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Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Responsible Office: Human Resources, Division of Administration
  • Current Approved Version: 01/13/2020
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose

Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to developing and promoting the use of stakeholder collaboration and alternative dispute resolution processes as appropriate. Through these alternative processes, university decision-makers and affected parties may reach mutually beneficial results without incurring the high cost of adversarial proceedings.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question or participates in an investigation.

Who Should Know This Policy

All employees are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

This course of action provides alternatives to traditional processes for complaint resolution and includes such processes as conciliation, mediation, ombudsperson activities, facilitated conversations, conflict coaching, and negotiation.

Neutral Third Party 

A neutral third party is an individual who is trained or experienced in conducting dispute resolution proceedings and in providing dispute resolution services.  This person, such as the VCU Ombudsperson or a trained mediator, conciliator, or facilitator, has no stake in the dispute other than to assist the parties in reaching an agreement or resolution.


VCU Human Resources officially interprets this policy and is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to VCU Human Resources, Employee Relations Office.

Policy Specifics and Procedures

Alternate Dispute Methods

1.  Alternate Dispute Methods:  All departments are encouraged to include the collaborative practices and ADR techniques available at the university in developing and implementing their internal policies and procedures to resolve disputes in the workplace. Both internal and external resources for trained ADR are available to all employees. Employees with workplace concerns are encouraged to contact the HR Employee Relations Office, which can provide information to employees about a neutral third party such as the VCU Ombudsperson or a trained university mediator for confidential assistance.

2. Qualifications of a Neutral Third Party: The neutral third party must be certified as a mediator, or have received training and/or have extensive experience in conducting dispute resolution proceedings and in providing dispute resolution services.

3.  Role of VCU Human Resources Employee Relations:  VCU Human Resources Employee Relations oversees and coordinates the alternative dispute resolution process for employees by ensuring that the resources involved in implementing this policy are provided, as necessary, and for ensuring that the University uses appropriately trained neutrals.  VCU Human Resources Employee Relations offers and coordinates training opportunities related to mediation, facilitation techniques, and conflict coaching tools for neutral third parties. 

Departments may contact VCU Human Resources Employee Relations Office for assistance in developing ADR processes or securing ADR resources.


There are no forms associated with this policy and procedures.

Related Document

1.  VCU Policy: Working @ VCU: “Great Place” HR Policies

2.  DHRM Employee Grievance Procedure

3.  Virginia Administrative Dispute Resolution Act

4.  VCU Policy: Faculty Mediation and Grievance


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Approval/Revision DateTitle
January 16, 2009  Administrative Dispute Resolution
August 21, 2012  Administrative Dispute Resolution
August 6, 2015  Alternative Dispute Resolution


There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.