Alternative Dispute Resolution Program

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health’s (VOSH) ADR Program can assist complainants and respondents to resolve their whistleblower complaints in a cooperative and voluntary manner. When ADR is successful, it can provide timely relief and finality to both parties when they are seeking an amiable resolution.

To learn more about the ADR program and whether it can work for you please view our frequently asked questions below or contact us directly.

FAQs

What is the ADR program?

ADR is a voluntary program that allows the parties to resolve a whistleblower retaliation complaint outside of the investigative process. The parties attempt to negotiate a settlement with the help of a confidential VOSH OWP mediator who is not involved in the investigation of the complaint.

What are the benefits of ADR?

ADR allows the parties to reach a certain and final resolution of the complaint on their own terms rather than through the whistleblower investigative process. Successful ADR processes avoid potentially time-consuming, resource-intensive investigations and appeals to achieve prompt resolution of complaints. ADR may also allow the parties to repair the relationship or part ways on a professional basis.

Is ADR Confidential?

Yes. Communications during ADR are kept confidential to the extent permitted by law, and are not disclosed to anyone without the mutual consent of the parties except that the confidential VOSH ADR Coordinator may share ADR communications with Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) officials when it is necessary for administrative and supervisory purposes, or to seek legal or policy guidance on novel or complex questions that arise during the ADR proceeding.

However, the confidential VOSH OWP facilitator will not share ADR communications with any DOLI official who will be involved in any further investigations or proceedings related to the whistleblower complaint if a settlement is not reached through ADR.

If the complaint is not resolved during ADR, the materials developed in ADR remain confidential and neither party may share any information disclosed by the other party during ADR with the assigned Investigator. The involved parties may share any of their own communications made during the ADR proceeding with the VOSH Investigator.  However, such communications will be subject to release to the other party, as the OWP investigation, with limited exceptions, in an open process between the parties.

All ADR case files are maintained electronically in a separate file system with access only available to the select DOLI personnel.

What happens to the investigation during ADR?

When a complaint is accepted into the ADR process, the investigation will be put on hold pending the outcome of the process.

Does attempting ADR delay the investigation?

Not necessarily. In most cases an investigation does not begin immediately whether or not the parties pursue ADR.

How do I sign up for ADR?

If you would like to pursue ADR, please complete the Request for ADR form and return to the assigned Investigator identified in the Notification letter within the time period referenced in the Notification letter to facilitate case processing.  Requests made after 10 days will still be processed for possible approval.

How much does ADR cost?

There is no charge to participate in VOSH OWP’s ADR Program.

What happens if I want to pursue ADR but the other party does not agree?

ADR is voluntary. All parties must agree to participate. If either party does not wish to participate, we will proceed with an investigation.

What happens if both parties ask for ADR?

If both parties request ADR, the ADR Coordinator will contact each party separately to establish initial expectations and answer questions and will provide them a letter acknowledging the acceptance into the ADR process.  The ADR Coordinator facilitates the ADR process through calls, email, conferences and mediation.

If the parties reach a settlement during the ADR process, the Coordinator will either draft or review a proposed settlement agreement following the procedures outlined in the Whistleblower Investigations Manual (WIM) available at the Virginia Townhall Website.

What is the function of the ADR Coordinator?

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator (ADRC) is a confidential intermediary, who is separate from the Whistleblower Protection investigative program. The ADRC is a Whistleblower Protection Programs subject matter expert with training, knowledge, skills and abilities in Whistleblower Protection and facilitating resolution of disputes.

What happens if ADR fails to produce an agreement?

If the parties fail to reach a settlement during ADR, the complaint will be referred back to the assigned Whistleblower Investigator for investigation. If the ADRC determines that the negotiations are unlikely to result in an agreement, they will notify the parties in advance of returning the complaint for investigation.

Is settlement possible outside ADR?

Yes. The parties may enter into a settlement agreement at any time during the course of the investigation, but before they are signed, settlements must be reviewed and approved by VOSH OWP in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Whistleblower Investigations Manual (WIM) available at the Virginia Townhall Website.

How can I learn more about VOSH’s ADR program?

Please contact the assigned Investigator identified in your Notification letter.

Can I designate a representative, such as an attorney, to sign up for me?

Yes. An attorney can sign for their clients to participate in the ADR process. Please have your representative request and complete a Designation of Representative form and submit it to the Investigator.

How do I prepare for ADR?
  • Review relevant documents.
  • Think about the basic things you need to benefit from this program.
  • Be prepared to be open to alternative ideas offered at the mediation.

Contact Us

Address

VOSH Office of Whistleblower Protection
Interstate Corporate Center, Building #6
6363 Center Drive, Suite 101
Norfolk, VA 23502

Phone Number

Office: (757) 455-0891 ext. 134
Fax: (804) 371-6524

Email Address


You may pay for your inspection certificate invoice online. Accepted methods of payment include:

  • Check
  • Credit Card
  • Electronic Check (E-Check)
  • Electronic Transfer (EDI)
  • Money Order
  • Cash IS NOT accepted

If you wish to pay by credit card or e-check, you will need certain information from your invoice, including invoice number and the Virginia number (VA number) of one of the objects. The VA number can be found on the table that appears on the invoice. You will only need to provide one VA number, even if your invoice lists several object numbers.

For all other methods of payment, please follow the instructions on the invoice and the remittance form you received.

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