Mediation for Alternative Dispute Resolution of Employment Discrimination Complaints
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) offers Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to NRC employees (current and former) and applicants for employment, as a means of resolving complaints related to alleged discrimination in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). As such, the ADR program supplements (rather than replacing) the NRC's Employment Discrimination Complaint Process. In this context, employees may request ADR during the pre-complaint stage and/or the formal complaint stage of the discrimination complaint process. When ADR is requested, the NRC uses mediation (provided by external neutral parties) as the primary means of resolving the dispute.
Mediation is a confidential, informal, non-adjudicative and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The parties have the right to be represented during the mediation process by an attorney or non-attorney of his/her choice unless it creates a conflict of interest or the appearance thereof.
Mediation will not occur unless both parties voluntarily agree that it will be appropriate and useful in reaching a resolution. Individuals do not waive statutory rights of the complaint process by participating in mediation; however, in accordance with the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as defined in Title 29, Part 1614, of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR Part 1614), the time requirements related to the administrative processing of an EEO complaint may be held in abeyance or extended for a specified period, pending the outcome of mediation.
The mediator will assist the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement opportunities. The mediator will not provide counseling; offer advice, legal or otherwise; or make decisions regarding resolution. If, however, the mediator believes that either party does not understand how an agreement (or failure to agree) may affect legal rights or obligations, the mediator should bring this issue to the attention of the parties.