How Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Can Prevent Workplace Violence

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Prevention of Workplace Violence (OSHA, 2006):

•    Awareness/Training
•    Threat Assessment
•    Long-Term Security
•    Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
•    Employee Assistance Program

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR processes are intended to aid parties settle conflicts with the help of unbiased third parties. ADR serves as an effective alternative to court litigation or agency adjudications, or to resolve conflicts which the parties cannot resolve on their own. ADR processes include facilitation, conciliation, mediation, and ombudsperson programs.

Two examples of how ADR can work:

A mediator who has been trained in listening and communicating can defuse tensions, clear up misunderstandings, and open the door to productive dialogue.

An ombudsperson is the “eyes and ears” of the highest level of an organization. Individuals having complaints or grievances about the organization can bring them confidentially to the ombudsperson who listens, investigate, and recommend solutions to problems.

Considerations for Using ADR

ADR can be suitable in resolving many issues at work. ADR may be an option :

•    Parties are refuse to listen to other’s views that there is deadlock.
•    Communication styles between parties needs neutral party assistance
•    Resolution of a dispute without filing a formal complaint
•    Quick resolution to conflict

ADR may not be appropriate to hostile conflicting parties. For an ADR to be successful, trust is an important factor.

Trust can be created by:

•    Allow users of the program to get involved in designing it.
•    Choosing competent, neutral third parties
•    Voluntary rather than mandatory
•    Program spearheaded by respected office/individual

Initiating an ADR Process

Conflict Between Employees: USDA agencies have programs meant to resolve conflict in the workplace. Most programs offer third-party intervention.

Conflict With Customers: USDA Certified Mediation Programs provide mediation for conflicts between USDA and program applicants or participants in 20 States. USDA employees who have a problem with a customer could take steps towards mediation in some States.

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