Mediation is one form of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) used by the agency. Other forms include Telephone, Video and Settlement Conferences. Since introduction in the 1920s, Mediation has increased in popularity; and gained acclaim during the 1980s and 90s. Mediation has become an effective way for disputes to be resolved.
Prior to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requirement, APHIS established an ADR process for the Equal Employment Opportunity Program designed to provide a means for resolving conflict in the workplace, especially in its earliest stages. More importantly, ADR serves as a mode to assist in fostering a better working environment in which everyone benefits.
Participation in mediation is voluntary and is offered in both the informal and formal complaint process. Any mediation held during the formal complaint stage, and the complaint is not resolved, continues in the complaint process. The focus of ADR is to bring the parties (the complainant and the designated resolving official) to the table in an effort to facilitate resolution discussions, leading the way to settlement, if possible. Every reasonable option is examined to assist the parties in resolving the allegation. The designated resolving official can suggest an offer of settlement at any time during the mediation process.