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EEOC Issues Report on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the Federal Sector: What You Need to Know


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently released a report on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practices in the federal sector. The report, which sampled 24 federal agencies, provides comprehensive information and data on the effectiveness of federal ADR programs and their practices in fiscal year (FY) 2019. The report highlights areas for ADR programs to continue improving their operations.

One of the main findings from the report is that approximately 40% of agencies’ ADR policies were incomplete in FY 2019. Failing to state the timeline involved in the ADR process was the most common policy deficiency discovered during a review of agencies’ policies. Another significant finding is that ADR is generally not offered in sexual harassment complaints by 60% of agencies, and roughly 80% of agencies did not offer ADR for other reasons, such as complaints regarding selections, criminal history, and medical and security clearance issues.

The report also revealed that during the formal complaint phase, the average offer to participate in ADR at large agencies was more than double the offer rate at small and midsize agencies. The settlement rate during the formal complaint phase was more than double the rate during the informal counseling phase, suggesting that agencies were more willing to negotiate when an employee files a formal complaint.

One positive finding is that the vast majority of agencies surveyed (95%) stated that they ensured that the settlement authority was available during active ADR sessions. However, a majority of agencies did not routinely provide annual, agency-wide ADR training, and approximately 70% of agencies did not provide annual ADR training to agency leaders.

The report provides valuable information and data for federal agencies and employees to better understand ADR practices in the federal sector.

The EEOC will continue to advance opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC and its efforts to prevent employment discrimination is available at

Seeking Help

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