No business professionals, whether they are employees or employers, want to deal with disputes involving the workplace. Ongoing litigation tends to highlight tension and make everyday life more difficult for the parties, especially if they are still working together. Employee disputes that could have seen a quicker resolution through mediation can take months to resolve through litigation if the court located in your area is extremely busy. With hearings that only allow you to discuss a handful of issues at a time, litigation can make it seem like your case just drags on endlessly. Dealing with an already costly case can be even more expensive if you end up stuck in court and through the court system, rather than focusing on your life or your job.
Some parties shy away from mediation, especially in an employee/employer dispute, because they believe that they will need to give up power over the situation in order for the issues to be resolved. However, in reality, this kind of mentality could not be farther from the truth. By taking away some or all of the confusion associated with the litigation process, mediation empowers both parties and gives them control over the entire proceedings. Because both parties play a bigger role in generating a solution, many employers and employees who have gone through mediation actually emerge more empowered. Rather than crafting cases against one another, parties are encouraged to work together. Individuals who might have felt financially pressured and unheard in the court system (a concern voiced frequently by employees in disputes) feel more empowered when they are given opportunities to discuss issues firsthand in mediation.
For disputing parties who are exhausted from the litigation process and are finally willing to make compromises for the case’s resolution, mediation provides a great and refreshing setting to do so. Mediation is a great forum for parties to realize where they can make sacrifices, rather than being stuck on being “right” and the other party being “wrong”. Mediation also provides the opportunity to parties to work together towards a solution that might be more amenable to both. In many cases, this is more preferable than waiting for court decisions, which often have the potential to produce “winner takes all” results.
Engaging in longstanding litigation is not in everyone’s best interest especially it is the top employees who are involved in the dispute. When faced with a lawsuit, top executives can suffer from distraction and performance struggles which may cause them to leave the company. To provide a more private and positive environment while working through difficult issues and reaching a resolution together, companies should seriously consider taking their employee/employer arguments to mediation. Doing so would result in savings in time, money and professional relationships.