OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL
|THE ROLE OF THE
U.S. OFFICE OF
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel
| WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is an informal process in
Participation in the OSC Mediation Program is voluntary. In selected cases that are slated for referral to an OSC Investigation and Prosecution Division, the OSC ADR Specialist contacts the complainant and employing agency to invite them to participate in the mediation program. If both parties agree, OSC schedules a mediation session. OSC mediators, who have extensive mediation training and experience in federal personnel law, conduct a mediation session at a mutually convenient time and location. If mediation results in resolution, the agreement is reduced to writing and becomes binding on both parties.
|ADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION
|Many parties prefer mediation as a dispute resolution process because it is:
|Does mediation work? While each case is
unique, general statistics from a wide range of forums indicate that mediation resolves over
70% of disputes.
Does OSC require the parties to participate in mediation? No. Participation is strictly voluntary.
What happens if one party declines OSC's invitation to mediate, or decides to terminate mediation before resolution of the complaint? In either case, the complaint will be assigned to an OSC Investigation and Prosecution Division, as it would have been had mediation not been offered to the parties.
Who mediates OSC complaints? OSC cases are conducted by mediators who are experienced and trained in mediation and in federal personnel law. All internal OSC mediators are neutral,
unbiased professionals with no stake in the outcome of the mediation process.
Who attends the mediation session? The complainant and a representative from the employing agency attend the mediation. While it is not necessary to have an attorney or other representative attend the session, either party may chose to do so. It is essential however, that the individuals attending the mediation session have the authority to resolve the dispute.
| How long does the mediation process take?
The length of the mediation session depends upon the complexity of the case and willingness
of the parties to resolve the dispute. Most mediations are completed in eight hours or less.
What happens if the mediation does not result in resolution? The parties risk nothing by participating in mediation. If resolution is not achieved, the complaint is assigned to an OSC
Investigation and Prosecution Division, as it would have been had the parties not tried mediation.
Are all OSC complaints eligible for
mediation? No. The OSC ADR Unit evaluates each complaint that has been selected for referral to an OSC Investigation and Prosecution Division
to determine whether it is appropriate for
mediation. The factors considered include: the nature of the case, the relationship of the parties, the complexity of the case, and the relief sought by the complainant. Allegations that do not
warrant referral to an OSC Investigation and Prosecution Division are not eligible for mediation.
Can a complaint that is already in the
Investigation or Prosecution Division be mediated? Mediation may be available as an option at the investigation and prosecution stages
at the discretion of OSC.