency neutrals were selected 39% of the time and private neutrals only 11% of the time.

According to the report, overall agency participation in ADR decreased both before and after a complaint was filed, with and without the Postal Service data. …

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