4.65 Mediation Program for Employees

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I. Purpose

The Mediation Program allows employees involved in a dispute to rely on a neutral third party for resolution of the dispute. The purpose of the program is to promote alternatives to and resolution of conflicts and to foster respect for differences. The focus of the Mediation Program is to develop an understanding of the needs and concerns of the parties involved and to forge a consensus on reasonable actions to resolve disputes.

II. General Information

A. The Mediation Program may be used in the following circumstances:

1. To resolve employee conflicts prior to the initiation of the formal grievance process (see Policy 4.32);

2. To resolve alleged incidents of discrimination and harassment (see Policy 4.60);

3. To resolve nonviolent disputes between students and employees and between employees;

4. To resolve issues pertaining to intellectual property rights (see Policy 6.09);

5. To resolve complaints referred to the College by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the EEOC Referral Back Mediation Program.

B. Mediation will not be used to resolve disputes or grievances related to criminal offenses, matters of dismissal, layoffs, non-renewal of contracts, discipline, or other matters of employment except through the EEOC Referral Back Mediation Program.

C. Employees who choose to participate in the mediation process maintain their rights, as applicable, to Due Process, to the Grievance Process, and to Discrimination and Harassment Complaint procedures. An employee may choose to withdraw from the mediation process at any time during mediation and reenter the formal College procedure designed to address his/her particular concern(s).

D. Participation in the Mediation Program will be on a voluntary basis. All parties participating in the mediation process must be willing to settle their dispute through mediation. Once the mediation process is complete and all involved parties have agreed in writing to honor the mediation solution, the involved parties are expected to uphold the agreement.

III. Procedures

A. Informal Mediation for Employees for Disputes Not Involving Alleged Discrimination or Harassment

1. For disputes between employees not related to allegations of discrimination or harassment, employees must, at a minimum, discuss informal mediation options after the employee has requested Employee Relations Assistance and the conflict is still not resolved (see Policy 4.32).

2. An employee may contact the Director Institutional Equity to discuss the Mediation Program no later than five working days following the completion of the Employee Relations Assistance process. Both parties must agree to mediation before the process can begin. If informal mediation does not resolve the conflict, the employee retains the option of filing a formal grievance as detailed in Policy 4.32 if the conflict meets the definition of a grievance.

3. The Director Institutional Equity will arrange for the mediation and notify the disputants of the arrangements within five working days following the request.

4. If a dispute is not resolved through mediation, the employee may follow the Grievance Process if applicable.

B. Mediation for Claims of Discrimination or Harassment

1. Employees may participate in the mediation process in situations regarding alleged discrimination or harassment after filing a Waiver of Complaint as described in Policy 4.60.

2. Prior to mediation, an initial meeting will be held with the Director Institutional Equity. At the meeting the allegations will be discussed, College policy regarding discrimination and harassment will be reviewed, the meaning of a Waiver of Complaint will be defined, and the option to mediate the alleged harassment will be explored.

3. Requests to mediate allegations of discrimination or harassment (other than mediation through the EEOC Referral Back Mediation Program), should be submitted to the Director Institutional Equity within five working days following the initial meeting to discuss the allegations. The Director Institutional Equity will arrange for the mediation and notify the disputants of the arrangements within five working days following receipt of the request.

4. Employees who choose to mediate allegations of discrimination or harassment may return to the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure contained in Policy 4.60 at any time during or after mediation if their concerns have not been addressed.

C. Disputes Between Students and Employees and Between Employees

1. Disputes between students and employees and between employees may be mediated upon request by the disputing parties.

2. Employees may request mediation after their department administrator or the employee's immediate administrator has been notified of the issues to be resolved. Employees are encouraged to seek mediation before other formal College policies or procedures have been initiated.

3. Employee requests for mediation should be in writing within five working days following notification of the department administrator or immediate administrator. A statement of the issues to be resolved should be attached to the request. Employee requests for mediation and supporting documents should be submitted to the Director Institutional Equity.

4. Requests to mediate disputes between students and employees may be submitted to the Director Institutional Equity.

5. The Director Institutional Equity will arrange for the mediation and notify the disputant of the arrangements within five working days following the request.

6. If the matter in question is not resolved through mediation, the employee or student may continue to address their concerns through the appropriate College procedure.

D. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Referral Back Mediation Program

1. Charges of discrimination filed by College employees with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may be referred back to the College in an attempt to resolve the charge.

2. Both the employee filing the charge and the College may opt out of a particular mediation. Mediation is completely voluntary on both the part of the College and the employee.

3. If either the employee or the College decides not to participate in the mediation, the decision will not affect further processing of the charge(s) by the EEOC. If either party chooses not to participate in mediation, the charge will be processed by the EEOC under its normal charge processing procedures.

4. Mediation of EEOC charges of discrimination will be coordinated by the Director Institutional Equity. The Director Institutional Equity will arrange for the mediation and notify the disputant of the arrangements within five working days following the referral back from the EEOC.

5. If the charge is not resolved through mediation, it will be referred back to the EEOC for processing.

6. If a charge is settled through mediation, the settlement agreement will be placed in writing and will be enforceable in court.

IV. Administrative Procedures

A. Mediation Program Process

1. Once a request for mediation is made, the Director Institutional Equity will meet with the disputants within five working days to discuss the mediation process and to identify potential mediators. The disputants will be encouraged to mutually agree on the mediator selected.

2. The Director Institutional Equity will retain the mediator within two working days after the disputants have made their selection. The selected mediator will be given fifteen working days to conduct the mediation and report the results to the Director Institutional Equity. The fifteen-day period may be extended for extenuating circumstances.

3. If a settlement is reached, the mediator will provide copies of the “Agreement to Mediate” form, the “Confidentiality Agreement” and the “Settlement Agreement” to the Director Institutional Equity within two working days.

4. If a settlement is reached, the dispute will be considered resolved.

5. The Director Institutional Equity will notify the Associate Vice President of Human Resources of the outcome of the mediation.

6. If no settlement is reached, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources will notify the disputants of their options.

B. Mediation Program Administration

1. The Mediation Program will be developed, implemented, and monitored by the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, the Director Institutional Equity, and the Associate Vice President for Student Services.

2. The Director Institutional Equity and the Associate Vice President for Student Services will coordinate training and maintain a list of student and employee mediators for the Mediation Program.

3. In conjunction with the Associate Vice President for Student Services, the Director Institutional Equity will develop and implement a monitoring system to evaluate the Mediation Program.

4. The Director Institutional Equity will submit a semiannual review of the Mediation Program to the Executive Vice President.

Changes approved by Cabinet on November 1, 2004; March 3, 2008