April 28, 2009

NIH Ombuds Addresses the Complexities of Race-Related Conflict

Drawing on his decade of experience as the Ombuds for the National Institutes of Health, Howard Gadlin writes about how mediation can address race-related workplace conflicts in this month's Dispute Resolution Magazine. Gadlin offers two related ways EEO mediation can respond to the complexities of racial discrimination complaints: (1) as a conflict resolution process by which race-related conflicts and individual complaints of discrimination can be voiced and settled; and (2) as a process suited to exposing the dynamics (including the power dynamics) of interracial tensions and conflicts and creating a basis for improving the work relationship between disputing parties of different races. Nonetheless, he is concerned that EEO ADR processes have failed to improve the racial climate of feral agencies. Gadlin therefore believes that, “we must find some way to transform the structure and process whereby EEO cases in the federal government are brought to mediation.” (Dispute Resolution Magazine.)

Related post: Perspective on Ethical Standards for Federal Mediators and Ombuds.

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