Mediation and Arbitration Project

With the increase in new complaints filed and our limited resources and budget, the Commission needed to look at new and innovative ways of improving our case processing system. One suggestion that came from the 1992 Iowa Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Seminar was to ask attorneys and other interested individuals to assist with mediation or arbitration of Commission cases. This would serve as an alternative to waiting for a full investigation.

Committees were set up to form a foundation for the mediation and arbitration pr-ograms. The committees worked on written guidelines, principles, procedures, statutory and rule changes, computerized forms and letters, an administrative structure , and a costs/benefits analysis. Volunteers were recruited, and the first training conference was held on June 18, 1993.

A second training conference was held on June 10, 1994. Attorneys who participated in the program shared their methods, successes and problems during a panel discussion. Mike Thompson, executive director of Iowa Mediation Services, Inc., spent the rest of the day training on mediation as a process and on specific techniques. The Iowa Supreme Court granted CLE credits for both training sessions, and video tapes of the sessions are available to interested individuals.

Since July 1, 1993, there have been over 200 cases assigned to the volunteer attorneys for mediation. The first settlement was received on August 17, 1993, and since then, 26 cases have been settled. The settlements have ranged from relatively small amounts to $35,000. There have been 71 cases that were not able to be resolved, three rights-to-sue have been issued, and there have been two withdrawals.

Each attorney handles one to ten cases per year. Assignments are rotated, and the geographical location of the parties and the attorneys are taken into consideration. Some attorneys have volunteered to travel for expenses only.

1994 Annual Report Main Page