70 S.M.U. L. Rev. 913 (2017)
Dispute System Design and Bias in Dispute Resolution

handle is hein.journals/smulr70 and id is 943 raw text is: 





    DISPUTE SYSTEM DESIGN AND BIAS IN

                  DISPUTE RESOLUTION

   Lisa Blomgren  Amsler,  Alexander  B. Avtgis, and M. Scott Jackman*


                               ABSTRACT
   This article examines the role of mediator race and gender in perceptions
 of procedural justice as measure of accountability and representative bu-
 reaucracy in a national mediation piogram  for complaints of employment
 discrimination at a large federal organization, the United States Postal Ser-
 vice. Mediation represents a forum of accountability in which  employees
 may  hold an  employer  accountable for violating federal law prohibiting
 forms of employment   discrimination, in. this case, race discrimination, sex
 discrimination, and sexual harassment. Representative bureaucracy  theory
 suggests passive or symbolic  representation when   the demographics   of
 public officials should mirror those of the public they serve. Some research
 suggests active representation when  race or gender  of a public  official
 match those of a member  of the public. During the period 1997-99, media-
 tion exit surveys collected information about the nature of an employee's
 claim. Using the nature of the claim as a proxy variable for a claimant's
 race or gender, researchers examine complainants'  perceptions of media-
 tion when the nature of the claim matches the demographics  (race or gen-
 der) of the mediator.  In  this exploratory research, analyses  show  no
 statistically significant difference in satisfaction with the fairness of media-
 tion process or mediator based on race of the mediator in race discrimina-
 tion claims. However, there is statistically significantly lower satisfaction
 with mediation  outcome  based  on  mediator  race as African  American
 when it matches the nature of the claim of race discrimination. In all analy-
 ses of sex discrimination and sexual harassment claims, there are no statis-
 tically significant differences in satisfaction with the mediation process,

    *  Lisa Blomgren Amsler is the Keller-Runden Professor of Public Service at the
Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Saltman Senior
Scholar at the University of Nevada Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law. Alexander
B. Avtgis holds a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a
Master of Public Affairs from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental
Affairs. M. Scott Jackman serves as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Student Services
at and holds a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University School of Public and Envi-
ronmental Affairs. He previously served as a member of the USPS REDRESS National
Evaluation Project team responsible for database design and construction. This research
was funded in part by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the United States
Postal Service under grants and contracts during the period 1998 to 2006 and, currently, the
Keller-Runden endowment. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. We
would like to thank Professor Michael Z. Green and the members of the SMU Law Re-
view Editorial Board for their vision and work organizing this symposium.


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