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Frequently Asked Questions About Mediation

 1. Can I be required to participate in mediation?
No. Voluntary participation in our mediation process is assured. The ADR Bureau remains committed to making this process available to all who want to use it; the best way to benefit from being in mediation is to want to be there in the first place.

 2. At what point in the administrative process will mediation take place?
If parties are willing to participate, mediation can take place at any point – the earlier the better. Once an issue(s) has reached the formal grievance level, or resulted in an EEOC Charge or legal action, the matter is likely beyond the scope of our mediation program.

 3. Is the Mediation process confidential?
Yes. The state maintains confidentiality in its mediation program. The mediator and the parties must sign agreements that they will keep everything that is revealed during the mediation confidential. The mediation sessions are not tape-recorded or transcribed and all notes taken during the mediation are destroyed.

 4. How long does the mediation process take?
Mediations are typically scheduled for 4 hours. Additional mediation time or sessions may be scheduled depending on the particular facts and needs of the parties.

 5. Who are the mediators?
The mediators are capable, qualified, and committed individuals, experienced with the mediation process. They are neutral and unbiased with no stake in the outcome. Most mediators who participate in our program are state employees; the “pool” of mediators also includes pro bono mediators from our state universities, federal government, and community and private practice. To avoid any conflict of interest, mediators will have no relationship to the requesting agency or parties.

 6. Are the parties required to pay for the mediation?
No. There is no fee for mediations using the state’s “pool” of volunteer or pro bono mediators. If parties or an agency use external professional mediators, they will be responsible for any expenses.

 7. Do I have to sign an agreement at the end of the mediation?
An agreement is put in written form only if both parties agree to do so. The mediators will assist the parties in drafting and clarifying the contents of the agreement before the parties sign it.

 8. What happens if a party does not comply with an agreement reached in mediation?
If an agreement is not honored, the parties may return to mediation. The parties may also pursue the matter through their agency’s grievance or other administrative process. The mediation process supplements the complaint or grievance process, but does not replace it.

 9. Does mediation work?
Yes. Most participants indicate a high degree of satisfaction with the program and historically, compliance with agreements is high. Successful mediations may also help the parties avoid a time-consuming investigation or costly litigation, and may achieve a prompt resolution of the dispute.

 10. How do I request mediation?
Most state agencies have a designated ADR Coordinator who can assist you with your request. If you do not know who your agency’s ADR Coordinator is, or if your agency does not have one, contact the ADR Office for assistance.

 11. Where does mediation take place?
The ADR Bureau will coordinate a neutral meeting space away from parties’ regular work location but in reasonable proximity.

 12. Is attending mediation considered work time?
Yes. Resolution of workplace issues is a business matter and in the best interest of the agency, its employees, and the public we serve.