United States Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C.  20240


July 17, 2003

TO:                 Bureau Equal Opportunity Officers
FROM:            E. Melodee Stith, Director, Office for Equal Opportunity
SUBJECT:       Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Policy

This Directive provides further guidance on the Department of the Interior’s policy governing ADR as it relates to the EEO Process.  To reinforce the guidance previously issued by the Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management and Budget on June 7, 2000, each Bureau must have an ADR process in place.  We are strongly encouraging Bureaus to expand and promote ADR in the EEO process.  In administering your ADR program, we ask that you adhere to the following:

All ADR sessions must be kept in strict confidence.  The parties must be assured that their statements and information obtained during ADR are kept confidential so that the parties can feel free to be frank and forthcoming during the proceeding, without fear that such information may later be used against them.  Also, as part of the confidentiality provision in the ADR sessions, any notes taken during the ADR proceeding or in preparation for the proceeding, must be destroyed.

Further, please ensure that your Bureaus designate an official with settlement authority to participate in the ADR session.  If for some reason the appropriate management official cannot be present at ADR, you must ensure that the management official with the settlement authority can be readily accessible to management’s representative at the ADR meetings.  This allows the official with settlement authority to act in good faith and to agree to an immediate resolution to the dispute, if one is reached, and encourages a swift ADR process between the parties.

Additional guidance regarding ADR can be found in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Management Directive, MD-110.

Distribution:      Bureau and Office Equal Opportunity Officers, Bureau Equal Opportunity

                        Complaint Managers, Regional and Field EO Managers

Inquiries:           Mercedes Flores, Chief of Staff, Office for Equal Opportunity, (202) 208-6120.

Expiration:        When Superseded