Fully implemented nationally in 1999. The Minneapolis Area Office of the EEOC handles employment discrimination claims for Minnesota and both North and South Dakota. The staff there screen the claims and refer appropriate ones to its Minneapolis ADR Unit for early resolution. Mediations are free, voluntary, and confidential, and can be performed by a staff mediator, an outside mediator contracted to resolve the dispute, or one who is working pro bono. Mediation is generally offered pre-investigation and before the employer has to respond to the charge, but the parties can request mediation at any point during the agency process. If the EEOC finds probable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, it offers a conciliation process. In this process, the EEOC is no longer a neutral party, and takes and active role in crafting the resolution. To learn more about Equal Employment Opportunity Commission click here
An evaluative ADR process used by many courts to help sort out custody and parenting time issues in a "Social" ENE (SENE) or "Custody and Parenting Time" ENE (CPENE), or financial issues in a "Financial" ENE (FENE). Individual processes vary from county to county (check the various judicial district webpages linked off of www.mncourts.gov for practices in specific counties, or check with the court administrator), but they usually begin with an initial case management conference that involves all the parties, their attorneys, and a judicial officer. In this meeting, the officer discusses settlement opportunities and offers ADR processes as a solution. The ENE processes involve the parties (and their attorneys if they are represented) meeting with either one or two evaluator(s), who asks the parties to describe the situation. After spending some time considering what they have learned, they offer a recommendation of how to resolve the dispute, and facilitate a discussion between the parties to try and build agreement on their recommendation. This will generally be completed in either one or two sessions.
The process is confidential and voluntary, and must be completed within 60 days; either the parties reach an agreement, or the neutral informs the court that no agreement was reached. If the ENE is not successful, the judge will set a trial schedule for the case. The court provides a list of recommended evaluators, and fees are set on a sliding scale. Learn more about Family Court Early Neutral Evaluation
The most common form of ADR in family court, often the result of a judge's referral. In most cases, all parties and their attorneys are in the same room for the mediation, but this is not universal. In particular, cases involving domestic violence, if they are deemed appropriate for mediation (which is almost always not the case), are held in separate rooms. Also, it is not an uncommon occurrence for the parties to mediate without the presence of their lawyers. Like other mediation processes, family court mediation is voluntary and confidential, and it can be initiated before, during, or after a court case. Lean More about Family Mediation
Founded in 2008 and made permanent in 2011, and governed by an amended Rule 133.01 of the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure and the Special Rules of Practice for the Minnesota Court of Appeals Governing Family Law Matters. The court of appeals maintains a panel of family law appellate mediators. The parties first file a statement of the case with the court and pay filing fees, and then the Family Law Appellate Mediation Office (FLAMO) screens the appeals to determine their suitability for mediation. If mediation is appropriate, the court stays the processing of the appeal and requests the parties to file a mediator selection for and confidential information form, the latter of which allows parties to request to be exempted from mediation. The FLAMO sets the mediator's fee according to its fee schedule. The mediator conducts a pre-mediation conference call with the attorneys (or parties, if they are appearing pro se). The mediation must be completed within 70 days of this conference. This process was successful about half of the time through the end of 2010. Learn more
FMCS provides free mediation services in collective bargaining agreement disputes between employers and unions in non-airline, non-railway private sector fields (i.e., those governed by the Labor-Management Relations Act). FMCS also offers a variety other conflict resolution services, including guided negotiation, convening, facilitation, training, and aid in systems design to private sector industry, government agencies, and communities. The goal of FMCS is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Visit their website
FLRA is an independent federal agency that resolves workplace and labor-management disputes for non-postal federal employees under Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. FLRA has five primary statutory responsibilities, including processing unfair labor practice complaints and resolving impasses that arise during negotiations. Its Collaborative and ADR program provides a number of services, including facilitation to promote collaborative relationships between labor and management. The statute requires that collective bargaining agreements include processes by which to handle grievances, the last step of which is a binding arbitration. To learn more visit their website
Uses Rule 114-trained mediators from Community Mediation and Restorative Services and the Conflict Resolution Center to allow litigants to mediate their case on-site on the day of the hearing before appearing in front of the referee. Due to the sometimes highly contentious nature of these cases, trained volunteers work with the referee to screen cases to determine whether or not the use of ADR would be appropriate. The mediators are also specially trained to handle the unique issues present in Harassment Court cases. If agreement is reached, the mediator helps the parties draft an agreement on a court-provided form, which is then reviewed and approved by the referee. The process is voluntary and is offered free of charge. To learn more click here
The Human Rights Division is a part of St. Paul's Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) specifically tasked with enforcing the St. Paul Human Rights Ordinance. Upon receiving a charge of discrimination, the Human Rights Division sends a notice to the parties informing them of the PDSA option, which can be used at any time before a final determination is made. A new HREEO investigator (i.e., not the same one who is handling the charge) acts as the facilitator during the PDSA process, which attempts to avoid a discussion of the merits of the claim and instead focuses on determining the terms of a settlement. Similar to the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Mediation Program, a conciliation process is available if probable cause to believe that discrimination occurred is found, and if that conciliation process leads to impasse, the case proceeds to a commission hearing. To learn more click here
The Minnesota Attorney General's Office accepts complaints on many consumer matters, and also provides voluntary dispute resolution services to help consumers resolve these complaints against businesses. A consumer files a written complaint with the Attorney General's Office, and the parties have the opportunity to resolve the matter informally. If the parties are unsuccessful, the Attorney General assigns the complaint to an in-house mediator, who contacts the company on the consumer's behalf and works with the consumer and the company to resolve the dispute without proceeding to litigation. Teleconferencing and communication by mail is used in lieu of a face-to-face mediation. Go to Minnesota Attorney General’s Office's website
The mission of the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) is to promote stable and constructive labor-management relations and the use of alternative dispute resolution and collaborative process in areas other than labor-management.
The Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution (OCDR) within BMS is a unique statewide resource that helps resolve difficult public issues. This is done through individual projects and through training and capacity building so that all of Minnesota has access to new and innovative methods to work through today's challenging issues. To learn more, click here
Established in 2008, and revamped in 2009 to more closely resemble the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Early Mediation Program, though it is not limited to only employment claims (it also handles housing claims and other items included in the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance). MCDR investigators screen claims for their amenability to early mediation. If deemed appropriate, outside volunteer mediators are used to conduct the mediation in order to ensure confidentiality. As with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Early Mediation Program, there is also a conciliation process available if a charge leads to a finding of probable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred. If that process leads to impasse, the case proceeds to a commission hearing. Go to Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights' Website
Established in 2005. After the charge is filed, a response is given by the employer, and a rebuttal to the response is also provided, investigators screen the case to determine if mediation is viable, which the investigators find it is in about two-thirds of the cases. One or two volunteers from a roster of about 75 volunteer mediators conduct the mediation, which is free, voluntary, and confidential. As in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Early Mediation Program, there is the possibility of a conciliation process if the investigation results in a finding probable cause to believe discrimination occurred. Visit the MDHR Mediation Program
Established by the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act in 1986 in an attempt to facilitate discussions on credit problems between farmers and lenders. It is the state's version of the United States Department of Agriculture's Certified State Agricultural Mediation Program, which provides farmers and creditors the opportunity to renegotiate, restructure, or resolve farm debt. The Minnesota law requires that any creditor with a secured debt of over $5,000 against an agricultural property offer mediation before foreclosing or repossessing the property, cancelling a contract, or collecting a judgment. In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature renewed the programs and updated the mediation notice forms. The program is run by the University of Minnesota Extension Farmer-Lender Mediation Office, which uses a team consisting of mediators, financial analysts, and other professionals. To learn more about Farmer-Lender Mediation click here
Set up by the Minnesota Department of Education's Compliance and Assistance Division to resolve special education matters. MNSEMS provides conflict resolution assistance for students, schools, parents, and agencies, including mediation to handle specific issues, or facilitation of meetings to develop an individualized education program, individual family service plan, or individual interagency intervention program. Learn more at Minnesota Special Education Mediation Services (MNSEMS)
NMB is a national organization that mediates collective bargaining agreement disputes in the airline and railroad industries under the Railway Labor Act. NMB's ADR program also includes a number of other services, including training, facilitation, grievance mediation, facilitated problem solving, research, and online dispute resolution. These services are designed to help the parties resolve disputes effectively, and to reduce the number and scope of disputes that require mediation and/or arbitration services. Visit the National Mediation Board's website
Different from parenting time dispute resolution, this process can be used to deal with issues beyond parenting time. The consultant is a person agreed upon and contracted by the parties, and appointed by a stipulated court order, for the particular services the parties need. A parenting consultant typically handles parenting time scheduling, extracurricular activity planning (including payment), school choice, religious training, and other matters involving the parties' offspring. The parenting consultant cannot alter an existing custody arrangement or child support payment structure. However, the consultant often has the authority to make decisions when the parties cannot agree, though those decisions are appealable to the district court. The consultant also has the capability to meet with the child(ren) of the parties in the dispute. This process is generally NOT confidential, so parenting consultants generally can testify in court.
A form of mediation-arbitration authorized by Minnesota Statute section 518.1751, and can be used during a family law case, after one has been decided, or both. The neutral, referred to as an expeditor, has the ability to enforce, interpret, and clarify court orders, as well as decide what to do in circumstances not covered by an existing court order. The expeditor cannot, however, change the court order, nor can it resolve any issues other than parenting time. The process is confidential, and can be initiated either by the parties (if they agree to the appointment of an expeditor), or by the court, either at the behest of one of the parties, or on its own if it believes that there will be difficulties in negotiating parenting time. To view more information about Parenting Time Dispute Resolution click here
Headed by the Dispute Resolution Center, and uses Rule 114 qualified neutrals. Provides day-of-hearing mediation services to conciliation court litigants. Participation is voluntary. If agreement is made, the parties can write the agreement on forms provided by DRC, and then present it to the referee, who reviews and approves it. If no settlement is reached, the referee will hear the case on the same day. Learn more about the Ramsey County Conciliation Court Mediation Program
Founded in 2005, run by the Rice County Dispute Resolution Program. It's available to litigants on their conciliation court hearing date, and uses a trained neutral to conduct a conference in an arbitration-to-mediation format. Parties are allowed to make their case, including the presentation of third-party witnesses, to the neutral. This arbitration part of the case is informal, and does not strictly follow Uniform Arbitration Act rules. After hearing all the evidence, the neutral asks the parties if they want to try and resolve the dispute between themselves before the neutral issues a decision. If they agree to resolve it themselves, the neutral begins a mediation. As with the arbitration, traditional mediation rules are not strictly followed; for example, the neutral does not use caucus as a tool. If the mediation is successful, then the neutral helps the parties write up a mediation agreement on a provided form. If the mediation is not successful (or the parties choose not to have one in the first place), the neutral writes up a short decision based on the evidence he or she has heard. This decision becomes a court order, which is mailed to the parties along with information about the appeal process. Parties can appeal decisions from the neutral to the district court for a new trial; however, there is no appeal from a signed mediation form.
Founded in 1998, uses Rule 114-qualified volunteer mediators. Available on Thursdays. Before meeting with the judge, a mediator explains that free mediation is offered in lieu of court. After the clerk calls the calendar, the judge sends all parties in contested cases out of the courtroom to show each other their evidence and to see if they can settle their case, either alone or with the aid of a mediator. There is no charge, participation is voluntary, and the mediator meets with parties on a first-come, first-served basis. If the parties settle, the mediator helps write up a settlement agreement on a pre-printed settlement form provided by the court. The parties then appear before the judge, who reviews the settlement and signs it as a court order. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the judge will hear the case on the same day. Visit Washington County District Court to learn more.
A statute that enables the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) to offer ADR processes to resolve workers' compensation disputes, including free mediation. A person can be represented by an attorney in these processes or may appear pro se. The mediators are DLI employees who use the "department's persuasion" to settle issues quickly and cooperatively. The statute requires DLI to make reasonable efforts to settle disputes, including if necessary reaching out to insurers, attorneys, and health care providers.
A statute establishing an early neutral evaluation (ENE) process that reviews homeowners' claims against builders. The process is administered by the Construction Codes and Licensing Division of the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry (DLI), which maintains a list of neutrals. As of 2011, homeowners are required to submit warranty claims to ENE before filing a lawsuit against a builder. Before that, the homeowner must give notice of the defect, allow for an inspection of it and for the vendor or contractor to make a written offer to repair it. If the owner rejects the offer to repair, either of the parties can either submit an application to DLI for an ENE, or agree on some other ADR process. Once the DLI Commissioner receives the ENE application, he or she provides a list of three potential neutrals to the parties. The parties choose one of these neutrals, who conducts an in-person conference with the parties within 30 days of being selected. The neutral issues a non-binding written evaluation that includes factual findings and recommendations on the scope and amount of repairs required, if any. The statute limits the neutral's billed time to six hours unless the parties agree to otherwise in writing. The process is confidential, and results cannot be admitted in court.
A state statute that authorizes pre-trial diversion programs for juveniles.
Established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1984, this law allows for the creation of community dispute resolution programs. Chapter 494 creates the rules for these organizations in terms of administration, training guidelines, certification, confidentiality of communications, exclusions, and grant availability. There are currently seven Chapter 494 programs, each operating independently of one another and providing services to specific geographical areas of the state. While each has a unique group of services it provides, there are some commonly seen areas of coverage, including court-annexed mediation, community dispute resolution, school mediation, restorative justice, circle processes, post-decree family mediation, and training. These services are often offered for free or on a sliding scale by trained volunteers. These organizations are supported by both public and private funds.
A state statute authorizing restorative justice programs for first-time juvenile petty offenders.
A state statute that allows community-based organizations to collaborate with local governments in the establishment of restorative justice programs.
A rule established by the federal District Court for the District of Minnesota that authorizes the use of ADR processes in all civil actions in that court. The mediated settlement conference is the preferred method of ADR (though other methods are allowed, either at the behest of the parties themselves or by an order of the court), and the full-time magistrate judges of the court are the panel of neutrals that oversee these cases. These conferences must occur 45 days prior to trial.