Department of Civil Rights

Velma J. Korbel, Director

350 S. 5th St., Room 239
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: (612) 673-3012
Fax: (612) 673-2599
TTY: (612) 673-2157

Office Hours:
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Alternative Dispute Resolution - Complaint Investigations Division Mediation Program

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a forum in which a neutral third party facilitates communication between parties and assists the parties in their attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.  Mediation is a form of ADR.  Mediation is a confidential and informal process in which a trained mediator assists the parties in reaching a negotiated resolution of a charge of discrimination. In the mediation process, participants maintain control over any outcome that is reached.

How much will mediation cost?

  • There is no direct cost to either party for the mediation service.

Who is the Mediator?

  • Department of Civil Rights uses a group of committed volunteers who are trained third-party mediators, qualified as Rule 114 Neutrals. A “neutral” is an individual or organization that provides a service such as mediation, as defined in Rule 114.02(b) of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice. All mediators are neutral unbiased professionals with no stake in the outcome of the mediation process.

Is mediation required?

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is required.  Mediation is a form of ADR. As of February 1, 2018 participation in an ADR process is mandatory. However, full enforcement of this ordinance provision will not take effect until third quarter 2018. Therefore, only some cases will be chosen for mediation. Cases that will be chosen for mandatory mediation prior to full enforcement will be based on the following, but not limited to: one or both parties’ request for mediation; preservation of the parties’ relationship; and exigency of the issues.  For more information, please review the Advisory Memorandum on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Are there any instances when mediation is not required?

  • Yes. The Director may exempt cases from mandatory mediation (including but not limited to, physical or sexual harassment complaints). However, it will be determined on a case by case basis.

When does mediation take place?

  • Following the collection of the Respondent’s position statement and the Complainant’s rebuttal statement, the parties shall engage in mandatory mediation which may be facilitated by the Department.

How long does mediation usually take?

  • Mediations usually last for approximately 4 hours. However, we encourage parties to keep their schedule open for the entire day. 

Do I have to sit in the same room as the other party during the mediation?

  • Yes and No. The mediator may necessitate the parties be in the same room for a limited or prolonged period of time. If the mediator believes that sitting in different rooms, or what is called “caucusing,” is fine – there are rooms that are available for each party to sit in. You should ask about the mediator’s procedure prior to the start of mediation and explain your preferences. However, parties can always voluntarily choose to be in the same room.

What happens if a charge is not resolved in mediation?

  • If the parties do not reach an agreement, the case will proceed with the investigation process. All information shared during a mediation session is regarded as confidential and cannot be revealed to anyone outside the mediation session including the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.

Can the parties bring an attorney or other representative to the mediation session?

  • Yes. While it is not necessary to have an attorney or other representative in order to participate in the mediation program, either party may choose to do so.

Are most charges resolved in mediation?

  • Most charges that enter mediation resolve successfully. For example, in fiscal year 2016, the mediation program achieved a 73% success rate.

How can I learn more about the mediation program?

  • For additional information about the mediation program please send an email to: [email protected]

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Last updated May 8, 2018

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For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats, contact 311.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 

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