Many businesses turn to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in order to avoid lengthy and expensive employment litigation. Arbitration and mediation are two of the most common types of alternative dispute resolution in the workplace.
If your business is facing a possible lawsuit, you may wish to resolve the matter outside of the courtroom. Here’s a quick overview of how the experienced employment lawyers at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. can help with arbitration and mediation for employment disagreements:
Arbitration is a process that involves a third party—either a neutral individual or an arbitration panel—to listen to both sides of an argument and make a decision that solves the problem. It’s similar to a court case in that the ultimate decision is made by an uninvolved third party, but it’s much less time-consuming and costly than a litigating a case in court. This method can be either binding or nonbinding. Binding means that the decision that is reached is legally binding (as a court judgment); nonbinding means that the arbitrator’s decision is merely an opinion and either party can still pursue litigation in court.
Oftentimes, contracts—such as those related to sales, employment, and business partnerships—will contain an arbitration provision. This provision states that if either party encounters a legal issue while under the contract, binding arbitration will be used to solve the dispute in lieu of a lawsuit in court. Therefore, depending on your contract, this may be your only option for dispute resolution.
One of the things that can make arbitration a desirable alternative is that, generally speaking, neither party can appeal the final decision to a higher judicial body (meaning that neither party can decide to take the case into a courtroom). Some arbitration agreements allow for an appeals process, but unless agreed upon by both parties from the start, the lack of an appeals process can shorten the time for final resolution and make arbitration a desirable alternative to business litigation.
Mediation is another alternative to litigation when a problem arises in the workplace. Mediation isn’t as formal as arbitration, and it’s far less time-consuming than a trial. With mediation, the process typically focuses on negotiating a resolution with the assistance of a third-party mediator.
The mediation process may vary depending of the mediator selected by the parties. When you choose to resolve a conflict through mediation, both parties will have the opportunity to make an opening statement. The parties will then engage in discussion concerning the case with the mediator, inside or outside of the presence of the other party, and caucus with counsel as needed. The mediator will likely offer his/her opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case, and facilitate settlement discussions. Unlike in binding arbitration, the mediator will not make a decision and the mediator’s opinion isn’t legally binding.
In many cases, mediation will only take one day. Other cases could take longer to resolve, but the cost of these sessions still tends to be much lower than the cost of a trial.
Some disputes are best handled through the litigation process, but many can be resolved just as effectively—and much more efficiently—through an alternative dispute resolution process.
Be sure to check out our page on business litigation for more information on how your business can handle a potential lawsuit. Litigation isn’t the best solution for every legal matter, so be sure to contact the Cincinnati business attorneys at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. for more information on litigation processes and alternative dispute resolution options.