ACT-Solutions Collaborative Workplaces™

Developing and implementing collaborative interdisciplinary conflict resolution processes for employment discrimination and other workplace disputes.

ACT-Solutions’ Collaborative Workplaces Project focuses on two principal areas:

  • Increasing access to justice for those who feel subject to workplace discrimination through collaborative partnerships with administrative agencies, courts, labor unions, legal aid and other public interest organizations.
  • Developing models and best practices for interdisciplinary collaborative resolution of multiple stakeholders workplace disputes, working in collaboration with employers, business groups, employee advocacy and other public interest groups, defense and plaintiff’s attorneys, insurers, human resource professionals, organizational development and mental health professionals, dispute resolution organizations and others.

State and federal laws prohibit discrimination and harassment in the workplace. However, as the workforce has evolved over the years, the remedies provided by these statutes have become ill-suited to resolving the real-world concerns of both employers and employees.

Due to its inherent risk and cost, litigation provides relief to only a tiny minority of those who feel affected by workplace discrimination. Administrative agencies charged with investigating and remedying discrimination, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing Authority (FEHA), have overwhelming caseloads and inadequate resources. As the workforce has evolved and becomes more diverse, and as social scientists have proven the entrenched and implicit nature of discriminatory bias, the litigation system’s exclusive focus on intentional discrimination, predominant use of money as a remedy, and adversarial nature no longer suits the vast majority of workplace disputes. Interdisciplinary collaborative processes provide a forward-thinking, efficient and creative approach to resolving discrimination claims and increasing access to justice.

ACT-Solutions Collaborative Workplaces Project Director, Jeanne Fahey, JD, has commenced 2010-2011 research and development phase and anticipates launching Collaborative Workplaces training programs and pilot projects in 2011-12.

Jeanne Fahey, JD
Project Director, ACTS-Solutions Collaborative Workplaces™

Jeanne Fahey has more than fifteen years of experience as an attorney, with a focus on employment, professional negligence and complex civil matters. In addition to her extensive experience in private practice, Jeanne served for six years as an Adjunct, and later, Assistant Professor of Moot Court with U.C. Hastings College of the Law, where she trained hundreds of law students in effective written and oral advocacy. She graduated cum laude and Order of the Coif from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1995.

Jeanne first received collaborative practice training in 2004 and is one of the leading experts in how to incorporate elements of the collaborative model into employment and other civil matters. Jeanne organized the first nationwide dialogues on expanding Collaborative Law from family law to other disputes from 2004 to 2005, and was one of the original members of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals' (IACP Civil Practice Task Force, which first convened in July 2005. As these efforts have evolved over time, Jeanne has continued to be on the forefront nationally and internationally. She has spoken locally and nationally on using collaborative and cooperative techniques in employment and other civil disputes, most recently in her presentation, “Collaborative Advocacy in Employment Disputes: On the Cutting Edge of 'Paradigm Drift'” at the 2010 ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Collaborative Law Symposium (co-sponsored by the ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section).

Jeanne is a member of the Labor & Employment section of both the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association (ABA). She is also a founding member of the Psychology of Conflict Resolution Committee in the ABA's Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS). Jeanne is currently of counsel with The Davis Law Firm, a San Francisco employment law and litigation boutique. In February 2010, she also launched a new venture - Collaborative Workforce Associates - dedicated solely to collaborative advocacy and other out-of court resolutions for employment disputes.

Jeanne is a founding member of the Advanced Collaborative Team Solutions' Board of Directors and serves as the Director of ACT-Solutions' Collaborative Workplace Solutions Project.

For more information, please contact ACT-Solutions Collaborative Workplaces Project Director Jeanne Fahey,
, or call 1.707.494.6503.

“The Fair Employment and Housing Act's tort-based deterrence model was adopted when intentional, often flagrant, discrimination was common. Fifty years later it is clear that much discrimination is not the result of conscious intention, but of more subtle, unintentional behavior, and of the structure of the labor markets. Findings from hundreds of careful studies suggest that an antidiscrimination law based on deterrence and aimed at intentional discrimination may no longer be addressing the most common forms of discrimination or preventing its economic and other harms, which are no less serious.”

- UCLA-Rand Center for Law & Public Policy report, “California Employment Discrimination Law and Its Enforcement: The Fair Employment and Housing Act at 50” (2010).

1.707.494.6503 •