Benefits of the Mediation Process

There are numerous reasons why a party to a dispute might choose mediation over traditional litigation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Some reasons are affordability, timely resolution, private sessions, confidentiality, participation in the resolution of the dispute, and in many cases preservation of the interrelationship between the parties.

The cost of mediation is far less than the average cost in time and money for the litigation of a dispute. The mediator’s hourly rate is generally lower than the hourly rate for a lawyer. Parties can often schedule mediation within weeks of a decision to mediate or a court order to mediate.

The Settlement Agreement is the only record of the proceedings. The Agreement to Mediate which is signed by the parties prior to the conference will often remind the parties of the confidentiality of the session and that the mediator is not available as a voluntary witness in a trial of the matter. The parties are empowered to solve their problem in workable terms to achieve a “win-win” solution. This often promotes healing where one party feels tremendously aggrieved or allows the parties to continue their business, employment or personal relationship. In many cases the parties strengthen their working relationship for greater workplace efficiency.

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Employment and Labor Arbitration

Labor contracts generally contain clauses that require mandatory arbitration of disputes. These disputes frequently arise from disagreements regarding the application of contractual language within the employment relationship. These disagreements may arise from seniority rights, work assignments, administration of pay and benefits, and discipline/termination actions by management. The parties will argue to the arbitrator their position as to application of contract language, intent of that language, negotiated history, and precedents as evidencing the intent of the parties. The arbitrator after hearing evidence, reviewing submitted negotiated documents, questioning of witnesses, and, in some case reviewing briefs, will make a final and binding decision. This decision will in a vast majority of cases dispose of the issues.

The Benefits of Arbitration

Arbitration is the most formal alternative to litigation. In this process, the disputing parties present their case to a neutral third party, who renders a decision. Arbitration is widely used to resolve disputes in both the private and public sector.

Arbitration is generally considered a more efficient process than litigation because it is quicker, less expensive, and provides greater flexibility of process and procedure. The parties often select the arbitrator and exercise control over certain aspects of the arbitration procedure. Arbitrators typically have more expertise in the specific subject matter of the dispute than do judges. They may also have greater flexibility in decision-making.

Traditional Arbitration Model

Traditional Arbitration Model
Under the traditional arbitration model, parties voluntarily participate in the arbitration process. Their participation may be the result of a preexisting contractual provision or an agreement that occurs after the dispute has arisen.
Arbitration agreements generally provide a means for selecting the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, the format of the hearing, the procedural and evidentiary rules to be used, and the controlling law. If these details are not provided for in the contract, the parties may seek assistance from agencies that administer arbitrations.
Compulsory arbitration has grown in the United States particularly in the areas of labor relations, public sector employment such as police, fire, public employee disputes, private sector employment disputes.

Potential Costs of Workplace Conflict

Workplace Conflict causes significant inefficiency and loss of profit. Unresolved disputes result in turnover and increased cost of hire, increased training costs due to new hires and duplication training. Disgruntled employees result in turnover, increased absenteeism, lawsuits, decreased quality and increased risks of unions. Unfortunately, resolution of conflict is left in the hands of those not trained to deal effectively to reach resolution. Often managers believe that resolution is “my way or the highway”. Very little time is dedicated to finding the root cause of the dispute and reaching a mutual resolution.

In 2010 it was estimated that it cost 1.5 – 2.0 times a terminated employees salary and benefits to replace that employee.

Also in 2010, The RAND Institute for Civil Justice estimated that it cost, on average, $150,000 to defend an employment discrimination lawsuit in the United States. But the costs of poorly managed conflict are not limited to the legal costs that are not incurred when your organization has to defend itself in court. When a conflict drags on and on, and ensnares more and more bystanders, the amount of time spent is staggering. To find out just how staggering, estimate the time spent by each individual employee affected by the conflict, and then multiply this time by each person’s salary.

0Hours
In 2014 it was estimated that employees spend 2.5 hours/week trying to resolve conflict

Most executives simply ignore conflict as they don’t have the tools and /or mechanisms to deal with it.

0Billion
In 2016, workplace conflict cost employers $359 Billion

Causes of Conflict

Causes of Conflict arise from many factors.

  • Simple differences of opinion between two or more employees
  • Employees and Supervisors
  • Management Policy
  • Organizational Change

  • Cultural Differences

  • Lack of Common Direction within an Organization
  • Work Habits
  • Forms of Communication or Lack thereof

Why My Background and Experience is a Benefit to Your Organization

Worked with Unions for 15+ years. I understand why and how unions appeal to workers.
Worked 20+ years in Japanese non-union facilities understanding how to avoid unions
Overall, spent 30 years working in various HR positions resolving workplace conflict in a variety of manufacturing environments
Led a multi-plant manufacturing company providing an environment that focused upon resolving conflict, reducing turnover and reducing absenteeism and maintaining a nonunion work environment.
Have been a mediator for the past 15 years resolving a variety disputes within our legal system.

INDEPENDENT MEDIATION SURVEY

An independent survey showed 96% of all respondents and 91% of all charging parties who used mediation would use it again if offered.

96%

All Respondents

91%

All Charging Parties