MAP is confidential and voluntary. In order to participate in MAP, both parties must agree. Parties can agree to participate in MAP at any time before the formal adjudication of the appeal, and the parties do not sacrifice any of their rights to a hearing in front of the Board if they elect to participate.
If participation in MAP is successful and a settlement agreement has been reached, the mediator will refer the case back to the administrative judge as a settled appeal. Then, the settlement agreement will be acknowledged, and no hearing will occur.
However, the parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement, the mediator will refer the case back to the administrative judge who will then resume processing of the case, leading to a hearing.
During the mediation, the mediator remains neutral and acts as a go-between for the parties with the goal of helping parties resolve their dispute.
The process is entirely confidential, and the mediator is not allowed to tell the administrative judge anything about the mediation process and what may have been said by the parties. The only thing the mediator tells the administrative judge is whether or not the case settled.
Mediation can be a cost effective alternative to litigation, especially if it is successfully completed early in the process. However, it is important for employees to remember that mediator is a neutral party.
The mediator does not represent either party and has no duty to help either party convey its position. As the Agency will certainly be represented by legal counsel during a mediation, having a representative can help to put an employee on a more even playing field.
If you are considering participating in MAP, the federal employee attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. may be able to assist you, and help you to reach the best possible outcome in your case. Call or message us today using the form below to discuss your claim and learn how we can assist you.