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Civil Rights News | Feb. 28, 2023

Solve Disagreements Early with Alternative Dispute Resolution

By OSCS Askia Carhee, Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Region 2, Civil Rights Directorate

Aggrieved individuals can use the Coast Guard’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process as an avenue for resolving Equal Employment Opportunity/Equal Opportunity (EEO/EO) conflicts quickly and efficiently. In ADR, a trained, third-party neutral assists disputing parties in reaching a mutual settlement by using various informal techniques such as mediation. The ADR participation rate during the pre-complaint process in FY22 was 53.4%. Of the 47 cases that used ADR, 34% (16) settled during the pre-complaint process, exceeding the federal average of 19.1%. Individuals filing formal complaints may also use ADR, and 35.5% participated in using these methods in FY22, significantly higher than the 6.14% federal average.

There are several benefits to ADR. First, are confidential settlement discussions. Other than a completed settlement, no written materials will be kept or used as part of official records. Second, using ADR can improve communication between the disputing parties and help mend working relationships. Third, aggrieved individuals convey their experiences directly to the management representative and get to hear from management directly rather than through a counselor. Fourth, disputes can be resolved on terms that all sides can accept. Fifth, if an agreement is reached, neither part admits to any wrongdoing or guilt within the agreement. Additionally, there are lower related costs and quicker outcomes for using ADR. For more information, please contact your servicing Civil Rights Service Provider.