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A typical workplace investigation can be highly disruptive to everyone in the workplace. The King County Investigation and Resolution Office (KCIRO) seeks to minimize disruption to the workplace, help the parties maintain a positive working relationship, and reduce the time, cost, and worry of resolving a complaint. KCIRO is available to assist any King County employee to investigate and resolve alleged violations of the County's nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policy through mediation, investigation, or resolution.

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There are three possible options in the process used by KCIRO.

  1. Mediation Mediation is a confidential conversation with a neutral professional. They can help the parties involved in a dispute reach an agreement. Benefits of mediation include:
    • High success rate: Professional mediators help resolve disagreements about 80% of the time
    • Problems are dealt with quickly: Mediation can typically be scheduled within two to three weeks and resolved in about four to six hours, on average
    • Significant cost savings: Mediation is free to King County agencies, as compared to the high cost of arbitration or litigation
    • Confidentiality: State law ensures that mediation is kept confidential
    • Variety of mediators: The mediators come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience, so the mediation program will likely be able to provide gender, ethnic, cultural, and other matches when appropriate
    • Control: The parties can resolve the problem themselves with the assistance of the mediators, rather than having it be decided for them.

  2. Resolution If the parties do not agree to mediation, or are unable to resolve their concerns there, KCIRO may attempt resolution. Resolution is a matter of working with both sides toward an agreement. Like mediation, this is an opportunity to resolve issues without the negative impacts of a full investigation. Benefits of resolution include:
    • Problems are dealt with quickly: The parties can discuss resolution at any time, and it can take place in person, or via email or phone call
    • Significant cost savings: It costs nothing to discuss resolution options with the KCIRO investigator
    • Control: The parties can resolve the problem themselves with the KCIRO investigator's assistance, rather than having a judge or some other official decide it for them
    • Minimizes disruption: Since the parties involved are likely the only ones involved in the conversations with the investigator, there are fewer distractions in the workplace

  3. Investigation As described above, an investigation is a deep look into the complaint that has been raised. Benefits of an investigation include:
    • Sometimes a complaint isn't appropriate for mediation or resolution. Perhaps there is a serious department issue, and an investigation is the only practical option.
    • The investigator does not take sides, and has no vested interest in the outcome.
    • The investigator will give feedback to department leadership and Human Resources about the investigation's findings.
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