SEMBACH, Germany (Sept. 13, 2023) – Employees from across Installation Management Command Europe and its partner organizations gathered at the end of August in Sembach to learn the ins and outs of mediation and its function in alternative dispute resolution. The course, instructed by leaders from the U.S. Army Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and the Civilian Human Resources Agency, provided instruction on the pillars of mediation, facilitative mediation techniques and practice for the 19 participants.
The Army is committed to resolving workplace disputes at the lowest level, said Mark Toole, ADR Program manager, Office of the Army General Counsel, and the ADR Program is designed to promote the achievement of that goal.
“Individuals who complete the ADR Program’s 40-hour Basic Mediation Course are committed to helping when disputes in the workplace arise,” Toole said. “We’re excited to be able to present this course in Germany. Those completing the course will take the knowledge, skills and techniques they’ve acquired to facilitate mediations to help parties in dispute achieve resolution.”
In addition to offering their mediation services to organizations Army-wide through the ADR Program, the class participants will also conduct mediations for the IMCOM-Europe Equal Employment Opportunity Program. With the addition of this class of mediators, approximately 25 mediators are available across IMCOM-Europe to help resolve disputes.
“Mediation gives us an opportunity to get the parties together at the lowest level, and then try to resolve whatever the issue was that’s been brought to the table,” said Rex Thomas, IMCOM-Europe EEO manager. The process can be an expedient way to resolve issues, rebuild trust between parties and restore a productive workplace.
Liz Lambert, IMCOM-Europe deputy Secretary of the General Staff, took the mediation course to add to her professional skill set and to her role as a collateral duty EEO counselor.
“I think mediation is a really good tool for resolving workplace disputes,” Lambert said, adding that it’s also a good skill for supervisors. “It’s rewarding. Even if it’s nothing formal, like an EEO complaint, you can still use it when overseeing people.”
To learn more about the Army’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, visit https://ogc.altess.army.mil/Practice_Groups/ADR.aspx.