1.0 PURPOSE AND SCOPE
This document defines the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Process which is established to investigate and seek full, fair, and final resolution of significant employee concerns that involve issues of health, safety, or environmental protection, as well as employee concerns including, but not necessarily limited to, alleged harassment or retaliation; and to provide advice or to assist in early identification or other review of such concerns, their causes, or related trends.
This ADR Process applies to issues raised by employees performing work for Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) and is intended for application of an alternative mediation approach in accordance with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) policies and directives. ADR resolution represents a variety of approaches used to resolve disputes through a neutral third party as a final attempt to avoid litigation.
Within the ADR Process scope are significant employee concerns that raise complex or controversial technical issues in areas that are alleged to have the potential to cause injury or illness to workers or to have onsite or offsite impact; or that are alleged to violate safety, health, or environmental requirements or practices at the site; or that allege inappropriate management response to such issues, such as harassment or retaliation; and that appear to be difficult to resolve through other avenues.
The ADR Process recognizes that employee concerns should, wherever possible, be resolved in the workplace and, where appropriate, will provide the parties to any dispute the necessary assistance to return the issue to the workplace for continued resolution.
ADR Process scope does not include concerns that:
- Involve personnel management issues such as compensation, job assignment, job grade, or appraisal ratings unless they arise from complex or controversial
technical issues or from management reactions when such concerns are raised
- Require access to classified information
- Allege fraud, waste, or abuse and have been accepted for investigation
- Allege criminal misconduct
- Involve matters currently in litigation, unless with the concurrence of the parties
- Involve issues being worked under the Employee Concerns Program (ECP) process, as
documented in DOE-0400
- Involve issues that relate to a potential safety hazard that is identified and is being worked
under the stop work policy (see DOE-0343)
In addition, the ADR Process will not interfere with or intrude upon established collective bargaining rights and relationships and has no jurisdiction over matters involving the proper interpretation of collective bargaining agreements.
WRPS processes excluded from the ADR process are:
- Issues governed by direction from DOE or other regulatory agencies
- Issues covered by grievance procedures and collective bargaining agreements
- Issues governed by law or regulation, e.g., Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
- Issues and allegations of wrongdoing that are more appropriately addressed by the Inspector General, General Accounting office, state authorities, or local authorities
Confidentiality is provided during this process. The employee’s name and other case sensitive details will not be released in the process of resolving issues. However, WRPS may have a duty to act if it is determined that there is an imminent risk to safety, health, security, or environment, or to DOE programs or missions. WRPS policy forbids retaliation or reprisal.
As set forth in rules for mediation, any matters, documents, or information acquired during, prepared for, or generated during the mediation process may not be sought for use in any subsequent litigation if the matter is not resolved. All parties engaged in the ADR Process further agree not to subpoena or compel another party to testify regarding any portion of the mediation proceedings or any of the ADR Process work on a dispute. Participants in an ADR Process case shall not discuss, disclose, or use in any other forum information they acquire as a result of ADR Process actions, except as required by law or a court of competent authority.
2.0 PROCESS STEPS
2.1 Alternative Dispute Resolution
Whenever an agreement cannot be reached on an appropriate resolution of a workplace issue, the parties involved may elevate the issue to higher levels of management or one of the available alternative avenues for resolution, i.e., WRPS ECP.
The ADR process will operate as an extension of the WRPS ECP, as well as the DOE ECP (DOE O 442.1A), providing an independent avenue for employee concerns and, when entered, providing employees with third party assistance in dispute resolution.
The ADR process provides a means to raise and to resolve issues that do not appear to be resolvable in other forums. ADR services will be provided on an as needed basis, by a professional service provider, functioning independently. Issues will be treated respectfully and with confidentiality to gain an expeditious resolution without fear of retaliation or loss of rights.
2.2 ADR Process Review
The ADR Process review provides a formal review of the issues by the ADR Facilitator. The resolution recommendation developed by the ADR Facilitator will be presented to the WRPS President for consideration and final acceptance.
