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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

NAVSEA is committed to providing Alternative Dispute Resolution proceedings that reflect confidentiality, neutrality, and enforceability.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a means of reaching resolution without resorting to lengthy and expensive formal complaint processes. It can be used in any dispute or conflict and is offered through both EEO and HR Offices. ADR is offered for workplace disputes, administrative grievances, and EEO complaints at all levels and stages of the process. It offers the chance to let others know how you view the situation, and gives all parties an opportunity to work out a mutually agreeable resolution.

ADR can take various forms, including mediation, conflict resolution, peer review, and conciliation. Mediation is the most common form of ADR used by the Department of Navy.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an informal, voluntary ADR technique that resolves disputes quickly, effectively, economically, and at the most appropriate level. In mediation, a trained third-party neutral, who has no decision-making authority, uses interest-based problem-solving techniques to assist the parties in identifying and arriving at mutually agreed-upon solutions to their issue(s) by. These interest-based problem-solving techniques help to resolve issues by:

    • Building a foundation of trust on both sides.
    • Focusing on interests (not positions).
    • Creating options for mutual gain.
    • Using objective criteria to ensure the legitimacy of any agreement.
    • Separating the people from the problem.

Mediation provides individuals with a separate, confidential space allowing for open and candid discussions without fear that each party's statements could later be used against them. A mediation session begins with all participants present as the mediator explains the process and answers any questions. Each party then gives some brief opening remarks to present their respective concerns about the matter in dispute. The mediator may ask questions to clarify or elaborate on topics that have been raised.

After this initial joint session, the mediator meets with each party separately in what are known as caucus sessions, in order to discuss issues in greater detail and gain a better sense of how the parties would like to resolve the issues.

During both joint and private sessions, the mediator explores with the parties the options they have identified for resolution.

Who Can Use ADR?

Any employee can use ADR, including high-level managers, temporary appointees, professionals, and support/administrative staff. ADR may be used to resolve any issue in controversy, regardless of the subject matter. Some examples include  interpersonal disputes, possible disciplinary or performance-related actions, administrative grievances, groups or offices facing challenges, and concerns about prohibited personnel practices or discrimination.

How Effective is ADR?

ADR has been shown to be highly effective in efficiently resolving workplace disputes and decreasing the amount of destructive conflict, while conserving scarce resources.

Why Select ADR?

The following qualities make ADR an efficient technique for resolving disputes:

    • Voluntary - At any time, the ADR process can be stopped if either party wishes.
    • Confidential - What is said during a mediation usually cannot be disclosed.
    • Control - Gives parties more control in creating a mutually satisfactory outcome to their dispute.
    • Collaborative Problem-Solving - Stresses creative problem-solving, increasing communication between parties, and improving the work environment.
    • Timeliness - Promotes early resolutions.
    • Economical - Saves money.
    • Flexible - Permits "non-legal" issues such as communication problems and personality conflicts to be addressed and resolved.

Self-Determination – ADR transfers the power from court judges to the actual parties to the dispute. Maintaining a productive work environment in which disputes are settled quickly and at the lowest possible organizational level is essential to the success of the Department of the Navy (DON) and the accomplishments of its national security mission. ADR achieves this goal by enabling individuals and groups to promptly address their issues, put their issues behind them, and move forward.


Secretary of the Navy ADR Page: https://www.secnav.navy.mil/ADR/Pages/default.aspx