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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Alternative Dispute Resolution Reference Guide

Conflict Prevention and Resolution

Food and Drug Administration

Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution Reference Guide

2010


CONTENTS

  1. Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR)
  2. CPR Services
  3. Incentives for Using CPR Services
  4. CPR Staff
  5. CPR Direct!
  6. CPR and the EEO Process
  7. CPR and the NTEU (Union) Process
  8. Evaluating CPR  

APPENDICES

Appendix 1. Sample Agreement to Mediate (15.6 KB PDF) 

Appendix 2. Sample Agreement to Engage in ADR (16.2 KB PDF)


1.  Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)

Conflict is inevitable. Unresolved conflict impacts productivity, health and morale.  When conflict is managed creatively, it can result in restored and enhanced workplace relationships.  

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is committed to maintaining harmonious work environments by resolving workplace conflict at the earliest possible stage. The Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) program is an alternative resource to existing formal grievance and EEO complaint processes to address work-related issues.  Our mission is to make available impartial, confidential, informal avenues of dispute resolution that are easily accessible to all employees regardless of position, grade or status.  

 2.  CPR Services

Our services are designed to decrease the incidents of formal complaints, minimize the delays and costs of workplace conflict and help train FDA employees to manage conflict.

Our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes are characterized by informality, flexibility, confidentiality and participant involvement in designing solutions.  Any employee can request CPR services. There is no requirement to engage the EEO or the union grievance process to access CPR services.

We offer the following services:

  • Consultation – informal, confidential, one-on one conversations to discuss, brainstorm, and help you make decisions about a workplace issue that’s creating a problem for you;
  • Conflict Coaching – informal, confidential, one-on-one strategy sessions to help you effectively engage in a difficult workplace situation.  The goal is to provide you with skills to prevent the unnecessary escalation of conflict;
  • Facilitation – informal, confidential, one-on-one shuttle-problem-solving or group-problem-solving session(s) conducted by a neutral third party (the facilitator) who helps participants improve communication, clarify expectations and craft their own solutions to resolve workplace problems;
  • Mediation – informal, confidential session(s) in which a neutral third party (the mediator) helps participants discuss their dispute in a productive manner and develop their own agreements to resolve it;
  • Team Building – informal group session(s), facilitated by a neutral party, during which participants discuss their workplace issues in a structured manner and create solutions to enhance productivity;
  • Training and Presentations – information and education sessions on conflict prevention and management tailored to the needs of your staff.

 3.  Incentives for Using CPR Services

ADR strategies are widely used in federal agencies, local governments, court systems, school systems, by communities, churches, police departments and in international affairs.  In all venues, participants have found that ADR strategies: 

  • create win/win solutions
  • help maintain or improve working relationships
  • do not require documentation or witnesses
  • are private and confidential
  • reduce tension
  • save time and money
  • are non-adversarial
  • empower disputing participants to craft their own solutions
  • often produce lasting results
  • open lines of communication
  • increase creativity and productivity

 4.  CPR Staff

CPR Specialists are trained mediators and knowledgeable of statutory requirements for filing union and administrative grievances, EEO complaints and MSPB appeals.  When necessary, the staff may utilize trained FDA collateral duty mediators and mediators from the Federal Sharing Neutrals Program.   

 5.  CPR Direct!

Got Conflict?

Do you need help handling a workplace problem?

Do you need a confidential environment to discuss your concerns with a  neutral person?

Call a CPR Specialist at 301-796-9420!

Any FDA employee, regardless of position, grade or status can contact CPR directly with any workplace concern. During your initial contact, a CPR Specialist will listen to your issues and discuss possible options with you.  If you decide you want to proceed with CPR, the Specialist will make appropriate arrangements for your next steps.

CPR abides by all mandated administrative timeframes in accordance with specific statutes and regulations.  For example, union grievances must be filed within 30 days of the alleged incident and EEO complaints must be filed within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory incident.  A CPR Specialist can advise you of the regulatory requirements and time frames of any administrative recourse and refer you to someone who can give you explicit advice at NTEU, EEO or MSPB.

Please contact us at 301-796-9420 or by e-mail, cpr@fda.hhs.gov.  We are located on the White Oak Campus, Building 32.

 6.  CPR and the EEO Process

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) urges all federal government agencies to attempt resolution of discrimination complaints at the earliest possible stage of the EEO complaint process.  EEOC regulation at 29 CFR §1614.102(b) (2) requires that Federal agencies “…establish or make available an alternative dispute resolution program.  Such a program must be available for both the pre-complaint and formal complaint process.”  Under this regulation, mediation is available as part of the informal or formal EEO process.

Employees initiating an EEO complaint may choose to participate in traditional EEO counseling or request mediation.  If mediation is chosen, you will be referred to CPR.  If your complaint is not resolved through mediation, the EEO Counselor will issue you a Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination.  After receiving it, you may elect to file a formal EEO complaint within 15 days of receipt of that Notice.  During the formal stage, you may also choose mediation and, if you do, you will be referred to CPR.

 7.  CPR and the NTEU (Union) Process

CPR and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which allows NTEU to refer matters to CPR for mediation.  If you request mediation, your grievance is held in abeyance pending the outcome of mediation.  If the mediation does not result in a written Settlement Agreement, the NTEU may elect to proceed with the grievance process.
 

 8.  Monitoring and Evaluating CPR’s Process

CPR values your feedback.  After each service, we will ask you to evaluate our service.   The data collected through these forms are used to make improvements and modifications to our CPR program.  The CPR Director monitors office process and performance and reports these data as one component of the CPR’s Annual Report to the Commissioner.  Your feedback helps to become better resource for FDA employees.    

All contact with the CPR Office is strictly confidential.

Revised 8/19/2010