Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution

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​​​​​FAQs

Q:Does mediation work?

A:

​While each case is unique, OSC reports a resolution rate of 70 percent for PPP and USERRA mediations.​

Q:Does OSC require opposing parties to participate in mediation?

A:

​No. Participation is completely voluntary.​​

Q:What happens if one party declines OSC's invitation to mediate, or decides to terminate mediation before resolution of the complaint?

A:

​In either case, the complaint will be assigned to the Investigation and Prosecution Division or the USERRA Unit, as it would have been had mediation not been offered to the parties.​

Q:Who mediates OSC complaints?

A:

OSC has an ADR Unit with three full-time mediators who devote the bulk of their time to PPP and USERRA mediations. OSC maintains a roster of internal mediators, trained in mediation and federal personnel law, to serve as neutral and unbiased co-mediators. Additionally, OSC occasionally co-mediates with training mediators from outside the agency (such as volunteer mediators and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service mediators). 

Q:Who attends the mediation session?

A:

​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 have one. It is essential, however, that the individuals attending the mediation session have the authority necessary to resolve the dispute.​​

Q:How long does the mediation process take?

A:

​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.​​ OSC mediators do a lot of work upfront to ensure that the mediation session is as productive as possible.

Q:What happens if the mediation does not result in resolution?

A:

​The parties risk nothing by participating in mediation. If resolution is not achieved, the complaint is assigned to the Investigation and Prosecution Division or the USERRA Unit for investigation, as it would have been had the parties not tried mediation.​​

Q:Can a complaint that is already in the Investigation and Prosecution Division be mediated?

A:

​Yes. Mediation is an option at the investigation and prosecution stages in select cases.​

Q:Do mediators have the power to impose an agreement on the parties?

A:
No. OSC mediators have no decision-making authority. Their job is to facilitate a process by which parties voluntarily agree to a mutually safisfactory settlement.

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