Resolving employment disputes can be enormously frustrating and complicated for people on both sides of an argument. In many cases, employers and employees alike want to resolve the dispute in a fair way and move forward as opposed to dragging out the case and bringing it to court. It may also be the last opportunity for the parties to have control over their outcome, rather than a judge or jury deciding their fate.
In these situations, mediation can and should be an option to consider. While it is not right for every type of employment dispute, mediation can help parties settle legal issues more quickly and in a more amicable manner. It is also less expensive than litigation. This is not to say mediation is easy; there are several obstacles that may arise which you should be aware if you are considering mediating a dispute.
To begin with, mediation is less formal than courtroom proceedings. There is no judge or jury, though there will be a trained mediator who is tasked with keeping discussions moving and helping both sides identify pain points and solutions. This can mean that people may not necessarily get all the answers they want because there is no one really pushing for them through testimony or evidence.
Mediation can also prove to be difficult if the two sides are unfairly matched. For example, if you are an employee going up against representatives from a huge corporation, you may feel intimidated or pressured into agreeing to certain terms that fall below your expectations.
Finally, there is no guarantee that mediation will be successful. In some cases, it is simply too difficult for both sides to reach a resolution in this manner and the case ends up in the courtroom anyway. Some disputes are too complicated or combative to end with a fair and reasonable settlement through mediation.
Mediation can certainly be an effective alternative dispute resolution when employers and employees find themselves at odds with each other. However, we want readers to remember that there are pros and cons that should first be considered before deciding for or against it. Discussing your situation with an attorney can help you weigh the options, manage your expectations and work toward the best solution.