Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Monday, October 17, 2011

esolving Disputes the NRC Way

Resolving Disputes the NRC Way

by Moderator
Did you know that you may have consented to arbitrate a dispute -- if one comes up -- when you agreed to the terms for a credit card?
One of the main reasons companies have turned to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), is that it provides an alternative to more costly and time-consuming court hearings and litigation. And, because it is a less complex process, it is generally viewed as beneficial to both parties. Other advantages of using ADR include that practical solutions can be tailored to the parties’ interests and needs, that agreements are durable, that some level of confidentiality is assured, and finally, that relationships can be preserved.
The NRC’s Office of Enforcement (OE) has an ADR Program. The ADR Program is made up of two different sub-programs: “Early ADR” and “Post-Investigation ADR.”
Early ADR is an informal and voluntary process between an individual and his or her employer (or former employer) in which a trained mediator works with the parties to help them settle their dispute. Early resolution of discrimination allegations tends to preserve relationships and generally promotes a safety conscious work environment by facilitating timely and amicable resolution of discrimination concerns without resorting to prolonged litigation and unnecessary expenses.
Post-Investigation ADR may produce more timely and effective outcomes for the NRC and an entity, such as an NRC licensee, certificate holder, or contractor of an NRC licensee or certificate holder).
Participation in either early or post-investigation ADR is voluntary. The parties involved may withdraw from the mediation process at any time. If mediation is unsuccessful in the case of early ADR, OE may initiate an investigation into the allegation of discrimination; while, in the case of post-investigation ADR, OE may proceed with an enforcement action.
Because ADR is regularly used in the NRC’s enforcement program, the NRC is holding a public meeting on November 8, to solicit stakeholder input to ensure that the program provides timely and economical resolution of issues while achieving more effective outcomes and improved relations.
We welcome your attendance at this meeting or in providing comments to some of the issues that will be discussed at this meeting. Information on how to do either is in this Federal Register notice . We look forward to meeting you or, if you are unable to attend, hearing from you.
Maria Schwartz
Office of Enforcement

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