The Catholic University of America

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Policy

 

Approved by: President and his Council
History: Issued -- October 2003
  Revised --
  Additional History
Related Policies:  
Additional References: Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures
Responsible Official: Equal Opportunity Officer/Employee Relations Director tel. (202) 319-6594
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I. Introduction

The Catholic University of America (CUA) recognizes that disputes naturally arise. It is through this recognition and a desire to minimize the negative impact that results from conflict that CUA's ADR Program has been developed. It is designed to assist employees, faculty and students in resolving disputes and conflicts as quickly as possible via a confidential and voluntary process.

II. Definitions

The Catholic University of America's ADR program offers three types of resolution options. They include:

A. Coaching/Empowerment: The individual receives coaching from trained staff on different approaches to resolve disputes. Coaching/Empowerment may involve employee counseling, role-playing, and other strategies to empower individuals to resolve conflicts without an intervening third party.

B. Intervention: Individuals may use this ADR approach if they desire hands-on third party intervention to help disputing parties resolve issues through problem-solving, decision making and guidance. A member of the Office of Equal Employment will provide guidance and counsel to both sides to resolve the dispute.


C. Mediation: Mediation will be facilitated by the Office of Equal Employment staff who are impartial, trained professionals in mediation and dispute resolution. Their role is to help guide the discussion, ask clarifying questions, summarize information to improve communication and help parties to create their own solutions. Mediators will not act as arbitrators or make any decisions regarding the resolution of the conflict.

III. Background

Conflict is a part of life. While working and/or studying in a diverse environment like The Catholic University of America where differences in work approach, human interaction, and other areas can be very beneficial, these differences can sometimes lead to conflict. If managed successfully, conflict can produce positive results and provide personal and professional growth, both individually and organizationally. If not addressed or managed appropriately, conflict can adversely affect work/student relationships, productivity, customer service, and a myriad of other problems. Although disputes and disagreements are inevitable, the utilization of conflict resolution programs to resolve conflicts is greatly encouraged. Traditional remedies, such as the formal complaint and/or grievance processes are often lengthy, expensive, and tend to foster an adversarial environment.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a more progressive and effective way to resolve some disputes and conflicts. ADR generally provides for a more expedient resolution and offers the disputing parties the opportunity to successfully manage conflict through the use of a third-party neutral in a non-adversarial forum. Other advantages of ADR include the promotion of open communication, maintaining effective work relationships, enhancing employee/faculty/student morale, eliminating or diminishing the need for protracted and costly litigation, and adding flexibility to conflict resolution. To ensure maximum success, the ADR program should be utilized during the earliest possible stages of conflict.

The Catholic University of America (CUA) recognizes that disputes naturally arise. It is through this recognition and a desire to minimize the negative impact that results from conflict that CUA's ADR Program has been developed. It is designed to assist employees, faculty, and students in resolving disputes and conflicts as quickly as possible via a confidential and voluntary process.

IV. Program Outline

The types of disputes that are covered under the CUA ADR program include peer-to-peer disputes, supervisory/employee disputes, and disputes perceived to be related to federal, state, and local anti-discrimination statutes.

The types of disputes not covered under CUA's ADR program include compensation issues, disciplinary actions, workplace violence, and any other nondiscrimination issues covered under the respective collective bargain agreements. In addition, disputes that are covered by the Student Code of Conduct Judicial Process are not covered under these procedures.

V. Scope

The ADR policy applies to non-represented employees, students, and faculty with disputes involving EEO issues. This ADR policy also applies to represented employees with disputes involving EEO matters and other issues that are not handled as grievances under a collective bargaining agreement.

VI. Responsibility

The President of The Catholic University of America delegates to the Director of Equal Opportunity overall responsibility for implementing the ADR Program. The CUA's ADR program is a collaborative effort between the Office of Equal Opportunity and the various offices and departments of the university. The Director of Equal Opportunity is responsible for the general administration of this policy and reporting as needed to the President.

While the ADR program at The Catholic University of America is a voluntary process, every student, faculty or staff member is encouraged to consider utilizing the program to resolve conflict if possible.