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NEWS | Oct. 12, 2017

Equal opportunity office campaigns for ADR

By Senior Airman Christian Sullivan Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston’s equal opportunity office is running a campaign to heighten awareness of their alternative dispute resolution program during the month of October, 2017.


The ADR provides people an alternative route when faced with workplace problems and disputes.


“Alternative dispute resolution is an informal tool available to employees, military or civilian to resolve disputes they may have,” said Toby Housey, Equal Opportunity director. “It’s not a new program. However the program isn’t always properly marketed.”


The EO office is campaigning to focus more attention to the various available options.


“We’re doing this marketing campaign to bring more situational awareness to the program for the population here,” said Housey. “So they know if they’re having a dispute they have another venue to get resolution.”


The resolution program requires the two differing parties to meet with a neutral party to mediate the dispute. The parties talk out their problems while coming to an agreement or compromise.


“ADR encompasses several tools here at Joint Base Charleston,” said Housey. “One we use is mediation, which is a very structured controlled process where parties go through a series of phases and the intent is to get resolution. When the ADR process is approved by the legal office we contact the workplace of the party and find out if it’s a venue they’d like to use. If they say yes we reach out to the other party and find a neutral party to mediate and they come to EO to talk about the issue and hopefully resolve the conflict.”


When both parties are provided with the options, Housey finds the majority of the time just talking about the issues seems to resolve most of the problems.


“This process provides them with an informal safe haven to try and resolve a conflict,” said Housey. “We have a pretty high success rate here. The intent, other than creating a healthier workplace, is getting ahead of a problem and possibly saving the military a lot of money by refraining from going through a legal process.”


Overall, the EO tries to do what every other agency and office tries to do, keep the Air Force running in the most efficient way possible by keeping morale high and the mission ongoing.


“The goal is for people to be able to focus on the mission and not the distractions,” said Housey. “It’s the worst thing to be in an organization and feel like you have a dispute and there’s no option of resolution.”