REDRESS® mediation helps employees in conflict by using the transformative model of mediation. This model seeks to "transform" working relationships by encouraging disputing parties to openly discuss the issues of their dispute. The open discussion often helps employees recognize each other's views and consider how the dispute might be resolved. The parties, rather than the mediator, have the power to decide whether and how issues can be resolved. The mediator facilitates the discussion, but does not decide who is right or wrong.
There is no cost to an employee for a REDRESS mediation. The Postal Service pays for the mediator and provides mediation facilities.
Mediations usually take place in a conference room or private office at the employee’s facility. Exceptions may arise due to space considerations or the nature of the particular case; in that case, a nearby location is used. Mediation sessions are on the clock and usually occur during the employee’s normal work schedule.
The Postal Service conducted a nationwide search for highly skilled mediators who met minimum training and experience requirements. These mediators then attended an intensive 20-hour transformative mediation training program conducted by the nation’s leading experts. After the training, and an evaluation demonstrating a mastery of transformative mediation skills, the selected mediators’ names were added to our roster (See Publication 102 - Mediating Postal Disputes). When mediation is requested, the EEO Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Specialist selects a mediator from the roster and schedules the mediation.
Once the parties agree upon a date, place, and time for the mediation, a Postal Service designee makes all of the arrangements. Parties may choose to meet with their representatives ahead of time in order to organize their thoughts and prepare for the session. On the day of the mediation, the mediator, parties, and representatives meet at the designated location. No one else is present in the mediation without the parties' approval. A Postal Service EEO professional may check in to see if assistance is needed and may attend the mediation to evaluate the mediator's skills. The mediator opens the session and guides the parties as they begin their mediation. From that point forward, the parties proceed and the mediator supports them using transformative mediation skills. The Postal Service encourages representatives to guide and help their clients clearly express their thoughts.
While the issues in an EEO complaint can be resolved before, during or after the mediation, the mediation session itself must end in one of the following three ways:
Settlement Agreement – Counselee agrees to give up his/her complaint in exchange for something. If the parties agree upon terms for a settlement, they reduce it to writing and sign the agreement. The mediator then delivers the signed agreement to the Postal Service for final processing and the case is closed. If Counselee believes the settlement agreement has been breached and terms have not been implemented, Counselee must notify the EEO Complaints Processing Office, in writing, within 30 calendar days of the alleged noncompliance. The statement should include a request that the terms of the settlement agreement be specifically implemented or, alternatively, that the complaint be reinstated for further processing from the point processing ceased.
Withdrawal – Counselee understands the issues and withdraws his/her complaint in its entirety. Counselee understand this ends the complaint process and he/she has no avenue for further appeal.
No Agreement – No resolution was reached, the case is returned to the EEO ADR Specialist to continue to the next step of the traditional complaint process.