United States Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary

Washington, D.C. 20240

November 21, 2001


To: Bureau and Office Directors & Equal Opportunity Program Managers

From: E. Melodee Stith, Director, Office for Equal Opportunity

Subject: Federal Appellate Settlement Team (FAST) Program, Alternative Dispute Resolution Services

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will begin implementation of the Federal Appellate Settlement Team (FAST) Program and will make mediation services and other assistance available to the Department of the Interior.

The FAST Program is designed to address specific cases involving new appeals, "on the merits," but not those cases pending dismissals or similar actions.

The FAST Program process is sixty (60) days in duration. Prescribed time frames for other administrative actions will be preserved.

It is important to note that the FAST Program will be entirely voluntary for all parties.

The FAST Program will provide cost-effective mediation services in selected appeals filed with the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. An essential goal of the Department is to utilize the FAST Program's resources and expertise for mediation services to affect resolutions that improve communications between the parties, enhance workplace morale, and preclude litigation.

The Director, Office for Equal Opportunity has engaged in continuing consultations with EEOC and Departmental officials, and the Department has determined to fully participate in the FAST Program.

The information contained herein is for your use in advising your Bureau/Office Directors, employees, and others of this new opportunity to derive cost-effective benefits through the FAST Program. The FAST Program initiative is an outstanding opportunity for your organization to reach accords in employment disputes involving allegations of discrimination.

While your Bureau/Office's participation in the FAST Program is voluntary, Departmental policy for ADR will continue to require management's mandatory offer to ADR to complainants in all other cases.

The Director, OEO, will advise Bureaus/Offices of the EEOC's identification, and the Department's approval, of specific cases for inclusion in the mediation services provided by the FAST Program.

The Department will require the continuing application of Alternative Dispute Resolution systems and strategies to accomplish sound resolutions in other pending cases, i.e., those cases that may not be selected for inclusion in the FAST Program initiative.

The Office for Equal Opportunity will distribute additional information concerning the FAST Program, including the "FAST Offer Package," and the specific cases approved for action pursuant to the FAST Program, as information becomes available.

Should you have questions concerning the FAST Program, please contact Richard E. Redmond, at 202-208-5183.

Distribution: Bureau and Office Equal Opportunity Officers

Inquires: Richard E. Redmond, Alternative Dispute Resolution, (202) 208-5183

Expiration: When superseded