Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program
All organizations have conflict. We can respond to conflict with
choices that lead to destructive outcomes – the escalating "battles" that lead
to hurt and unsafe feelings, or the suppressed frustration that eats away at
employees’ comfort. We can also respond to conflict in a manner that leads to
constructive outcomes. While many employees would like a constructive resolution
to conflict, we often do not know how to achieve such a resolution, and so may
not believe that it is possible.
Frequently when we experience conflict, we can work things out
by ourselves, quickly and satisfactorily. However, when a person feels a need
for assistance in order to attempt to reach a constructive solution, the Federal
Government and USDA offer a variety of kinds of assistance. This Guide is
intended to help you choose an option best suited to your situation.
Informal avenues are available. A relatively new
"interest-based" option—Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)—leaves the
resolution of conflict to the persons who have the conflict. ADR can help USDA
employees improve communication, build relationships, and understand another
person’s perspective. The availability of ADR before, during, or in place of the
formal dispute resolution avenues provides employees a more "personal" option
for addressing their concerns.
Formal avenues are also available to employees such as the
grievance and EEO complaint processes. Like the court system, these are
"rights-based" and end with a decision-maker determining the final outcome. Each
approach has its own timeframes, procedures, and decision-making structure. The
demands on an employee’s finances, time, and emotions, as well as the demands on
the work environment, vary as well.
FAS employees are encouraged to review this information. Should
you face a workplace conflict, call (202) 720-7233. Protections against reprisal
exist for employees who elect to pursue these options.
In most instances of conflict, doing nothing is the least
advisable course of action. By seeking to address concerns early and choosing an
appropriate avenue, you can increase the chances of resolving your situation in
the most timely and effective manner.
For additional information on Alternative Dispute Resolution,
click on the following: