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Procedures, Dispute Resolution Process


The first step: Counseling

The first step in the dispute resolution process is to file a formal request for counseling with the Office of Compliance. A request for counseling must be made within 180 days after the date of the alleged violation. The counseling period normally lasts for 30 days.

During the counseling period, an Office of Compliance counselor will discuss your concerns with you and inform you of your rights under the law. The counselor does not serve as your representative or advocate, only as an advisor to help you understand how the law works and clarify facts and issues. You may retain your own representation at any time during the process.

The Executive Director of the Office of Compliance has authority to recommend that employees of the Architect of the Capitol and U.S. Capitol Police use their office’s own internal grievance process before first utilizing the CAA’s ADR procedures. The use of these internal grievance procedures will not count against the time limits available for counseling and mediation with the Office of Compliance.

The second step: Mediation

If you choose to continue with your claim after counseling, the next step is to request mediation with the Office of Compliance. Mediation must be requested in writing within 15 days of receiving written notification of the completion of the counseling period, and lasts for 30 days unless both parties request an extension of time.

During mediation, the Office of Compliance appoints one or more neutral mediators – professionals at dispute resolution – who will meet with the parties to the dispute to seek a solution to the problem that is acceptable to both parties. The goal of mediation is a voluntary resolution acceptable to all; the mediator cannot impose a resolution.

The third step: Administrative Hearing or Civil Action

If mediation fails to resolve your complaint, you may either proceed with an administrative hearing or file suit in Federal district court. Either course of action must be followed within 90 days (but no sooner than 30 days) of the time that you receive written notice that mediation has ended.

Civil Action: Employees who work on Capitol Hill who chose to file a civil suit after mediation must do so with the US District Court for the District of Columbia. If you work outside of the District of Columbia, you may choose to file suit in the US district court where you work. A civil suit and any appeals will proceed under the normal rules that apply to actions in Federal court.

Administrative Hearing: If you choose to pursue an administrative hearing after mediation, you must file a complaint with the Office of Compliance in writing. A copy of your complaint will be served on your employing office, which has 15 days to respond.

A formal hearing on your complaint normally begins within 60 days after the filing. Hearings are confidential and are conducted in a closed session. An independent Hearing Officer is assigned to conduct the hearing to determine the facts and may issue subpoenas and require information from the parties involved. The Hearing Officer will issue a written decision no later than 90 days after the hearing’s conclusion.

The fourth step: Review by the Board of the Office of Compliance

If you or your employer is dissatisfied with the final decision of the Hearing Officer, a request may be made to have the Hearing Officer’s decision reviewed by the five member Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance. A request for review by the Board must be made within 30 days of the Hearing Officer’s decision. After review, the Board will issue a written decision on the case along with its reasoning for the decision.

If you or your employer are dissatisfied with the outcome, decisions by the Board of Directors may be appealed to the US Court of Appeals for further review.


Questions or comments regarding this service? Contact wwwadmin@compliance.gov.

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