“Representing Federal Employees in Discrimination Cases” Part 3 – Alternative Dispute Resolution
The following excerpt is part of a series on “Representing Federal Employees in Discrimination Cases” by James Weliky. Click here for more information.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Each agency is required to establish an alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) program that will be made available to employees during both the informal and formal complaint process. 29 C.F.R. §1614.102(b)(2). Agencies are not required to adopt any particular type of ADR, nor make it available to every complainant, but whatever form they adopt must conform to certain “core principles” of fairness set forth in the EEOC’s ADR Policy Statement (attached as Appendix H to the MD-110). In our experience, we have only encountered mediation as the type of ADR made available. The feedback we have received about the process is that it is almost as ineffective in achieving a fair resolution of an employee’s complaint as is the informal pre-complaint counseling process.
Opting for ADR during the informal counseling process extends the time period for completion of same from thirty to ninety days. 29 C.F.R. §1614.105(f). The parties may also agree to extend the formal complaint-processing phase by 90 days if the employee opts for ADR after the formal complaint is filed.