Date of Current Revision: November 2011
Responsible Officer: Director of Human Resources
While James Madison University has established procedures for the resolution of grievances, the university also has alternative dispute resolution processes. Employee Mediation Services, a mediation program for university employees, provides a more collegial, less adversarial, and thus a more satisfying means to resolve conflicts.
The Board of Visitors has the authority to make policy concerning the effective management of employee relations. Where the board has not enacted specific policy, the authority is delegated to the President.
A process by which participants, with the assistance of trained mediators, identify disputed issues, share perspectives, develop options, consider possible solutions, and seek to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. Participants in mediation make informed and deliberate decisions to resolve past problems and discuss future relationships directly and confidentially.
Qualified University Mediator
A member of the JMU mediator pool who has satisfactorily completed mediation training offered by JMU. The mediator is an impartial third party who assists participants in reaching mutually acceptable solutions to their disputed issues. The mediator does not have the authority to overturn disciplinary notices, decide the outcome, nor impose a resolution.
An individual employed by JMU.
The individual responsible for implementing, coordinating, and supervising all facets of the mediation and grievance programs administered by JMU Human Resources.
Mediation of a dispute, primarily between two employees who may be co-workers or in a reporting relationship.
Mediation of a dispute among several employees in a work unit such as a team, office or department.
This policy is applicable to all employees of the university.
It is the policy of JMU to resolve work place disputes through non-adversarial means such as mediation whenever possible. Participation in mediation will be voluntary. A request for mediation may be made by an employee, a supervisor or a member of management as a means to resolve workplace disputes.
Every effort should be made by the mediation coordinator and participants to achieve a mediation schedule that does not hinder university operations. Supervisors are required to allow employees to participate in the mediation process unless participation would significantly hinder university operations.
6.1 Mediation Preparation
6.3 The Agreement
6. 4 Confidentiality
The goal of mediation is to empower participants to share information openly and honestly without fear of embarrassment or retaliation. Participant assurance from management that no retaliation will result from engaging in mediation is critical to the process. What is said in mediation must not be used in any way against the participants before, during, or after the mediation.
At the beginning of the mediation, participants commit to keeping the contents of the mediation session confidential. Mediators and participants must treat as confidential all writings and all communications made before, during, or in connection with the mediation at all times.
The scope of the confidentiality should be discussed before the commitment is made. Disclosing the fact that mediation took place is not a breach of confidentiality.
Exceptions to confidentiality include:
The mediator(s) may not be called upon, at any time, by the participants of mediation as a witness in any administrative or legal proceeding, except regarding the occurrence of the mediation, evidence of verbal or physical abuse or threats of bodily harm to self or others, evidence of violation of university policy or criminal activity, or evidence of sexual harassment.
The Director of Human Resources is responsible for the consistent application of this policy.
The Director of Human Resources, as well as senior vice presidents, deans, directors, and department heads, are to ensure that employees are informed of this policy. Questions related to the application of this policy should be directed to the mediation coordinator in Human Resources or an HR Representative.
In addition, directors are responsible for their department's prompt, effective adherence to this policy.
Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.
Mediation is not available to resolve incidents involving allegations of university policy violations, criminal violations or legal violations.
This policy does not apply to students or to student workers. Student workers and their supervisors should bring disputes to the attention of the Student Work Experience Center.
The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President, and is generally delegated to the Director of Human Resources.
Previous version: February, 2010
Approved by the President: June, 2008
Alternative Dispute Resolution