OSC Seal

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20036-4505

U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL LAUNCHES MEDIATION PROGRAM 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 3/13/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
(202) 653-7984  

    The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced today that it has launched a nationwide voluntary mediation program as an alternative approach to resolving complaints of prohibited personnel practices (PPPs). OSC anticipates that its Mediation Program will help federal agencies and complainants reach resolution of select PPP complaints in a quicker, less expensive, and more amicable way. The mediation program will also permit OSC to concentrate its investigative and prosecutorial resources on a smaller percentage of cases, thereby increasing its effectiveness as a law enforcement agency. OSC expects that complaints will be resolved through the Mediation Program within 45 Ė 100 days after the parties agree to mediate.

    Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral mediator assists the opposing parties in reaching a voluntary, negotiated resolution of the complaint. The mediator has no authority to make a decision, but rather helps the parties decide upon a mutually agreeable settlement.

    In selected cases that OSC determines to be appropriate for mediation, and that would otherwise be referred to OSCís Investigation Division, OSCís ADR Specialist will invite the complainant and the employing agency to participate in the Mediation Program. If both parties accept the invitation, mediation will be conducted by trained mediators who are experienced in federal personnel law. 

    The parties risk nothing by mediating their OSC complaint. If mediation does not lead to resolution, the complaint will be assigned to the OSC Investigation Division, as it would have been had the parties not tried mediation. OSC is optimistic about the Program, however, particularly in view of the fact that numerous other federal agencies that offer mediation for employment disputes report a resolution rate of at least 70%.

    ďI anticipate that mediation will prove to be an efficient mechanism for resolving appropriate prohibited personnel practice complaints to the satisfaction of both parties, while bringing matters to closure quickly and fairly,Ē said Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan. ďOur expectation is that the use of mediation in appropriate cases will enable OSC to deploy its investigative and prosecutorial resources to work more effectively in those cases not resolved through mediation.Ē

    The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Under the Civil Service Reform Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act, the OSCís primary mission is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing. To that end, OSC investigates allegations of prohibited personnel practices and other improper employment practices within its jurisdiction, and seeks appropriate corrective or disciplinary action.

    Additional information about OSCís Mediation Program may be accessed at OSCís web-site: www.osc.gov


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