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News > Dispute resolution program fosters ‘shared backyard’
Dispute resolution program fosters ‘shared backyard’

Posted 4/13/2011   Updated 4/13/2011 Email story   Print story


by Andrew Davis
375 Air Mobility Wing/Public Affairs

4/13/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Building, maintaining and nurturing relationships with co-workers, supervisors and other members of your work center is key to making the mission a success.

But when those relationships break down, the 375th Equal Opportunity Office is there to lend a hand.

Known by few, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, operated by the 375th EO, is open to all Team Scott members including Department of Defense contractors.

"The Alternative Dispute Resolution program has been around for awhile," said Darvin Bennett, 375th EO Office. "We really are trying to get this out to the base populace; it has proven over time to be an effective means to solve workplace conflicts.

"Whether it's a co-worker to co-worker issue or an issue with a supervisor, or even contract employees, the program is there to help build better working relationships between the people involved," he said.

"When a case is closed and no formal complaint is filed we save the Air Force over $98,000 in processing fees without a Judge's decision.

"You can play in your backyard, they can play in their backyard and eventually you can take down that fence and have one shared backyard and that's key to us--you don't have to put up a fence when you can have a shared backyard," Mr. Bennett said. "The ADR process is available to help facilitate that shared backyard."

Mr. Bennett said ADR is not simply a complaint to EO.

"We offer a streamlined administrative ADR process with trained mediators/facilitators to assist the parties in resolving their concerns at the lowest possible level. (The mediator) just so happens to work in EO. It does not make it an EO issue because an EO person is the mediator/facilitator."

The confidential session is blocked off for an agreed upon time, date and location for the members to discuss the issues or concerns at hand.

"Our job is to ensure that the discussion is facilitated in a way that builds relationships on the job and carry over after the job," said Mr. Bennett. "I have found if you want to know the truth and really help a person in a particular situation, you need to understand their socialization factors.

"Many people think it's all about communication, but I have found it really is about socialization, getting to know where a person comes from and how they view the world is the key to working out any problem," he added.

Great success in relationships and saving the Air Force money has been achieved through the program.

"Right now we are at 100 percent satisfaction, 100 percent resolution with zero breaches or EO cases filed for those who chose to participate in a session," he said.

For more information, visit the 375th EO office in the basement of Bldg. P-3, or call 256-3770.

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