Alternative Dispute Resolution Program

The City has a collaborative, state-approved program with its Police and Fire departments, where members do not have to go to court for a workplace injury.

What to do


The City & County of San Francisco has entered into an Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (ADR or “Carve-out”) with the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) and the San Francisco Firefighters’ Local 798 (Local 798). This program was adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on 2/25/2019, approved by Mayor London N. Breed on 3/8/2019 and approved by the state Division of Workers’ Compensation’s Administrative Director.

The agreement, negotiated between the Department of Human Resources and the two labor organizations, creates alternative ways of resolving disputed issues that would normally be subject to processes mandated by the California Labor Code. The goals of the program are to create efficiency through faster resolution of problems, speed the delivery of necessary medical care, reduce unnecessary litigation, and improve satisfaction for employees who are injured or become ill due to their employment.

Program highlights

  1. The ADR Program applies to all occupational injuries or illnesses occurring or filed on or after July 1, 2019, to members of the SFPOA and Local 798.
  2. Program operations are overseen by a Joint Labor Management Committee (Joint Committee).
  3. Mediators and arbitrators selected by the Joint Committee will decide any legal issues that would normally be handled by a state workers’ compensation judge.
  4. Employees with prior claims may request to “Opt-In” to the program, subject to the approval of a Joint Committee.
  5. Honorable Judge Steven Siemers is the ADR Program Director selected by the Joint Committee.
  6. Maria Mariotto Resolutions is the Ombudsperson/Member Advocate for employees selected by the Joint Committee. The Ombudsperson/Member Advocate is available to all affected members to assist in the informal resolution of any issues that arise.
  7. Employees may retain an attorney at any time in the process.
  8. Independent Medical Evaluators have been selected and approved by the Joint Committee to evaluate and report on any disputed medical/legal issues. Medical/legal issues are those that require a medical determination over a dispute, such as the extent of any permanent disability that results from an injury or whether an injury is related to work. Determinations of the IME Medical-Legal Evaluator are subject to mediation, arbitration, and reconsideration by the state Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
  9. Independent Medical Evaluators who are skilled in medical treatment issues have been selected and approved by the Joint Committee to address disputes over what medical treatment is necessary. These doctors will be allowed to evaluate the employee and create a treatment plan in collaboration with the employee’s treating physician. Determinations of the IME-Medical Treatment Evaluator are subject to mediation.
  10. All rights have been retained.
  11. Employees will continue to receive medical care from the CCSF Medical Provider Network, approved physician for the Carve-Out, or their predesignated physician.
  12. Employees subject to the program may also receive medical care from a pre-approved list of providers that were approved by the Joint Committee per the terms of the agreement. This is independent and in addition to providers available through the Medical Provider Network.

Last updated May 16, 2024