29 CFR § 102.45 - Administrative Law Judge's decision; contents of record; alternative dispute resolution program.

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§ 102.45 Administrative Law Judge's decision; contents of record; alternative dispute resolution program.

(a) Administrative Law Judge's decision. After a hearing for the purpose of taking evidence upon a complaint, the Administrative Law Judge will prepare a decision. The decision will contain findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the reasons or grounds for the findings and conclusions, and recommendations for the proper disposition of the case. If the Respondent is found to have engaged in the alleged unfair labor practices, the decision will also contain a recommendation for such affirmative action by the Respondent as will effectuate the policies of the Act. The Administrative Law Judge will file the decision with the Board. If the Judge delivers a bench decision, promptly upon receiving the transcript the Judge will certify the accuracy of the pages of the transcript containing the decision; file with the Board a certified copy of those pages, together with any supplementary matter the Judge may deem necessary to complete the decision; and serve a copy on each of the parties. Upon the filing of the decision, the Board will enter an order transferring the case to the Board, setting forth the date of the transfer and will serve on all the parties copies of the decision and the order. Service of the Administrative Law Judge's decision and of the order transferring the case to the Board is complete upon mailing.

(b) Contents of record. The charge upon which the complaint was issued and any amendments, the complaint and any amendments, notice of hearing, answer and any amendments, motions, rulings, orders, the transcript of the hearing, stipulations, exhibits, documentary evidence, and depositions, together with the Administrative Law Judge's decision and exceptions, and any cross-exceptions or answering briefs as provided in § 102.46, constitutes the record in the case.

(c) Alternative dispute resolution program. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program is available to parties with unfair labor practice or compliance cases pending before the Board at any stage subsequent to the initial issuance of an Administrative Law Judge's decision or any other process involving the transfer to the Board of such cases. Participation in the ADR Program is voluntary, and a party that enters the ADR Program may withdraw any time after the first meeting with the neutral. No party will be charged fees or expenses for using the ADR Program.

(1) The parties may request participation in the ADR Program by contacting the program director. Deadlines for filing pleadings with the Board will be stayed effective the date that the case enters the ADR Program. If the case is removed from the ADR Program, the time period for filing will begin to run and will consist of the time period that remained when the case entered the ADR Program. Notice will be provided to the parties of the date the case enters the ADR Program and the date it is removed from the ADR Program.

(2) A case may remain in the ADR Program for 28 days from the first settlement meeting or until the parties reach a settlement, whichever occurs first. A request for extension of the stay beyond the 28 days will be granted only with the approval and in the discretion of both the neutral and the program director upon a showing that such an extension is supported by good cause.

(3) Once the case enters the ADR Program, the program director will arrange for the appointment of a neutral to assist the parties in settling the case.

(4) The preferred method of conducting settlement conferences is to have the parties or their representatives attend in person, and therefore the neutral will make every reasonable effort to meet with the participants face-to-face at the parties' location. Settlement conferences by telephone or through videoconference may be held if the parties so desire.

(5) Parties may be represented by counsel at the conferences, but representation by counsel is not required. However, each party must have in attendance a representative who has the authority to bind the party to the terms of a settlement agreement.

(6) The neutral may ask the parties to submit pre-conference memos setting forth the issues in dispute, prior settlement efforts, and anything else that the parties would like to bring to the neutral's attention. A party's memo will be treated as a confidential submission unless the party that prepared the memo authorizes its release to the other parties.

(7) Settlement discussions held under the ADR Program will be confidential. All documents submitted to the neutral and statements made during the ADR proceedings, including proposed settlement terms, are for settlement purposes only and are confidential. However, evidence otherwise admissible or discoverable will not be rendered inadmissible or undiscoverable because of its use in the ADR proceedings. No evidence as to what transpired during the ADR proceedings will be admissible in any administrative or court proceeding except to the extent it is relevant to determining the existence or meaning of a settlement agreement. The parties and their representatives will not discuss with the press any matters concerning settlement positions communicated during the ADR proceedings except by express written permission of the other parties. There will be no communication between the ADR Program and the Board on specific cases submitted to the ADR Program, except for procedural information such as case name, number, timing of the process, and status.

(8) The neutral has no authority to impose a settlement. Settlement agreements are subject to approval by the Board in accordance with its existing procedures for approving settlements.

(9) No party will at any time or in any proceeding take the position that participation in the ADR Program resulted in the waiver of any legal rights related to the underlying claims in the case, except as set forth in any settlement agreement.

(10) Nothing in the ADR Program is intended to discourage or interfere with settlement negotiations that the parties wish to conduct outside the ADR Program.