Over the last twenty five years Mark has learned the typical elements of workplace disputes. Issues to be resolved have included terminations and suspensions; working conditions (especially for handicapped workers); actual and/or perceived discrimination based on race/national origin, age, gender and sexual orientation; bullying on the job; sexual harassment/hostile work environment; respect and even simple misunderstandings among employees and/or managers.
All of these experiences have also allowed Mark to handle non-discrimination workplace cases for local governments, non-profits and companies. His conflict resolution success in Workplace and EEO (Discrimination Claim) cases is quite high. Over the last fifteen years, workplace and employer-employee mediation has been a real success story.
Mark was originally accepted into the newly-formed U.S. Postal Service group of about 25 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) mediators from the Colorado-Wyoming/District in May 1998, receiving training in that agency’s chosen mediation model. The model is known nationally as REDRESS. Almost immediately, he began mediating cases in which Postal Service employees (known as “counselees”) had filed claims of discrimination against U.S.P.S. management. In May 2002, he was one of four District mediators invited to participate in a select group of REDRESS mediators to receive training in Las Vegas, Nevada for the REDRESS II Blue Ribbon program. He then began to mediate cases for this higher level mediation program, offering a second stage of mediation to employees in management as referred by Administrative Law Judges presiding over the now formal EEO cases. Mark’s involvement with REDRESS continues to this day, although the number of cases offered to REDRESS mediators has dwindled significantly in recent years.
All REDRESS cases are typically high conflict, with counselees often represented by union officials (union grievances being typically filed in parallel with EEO complaints about the same alleged infractions by management). This being the case, Mark’s 50% settlement rate for his basic REDRESS cases can be considered quite good. The REDRESS II program was discontinued after about one year because of very low settlement rates. Mark’s settlement rate of 33% for his dozen cases was high for this elite program.
Given his more extensive mediation experience and unique knowledge and experience with multi-party facilitation and mediation, Mark was singled out by the U.S.P.S. for some specialized cases. One of these cases involved the mediation of an entire small-town post office (selected for this process because of its unusually high number of EEO filings and historical dysfunction). He and two Postal Service District managers were flown to the site where he presided over a two-day process involving representatives from management, clerks, mail carriers, maintenance workers and drivers. Since each of the four categories of workers is represented by a separate union, several union officers were in attendance. The end result of this group process was a formal action plan agreed to by the entire group. This plan was intended to allow the post office in question to improve the work environment and allow the post office to function in a more effective manner.
During this 15-year period, Mark has used his experience with the REDRESS program to handle similar EEO cases for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Social Security Administration. These cases have involved both one-on-one management/employee disputes and mediation of entire work groups.