The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that all agencies establish or make available an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program for all employees. The ADR program must be available during both the pre-complaint or informal complaint stage, and the formal complaint stage. EEOC encourages agencies to use ADR as a valuable tool in resolving Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) disputes at all stages of the EEO process.
The Department of Commerce concurs with the EEOC on this requirement and has long supported ADR, through mediation, as an option for employees in resolving EEO disputes. Department employees have the option, when appropriate, of electing mediation within their respective Bureau EEO programs.
This Guide presents an overview of the Department-wide mediation process. It was thoughtfully written with several Commerce audiences in mind:
- EEO staff and Counselors whose role is to provide information on the mediation process to individuals seeking advice;
- Employees considering mediation in resolving a dispute; and
- Management officials who wish to learn more about mediation and their responsibilities in its process.
Employees and managers are encouraged to refer to the Guide as needed, as a supplement to consulting with their respective Bureau EEO Officer or ADR Coordinator. Employees represented by a union are advised to consult with their union representatives when considering mediation.