2.3 Resolution Process
1. Contact the ADR Coordinator via an established mechanism:
- Telephone: 1-888-891-6149
- Electronic mail: https://wrpsadrprocess.com/make-a-submission
- Mail: WRPS ADR Coordinator, 2514 Red Arrow Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89135
2. Receives referrals or notice of concerns from other programs (e.g., WRPS ECP) as necessary.
3. Conducts employee intake. Employees bringing concerns to the ADR Process will be provided with information describing the ADR Process and their rights and obligations under the process.
NOTE: Upon receipt of a concern, ADR Coordinator performs initial case examination in order to determine whether or not the concern is within ADR jurisdiction and whether the ADR Process can be of assistance.
4. Informs the employee of confidentiality considerations and limitations.
5. Determines if normal processes have been attempted prior to processing the ADR for further review. Additional information may be available from these processes that may be relevant.
6. Reviews information for completeness and clarity of the issue and follows-up with the originator if further information or clarification is needed. Obtains employee’s concurrence on summary of the issue when possible.
7. Forwards intake information to ADR Facilitator for review.
8. Reviews intake information and follows up with concerned individual as required.
9. Requests input from WRPS subject matter experts (SMEs) as required. The ADR Facilitator may obtain internal (WRPS) and/or external expert resources such as SMEs appropriate for the specific nature of the case, and/or employee support resources as needed to appropriately conduct the investigation and achieve resolution.
The ADR Facilitator will make an initial and timely assessment of whether or not a matter is a significant employee concern within the ADR Process scope. The ADR Facilitator will evaluate the potential severity of the issue, make a preliminary determination and prepare a recommendation to most effectively and appropriately address it. The ADR Facilitator will provide the WRPS President the determination and associated recommendation.
The ADR Facilitator may or may not accept a case. The ADR Facilitator may refer employees with concerns to existing processes and provide guidance or resources (but not representation) to assist the employee in making effective use of those processes. When applicable, the ADR Facilitator will notify the employee of the intent to refer the concern.
The ADR Facilitator may request access to information and records needed to resolve concerns, as well as access to persons on-site who may have information or perspective to contribute. WRPS organizations shall provide the ADR Facilitator with required information and access to persons relevant to concerns being considered within the ADR Process to the extent permitted by legal, contractual or other requirements. WRPS will arrange for such access with due regard for privacy, confidentiality, and avoidance of disruption to workflow. Final determination rests with the WRPS President. Any information received or reviewed under the ADR Process will be used exclusively for resolution of concerns and will be safeguarded.
The WRPS ECP will assist the ADR Facilitator, to the extent legally permissible and within the constraints of their responsibilities, authorities, procedures, company policies and contract requirements, in obtaining information, support, and resources.
Subject Matter Experts
10. Provide support to the ADR Facilitator, in accordance with the confidentiality and discretion required.
11. Develops a recommendation agreeable to the concerned parties and documents the recommendation for review, final acceptance by concerned parties and subsequent implementation by the WRPS President.
12. Periodically, schedules a lessons learned briefing with the WRPS President to review the effectiveness of the case resolution process and issues of relevance to completed case work. The objective is to not only address individual employee concerns raised in the ADR Process, but also to drive improvement more broadly throughout WRPS’ organizational performance and culture.
Records generated as part of a specific ADR Process case shall be maintained as confidential.
- DOE O 226.1B, “Implementation of Department of Energy Oversight Policy.”
- DOE O 442.1A, “Department of Energy Employee Concerns Program.”
- DOE O 442.2, “Differing Professional Opinions for Technical Issues Involving Environmental, Safety, and Health Technical Concerns.”
- DOE-0343, “Stop Work.”
- DOE-0400, “Hanford Site-Wide Employee Concerns Program Procedure.”
- Revised Code of Washington (RCW), Title 7, Special Proceedings and Actions, Chapter 7.07, Uniform Mediation Act