Methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) -- primarily arbitration and mediation -- are gaining widespread use in various areas affecting our everyday life ranging from the workplace and family life, to consumer shopping and more. Much of this can be attributed to the increase use of arbitration agreements in both employment contracts and consumer agreements. FindLaw's ADR Resources section contains information and links to various helpful articles and sites relating to alternative dispute resolution. Please select one of the links below to get started.
FindLaw ADR Resources
There are a number of resources that can be quite useful for someone entering into arbitration or mediation. These materials can help frame problems and answer questions throughout the ADR process. Included within the materials are links to important organizations such as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which provides an overview of the use of ADR by federal agencies. Other materials include documents that help you determine whether a lawsuit is a better option to resolve your problems and to determine whether it is necessary to retain an attorney to assist in mediation.
Other linked articles review the basics of small claims mediation, important points of consideration relating to employment arbitration agreements, and an overview of divorce mediations. A guide to small business mediation reviews the circumstances in which small businesses may benefit from mediation rather than lawsuits, and an article on child custody mediation answers the most common questions that arise in this contentious context. Links to articles in other section help provide context and review legal options outside of the ADR system.
Finally, links to external sources provide some useful information. The American Arbitration Association provides Mediator Standards of Conduct, Arbitrator Code of Ethics in Commercial Dispute, and other important documents that establish the guiding principles and policies relating to arbitration. The organization also provides resources to help prepare before filing for arbitration that can be helpful for those unfamiliar with the process.
Federal Sector Alternative Dispute Resolution
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides information and resources relating to Alternative Dispute Resolution. The 1990 Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (ADRA) required federal agencies to adopt policies on ADR use. This law was reenacted as the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 (ADR Act) and in 2000 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) required all federal agencies to establish or make available ADR programs during the pre-complaint and formal stages of the EEO process. The EEOC's regulations also require agencies to make reasonable efforts to voluntarily settle EEO discrimination complaints as early as possible in the administrative process.
Our links will take you to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website where these documents and many others are presented to help give a big picture of ADR in the federal context. In addition to guiding documents the organization provides its definition of alternative dispute resolution, their reasons for feeling that ADR is beneficial, and an overview of how ADR works under the revised regulations. In addition to the basic information necessary to understand EDR there are links to many federal government programs and private organizations and their own resources to assist those pursuing alternative dispute resolution.