Employees do not always have a good relationship with their employers, which can happen for several reasons. Whether they are unhappy with a coworker or have resentment over wages, conflict is inevitable in any environment, including employment.
When you think of a dispute with an employer, whether because of an issue with a coworker, poor working conditions, sexual harassment or low wages, you may wonder what to do.
Employees often contact attorneys and begin a litigation process against the employer without looking at all available options.
There is an option that disgruntled employees do not often consider: mediation. Mediation is not appropriate for every scenario, but it is highly effective in resolving conflicts between parties, especially when the parties want to preserve the business relationship.
What is mediation?
- Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It occurs outside the courtroom, although the parties can hire attorneys to help them during the mediation.
- A neutral third party (the mediator) facilitates a conversation. He or she provides structure intending to find a solution between the parties.
- Mediation is highly effective. It allows the parties more control over the conflict; it is non-adversarial, cost-effective and less time-consuming.
- It is also a private way of solving disputes. The entire mediation is confidential from start to finish, and a mediation agreement can be legally binding.
Is mediation right for me?
In answering this question, you and/or your counsel should evaluate the seriousness of the accusations, both parties’ willingness to solve the issue, and whether this is the kind of problem-solving you prefer.
Mediation is highly effective when the parties involved participate in good faith and want to reach a reasonable agreement. When the parties understand that they will walk away from mediation having given some and received some.
Mediation is not for every case, and it is not for every person. When it works, though, it is an extraordinary tool for conflict resolution.