All agencies are required to have an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. EEOC has certain requirements that all agencies must follow when developing ADR programs. The most important ADR program requirement is fairness. Generally, an ADR program is fair if it is voluntary, confidential, enforceable by the parties (if an agreement is reached), and led by a neutral person, like a mediator, who has no personal interest in the dispute.
Most agencies use mediation in their ADR programs. Mediation is an informal meeting between the parties that is conducted by a neutral mediator. A mediator is trained to help people who have disagreements talk to each other. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or issue a decision. Instead, the mediator helps the parties work out their own solutions to their dispute.
There are real advantages to participating in ADR. ADR offers both you and the agency the opportunity for a fast and informal settlement of the dispute. Rather than leaving the decision to a third party, such as an Administrative Judge, ADR gives you the opportunity to reach an agreement that works for both you and the agency.
Learn more about Federal Sector ADR.