About ADR

Frequently asked questions

Question: Does mediation work?
Answer: While each case is unique, general statistics from a wide range of forums indicate that mediation resolves over 70% of disputes.

Question: Does OSC require the parties to participate in mediation?
Answer: No. Participation is strictly voluntary.

Question: What happens if one party declines OSC's invitation to mediate, or decides to terminate mediation before resolution of the complaint?
Answer: In either case, the complaint will be assigned to the Investigation and Prosecution Division, as it would have been had mediation not been offered to the parties.

Question: Who mediates OSC complaints?
Answer: OSC cases are conducted by mediators who are experienced and trained in mediation and federal personnel law. OSC maintains a roster of trained mediators on staff. All internal OSC mediators are neutral unbiased professionals with no stake in the outcome of the mediation process.

Question: Who attends the mediation session?
Answer: The complainant and a representative from the employing agency attend the mediation. While it is not necessary to have an attorney or other representative attend the session, either party may choose to do so. It is essential, however, that the individuals attending the mediation session have the authority necessary to resolve the dispute.

Question: How long does the mediation process take?
Answer: The length of the mediation session depends upon the complexity of the case and willingness of the parties to resolve the dispute. Most mediations are completed in eight hours or less. More complex cases may call for a second mediation session.

Question: What happens if the mediation does not result in resolution?
Answer: The parties risk nothing by participating in mediation. If resolution is not achieved, the complaint is assigned to the Investigation and Prosecution Division, as it would have been had the parties not tried mediation.

Question: Can a complaint that is already in the Investigation and Prosecution Division be mediated?
Answer: Yes. Mediation is an option at the investigation and prosecution stages in select cases.