When a dispute arises between an employee and an employer, many heated emotions can be involved. Under these circumstances, parties might assume that the best and only way to resolve the matter is by going to court. However, mediation could be a better option.
Benefits to consider
Mediation is a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which are processes that allow people to resolve disputes without a trial. Avoiding litigation can be beneficial for several reasons.
First, it is generally less expensive than going to court. Mediation does not involve the same level of discovery or require extensive reliance on hiring experts. The process is also less formal and can often move more quickly than litigation.
Mediation also arranges for parties to work together to resolve a dispute. Reaching agreements cooperatively makes it more likely that everyone will be satisfied with the outcome.
Finally, mediation is confidential, which can be enormously reassuring to employees and employers alike who don’t want sensitive financial or professional details to become public.
What can we mediate?
Mediation can be an effective process for a range of disputes, including:
- Wage or hour disputes
- Contract breaches or negotiations
- State or federal regulation compliance issues
- Claims of harassment or discrimination
Mediation could be an option worth considering if you are an employee or employer dealing with these or other employment-related conflicts.
Things to keep in mind
Before deciding for or against mediation, there are some critical factors to keep in mind:
- Both parties must agree to participate in mediation and reach solutions together.
- A mediator is a neutral party, not a replacement for individual attorneys.
- Mediators will help by offering solutions and facilitating communication, but the parties involved ultimately have control over the resolutions.
- It may not work in situations with a significant power imbalance between parties or refusal to settle.
- Some courts automatically refer certain cases to mediation.
These components can undoubtedly affect whether parties can or should attempt to mediate their dispute.
While mediation can be an attractive option for parties involved in an employment dispute, it may not be suitable for everyone or in every situation. Understanding the benefits, drawbacks and processes involved can help people make informed decisions about resolving their cases.