The pre-investigation program provides an individual and his/her employer (or former employer) the opportunity to resolve an allegation of discrimination through mediation rather than fully litigate the discrimination allegation or have the NRC initiate an investigation. Mediation is an informal and voluntary process between an individual and his/her employer (or former employer) in which a trained mediator works with the parties to help them settle their dispute. Early resolution of discrimination allegations tends to preserve relationships and generally promotes a safety conscious work environment by facilitating timely and amicable resolution of discrimination concerns without resorting to prolonged litigation and unnecessary expenses.
The following is a summary of the major components of the pre-investigation ADR program:
- Pre-investigation program includes Early ADR and Licensee Sponsored ADR
- In Early ADR, the NRC pays for the mediator selected from the Cornell University's (Cornell) roster of mediators
- In Licensee Sponsored ADR, the parties pay for the mediator, if they elect to have one
- The NRC is not a party to mediation in Pre-investigation ADR
- The program is totally voluntary; no one is required, obligated or forced to engage in mediation or continue with mediation
- The alleger must first agree to engage in mediation before the licensee is afforded the opportunity to participate in the Early ADR program
- Pre-investigation ADR is limited to allegations of discrimination
- The resolution of technical safety concerns or other allegations (e.g. "chilling effect" or wrongdoing type concerns) are not within the scope of the program and cannot be the subject of any settlement agreement
- Cornell is the neutral administrator of the Early ADR program with whom the NRC has a contract. Cornell administers the day-to-day activities of the program and provides mediators
- Mediation is confidential
If the parties settle the allegation of discrimination, the NRC reviews the settlement agreement to ensure no restrictive covenants in violation of the applicable employee protection rules exist in the agreement. If no such terms exist, the NRC will not investigate the allegation of discrimination and closes the allegation of discrimination.
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