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Bidding Opportunity

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Due Date: 06/24/2024 2:00 pm
Bidding Number: RFP-078-24
Bidding Categories: Human Resources
Other Comments:

Boulder County is seeking proposals to establish alternative dispute resolution using a Restorative Justice model for employees who file complaints. The purpose in seeking proposals is to address concerns raised by employees that the current process for complaints is insufficient. The county’s employee complaint processes are outlined in the attached Boulder County Policies and Procedures 6.02, Equal Employment Opportunity and Unlawful Discrimination, and 6.89, Complaints. Claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation due to protected class status are assigned to a third-party investigator who performs an investigation and produces a report of findings. While this approach is effective in ensuring compliance with employment law, recent feedback from both complaining and responding employees indicates growing disappointment in the process. County leadership also has observed that investigations very often cause disruption in the workplace and strained relationships. Some participants have expressed that they lack confidence that their complaints have been appropriately addressed. In particular, these concerns have been raised by employees who self-identify as Black, Brown or Indigenous and whose complaints relate to race where the complained of conduct does not constitute legally cognizable discrimination or harassment. Our goal is to develop a dispute resolution approach that can be utilized in such circumstances that results in increased satisfaction for participants, enhances team and workplace dynamics and ultimately produces culture change that leads to fewer complaints in the future. As described in Policy 6.02, “The county strives to create an environment in which employees feel comfortable raising concerns and confident that those concerns will be addressed.” Boulder County is interested in exploring Restorative Justice as a supplement to formal investigations and a tool for other workplace disputes to provide more satisfactory outcomes and build confidence among employees in the complaint resolution process. Boulder County has adopted a framework from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) and Courageous Conversation about Race (CCAR) protocol. Since 2019, Boulder County has been a member of GARE and is in a Systemic Partnership for Transformational Racial Equity with CCAR. The framework and tools implemented to advance Racial Equity in Boulder County reflect the work with these organizational partners. An alternative dispute resolution process for Boulder County employes must be aligned directly with the work of these partners. The successful proposer will have an alternative dispute resolution toolkit and will have demonstrated experience in Restorative Justice programs that produce positive outcomes such as healing, restored relationships, apologies and/or reparations for participants. Boulder County believes in the value of answering the fundamental Restorative Justice questions of “What harm was done?” and “How can harm be repaired?” within an employment context. This value is consistent with Boulder County’s racial equity work, as outlined in the attached Policy 1.06 Fully Inclusive, Anti-Racist & Multicultural Organization: “Everyone’s humanity in the institution and community matters. For everyone’s humanity to matter, first the organization and persons within it must recognize that historically and currently, anti-Blackness and anti-Indigeneity is causing harm. Sincere efforts must be made to identify, stop and repair the harm.”

Posting Information RFP-078-24