Workplace disputes can prove to be quite contentious. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for employees and employers to be on the same page and see eye-to-eye. In these situations, people may assume that the only course of action that can be taken to resolve the dispute is to pursue litigation.
While litigation can prove to be very effective, it can also be costly for all parties involved and more stressful than people may be prepared to handle. In many cases, it may be a good idea to consider pursuing an alternative method of dispute resolution.
According to the United States Department of Labor, there are a couple ways that employment disputes can be handled without having to go through the courts: arbitration and mediation.
Arbitration is a process that may be similar to litigation in that both sides present their case and evidence to a third party. However, in arbitration, it is an arbitrator, not a judge, who makes a decision. It can also be a less formal setting where decisions can be reached more quickly. Employers often favor this option, though an employee may not always see it as a fair option when it is not voluntary.
Mediation is another form of dispute resolution. Through mediation, employees and employers can work out a fair solution together and with the guidance of a mediator. Mediation can be the least contentious form of dispute resolution. Further, the resolution may be non-binding which can be either reassuring or frustrating, depending on what the outcome is.
Every option for resolving employment disputes comes with pros and cons that must be considered based on the details of your specific case. In order to identify the option that may be right for you, you will need to consider what you want to happen, what your priorities are and how much time and money you are prepared to invest in the matter. Discussing these factors with an attorney familiar with employment law and the different types of employment dispute resolutions can be a good way to map out plans for proceeding with your case.