Conflicts inevitably arise in the workplace, leading to the need for resolution mechanisms. Employers and employees alike seek efficient and fair ways to settle disputes without the complexities of the legal system.
There are several methods business owners often use to settle employment disputes. These methods include mediation, arbitration and litigation.
Mediation involves a neutral third party who facilitates discussions between the conflicting parties. The mediator assists in identifying common ground and fostering communication, aiming for a mutually acceptable resolution. This collaborative approach encourages open dialogue, allowing parties to voice their concerns and work towards a solution together. Unlike the adversarial nature of litigation, mediation focuses on finding commonality rather than emphasizing differences.
In arbitration, disputing parties present their cases before a neutral arbitrator, chosen by mutual agreement. This method resembles a formal trial but occurs in a more private and expedited setting. The arbitrator, often an expert in employment law, evaluates evidence and testimony to render a binding decision. The confidentiality and efficiency of arbitration make it an attractive alternative to litigation. However, the binding nature of the decision means that once made, it is final and enforceable.
Litigation involves taking a dispute to court, where a judge or jury renders a final verdict. While litigation provides a structured legal process for resolution, it is often time-consuming and expensive. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that business owners spend an average of $1.2 million a year on litigation. The formalities of the courtroom setting may strain relationships further. They may also not be conducive to preserving working relationships.
While each dispute resolution method has its merits, the choice of which to use in a specific situation depends on the nature of the dispute and the desired outcomes.