What is ADR?

Alternative Dispute Resolution or “ADR” is a voluntary process that is used in lieu of a formal administrative process or litigation to resolve issues in controversy; including but not limited to, partnering, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, fact-finding, mini-trials, neutral evaluation, and arbitration or any combination thereof. 

The Department of the Navy, OCHR ADR Center of Excellence, provides a Department of the Navy certified mediator, who is a neutral to facilitate workplace concerns between participants in conflict. Mediation allows the participants an opportunity to discuss their workplace concerns, and potentially mutually agree on a resolution at the lowest level in a confidential environment.  

If anyone involved in the mediation has a disability and needs a reasonable accommodation to participate in the mediation, you must notify the ADR Coordinator as soon as possible prior to the mediation.           

To find out more about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) send an email to

Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation

Dept. of Navy’s Center of Excellence FAQs

I. What is Mediation? 

The mediation process is informal and uses a neutral third participant known as a mediator to facilitate the participants' resolution of the dispute.  The mediators will not provide legal or personnel advice.  The mediator has no power to make a decision or evaluate the merits of the issues at the table; instead, the mediator works with all participants to facilitate discussion that may or may not lead to the participants reaching a voluntary agreement of their own making.  

II. How Does the Process Work? 

The mediation begins with all the participants present as the mediator explains the process and answers any questions the participants may have at that time.  After each participant presents his/her concerns by giving some brief opening remarks, the mediator may ask questions to clarify or elaborate on a particular topic.  After this first joint session, the mediator might meet with each participant separately (caucus) to discuss the issues in greater detail and to gain a better sense of how the participants would like the issues resolved. 

The mediation process may then continue with a series of separate meetings, or the mediator may decide to continue meeting with the participants jointly.  During these joint and private meetings, the mediator will explore with the participants their suggested options for resolving the concern.  The mediator can act in any number of facilitative roles, i.e., communicator, translator, agent of reality, etc.  The participants’ goal for the mediation is to reach a mutually agreeable and appropriate resolution. 

Upon completion of the mediation, each participant is requested to fill out an evaluation of the process.  Evaluation is not based on the outcome of the process as that rests in the participants’ hands, rather the evaluation is focused on logistics and the process itself.  Your participation in completing this form is appreciated.

III. Why Should I Use Mediation?
Mediation provides a confidential opportunity for discussion because the mediator will keep all information confidential in accordance with the ADR Act of 1996 and the Consent to Mediate form.  

Secondly, mediation is quick.  A mediation resolution enables participants to take much less time to reach a cooperative agreement than the more timely (and costly) process of litigation.  Finally, participation in mediation does not waive your rights to pursue the matter in another forum; however, you must adhere to the time frames and regulations of that formal process.  While mediation is designed to be an informal resolution process, it is entirely voluntary meaning the participants or the mediator may end the mediation any time.

IV. Is Mediation Right for Me?

To assess whether or not mediation is right for you, please consider the following:

            a) Does the issue involve a continuing relationship?

            b) Do the participants want it settled confidentially and informally?  

            c) Do the participants want a voice in shaping an agreement?

V. Who should be Present during the Mediation?

 Participants can represent themselves and have a representative with them

VI. How should I prepare for Mediation? 

Remember that mediation offers the chance to let others know how you view the situation, and it also offers an opportunity to work out an agreement for the future.  With this in mind, come to a mediation prepared to explain your views and ready to listen to the views of others. You can also prepare by thinking about the kinds of terms you might want in a final settlement agreement.  Remember that the mediation is your chance to put the issues behind you!  

If you believe you have been discriminated against, please contact the NAVSUP EEO Inbox:   


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