Civil Rights Office Mediation Program

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-11-01.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

Civil Rights Office (CRO)
Mediation Pmgram

What Is the        In mediation a neutral person, the
                   mediator, helps two or more individ-
Goal of            uals explore ways to resolve their dif-
Mediation?         ferences and reach an agreement that
                   best addresses their interests. Media-
                   tion is a problem-solving process that

               l reduces obstacles to communication,
               9 allows the individuals to create and
                 examine options for resolving their
               l helps the individuals develop realistic
                 and mutually satisfactory solutions,
               l provides a model for future problem

                   Mediation, unlike court litigation and
                   other adversary processes, does not
                   focus on who is right and who is
                   wrong. The mediator is not a judge or
                   an arbitrator and has no power to
                   make a decision. A mediator helps the
                   parties to the mediation become the
                   decisionmakers by understanding and
                   listening to each other and by working
                   together to create options and solu-
                   tions to their concerns.

What Happens       Not every mediation follows the same
in a Typical       steps, but the mediation process gener-
                   ally includes
               . creating trust and structure,
               . identifying facts and issues,
               l focusing on underlying concerns,
               l developing options,
               l negotiating and making decisions, and
                       civil Eights omce (cm)

                   l   clarifying and writing a plan or

                       Depending upon the circumstances, a
                       mediator decides when it is appro-
                       priate to have a session with both par-
                       ties or a separate session with only
                       one of the parties.

Are the                Yes. The mediation sessions and all
                       materiais disclosed during the media-
Mediation              tion are confidential. Roth parties
Sessions               must agree to confidentiality.
Confidential?          Mediators will not testify concerning
                       the mediation or submit any report or
                       record of the mediation discussions. In
                       addition, mediators do not disclose
                       anything that one of the parties asks
                       them, in a separate session, not to dis-
                       close to the other.

How Is                 When a GAO employee contacts the
Mediation   Used       CR0 Or a civil rights counselor about a
                       discrimination complaint, the coun-
in the                 selor informs the employee of the
Discrimination         mediation program as an option for
Complaint              resolving his or her complaint. If the
Process?               employee decides to mediate the issue,
                       and the manager involved agrees, CR0
                       assigns a mediator. Each party must
                       consent to the assigned mediator, and
                       the mediator must also be willing to
                       mediate for the parties involved. The
                       CR0 also provides a co-mediator if
                       appropriate. The mediator(s) contacts
                       the parties to schedule the fit media-
                       tion session. The party who represents
                       GAO in the mediation either has the
                       civil RiglIt. office (CRO)
                       Mediation    Pro@am

                       authority to make decisions about the
                       issues raised by the employee or
                       receives the authority after discussion
                       with the appropriate officials.

Will an                No. The discrimination complaint prc~
Employee’s             cess is suspended during mediation for
                       45 days from the date of the initial
Rights to              mediation session. If unresohed issues
Pursue a               remain at the end of the mediation, the
Discrimination         mediator(s) and the employee will
Complaint Be           state these issues in writing during the
Affected If He         final mediation session, and the
                       employee may continue processing
or She Decides         them through the formal complaints
to Mediate the         process.

Can Mediation     Yes. A manager, supervisor, or other
Be Used for       GAO employee can request mediation
                  through the CR0 Mediation Program
Issues Other      to help resolve any issues or concerns
Than              between a manager and a staff
Discrimination?   member, between two managers, or
                  between two staff members, If both
                  parties are willing, CR0 will assign

How   Does GAO    GAO unit managers, in consultation
Select, Train,    with employee advisory groups, select
                  mediators from Band II and Band III
and Certify       or GS-13/15 staff members. Individ-
Mediators?        uals selected attend a 3-day training
                  session in basic mediation skills,
                  Newly trained mediators then must
                  conduct several co-mediations with
                  experienced mediators and attend two

                  Page 3

                  __      ..-.   .I,.....,.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ..I.   ..--   ---^   --   ---.-
                                                             CR0 Mediation

 l    Manager/Supewisor       Calls CR0                                  E
                                  I             Request      for Mediation

                                  I    To. CR0 Mediation Program

                                             CR0 Assigns          Co-Medialors

                                       Each Party Consents to the Mediators

                                  I           IrMaI    Mediation      Session
                          I       I            Both Parties Are Present

     No More              I               Subsequent      Mediation       Sessions
     Than 45 Days
                          1             With the Parties Separately          or Jointly

                          ‘ie         *And   if Necessary,     a Written Statement


!il Rights      ISSWSS

ontacts CR Counselor and
:rdes to Mediate the Issue(s)

ounselor       Calls CR0              I


                  CM Rights Complaints Process
H                   Suspende;        45Daya              1




                 Unresolved Issue(s) Submitted by
+               Employee in Writing to CR0 Within
               15 Days of Final Mediation   Session.

                                          CR Complamts   Process Resumed

                                           Employee has 15 Days From
                                              Final Interview to File
                                                a Formal Complaint         I
                 Medietion        Program

                 &hour follow-up sessions before CR0
                 certifies them as GAO mediators.

Will             The skills learned in mediation may
Individuals      facilitate the resolution of any matter
                 the parties deem appropriate. To
Conduct          maintain the credibility of the Media-
Mediations       tion Program, however, disputes
Outside the      involving any degree of seriousness or
CR0 Mediation    complexity should be mediated under
Program?         the program’s auspices. Mediators
                 must exercise their own judgment in
                 this regard and may wish to consult
                 with the CR0 before deciding to
                 mediate outside the program.

How Can          For more information, contact the CR0
Someone          Mediation Program Manager at
                 (202) 275-6388.
Obtain Further
About the