When it comes to disputes between employees and employers, there are a variety of ways to reach a settlement without going to court. There are many reasons why both parties may not want to go to court, though there have been instances where the employer wants to force the employee to make the choice not to. Thankfully, across the country, employers can no longer force employees into forced arbitration for cases of sexual assault thanks to the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (EFASASHA). Congress has already introduced a bill to end forced arbitration altogether, so hopefully, we will continue to see more changes that empower employees to stand up for themselves.
However, as arbitration becomes harder and harder for employers to force upon employees, they may look for alternative dispute resolution methods. If you’re planning to join the workforce, you should learn about what other ways employers may try to get around these new laws.
To learn more about these options, read more from the employment law attorneys at Barrett & Farahany.
5 Alternative Legal Dispute Resolution Methods
Here are some alternative legal dispute resolution methods that your employers may soon start considering to replace typical court proceedings and forced arbitration.
- Mediation: This is a process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps the disputing parties to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. The mediator doesn’t make decisions but facilitates the communication process and helps in identifying issues, exploring possible bases for agreement, and weighing the alternatives. This system is most common to how arbitration works now, with the main difference being that the mediator doesn’t make any decisions. This is considered a fairer form of arbitration.
- Conciliation: This is similar to mediation, but the conciliator generally plays a more active role. They can propose solutions to bring about an agreement between the parties. Also, unlike a mediator, the conciliator may meet with the parties together or separately to discuss options and points of consideration.
- Negotiation: Here, the parties involved in the dispute work directly with each other to agree. This can be done on and off the record, with and/or without attorneys or any sort of mediator or arbitrator. Negotiation allows for a great deal of flexibility in terms of solutions and can preserve relationships since it’s collaborative, but can also lead to one side bullying the other. Also, without a third party – and sometimes no attorneys – the employee can find themselves cornered and misled.
- Early Neutral Evaluation: This involves a third-party evaluator who provides an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s evidence and arguments. Once this is done, the evaluator presents a possible solution for resolving the dispute. Both parties have to agree to follow it, so the evaluator is only offering recommendations that both parties can agree to amend.
- Peer Review Panels: In this method, a group of employees (peers) are trained to resolve disputes that arise among their colleagues. They review facts, decide what happened, and recommend a solution. This is similar to the Early Neutral Evaluation option, where the one making the recommendation is a team rather than an outside individual. Again, both parties have to agree to the proposed solution. If they don’t, they can proceed to go to court or utilize any of the previously mentioned methods.
Each of these methods has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice often depends on the specific nature of the dispute, the relationship between the employer and employee, and the company culture.
Why Employers (Though Not Employees) Would Prefer Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers several distinct advantages compared to traditional court proceedings. For starters, it’s often much faster and more cost-effective than taking a legal case to court, which is the main reason an employee would want to use one of them. Employees typically cannot support the resources needed for long-struggling cases against well-off employers.
ADRs also provide an opportunity for the parties involved to have direct input into how their conflict is ultimately resolved, but this is only the case when the third parties involved are honest and unbiased. The issue many had with arbitration is that the third party was rarely honest and unbiased, particularly when it came to the employee.
Another key benefit to employers of ADR is its flexibility, as the parties involved can craft their own resolution process that works for them rather than having it decided by a judge or jury. This often leads to more satisfactory results for both sides, as opposed to court proceedings, which are typically highly adversarial and can become drawn-out affairs.
Don’t Be Bullied By Your Employer. Contact Barrett & Farahany for Help
At Barrett & Farahany, we understand the importance of resolving workplace disputes promptly and in a cost-effective manner. Our experienced employment law attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of alternative dispute resolution matters, from mediations to arbitrations. We also provide valuable guidance to clients on how they can best approach their dispute resolution process and achieve a successful outcome.
If you’re looking for help with resolving an employment-related dispute, contact us today to learn more about the alternative dispute resolution options available to you. We’ll work with you to develop an effective strategy and ensure that your interests are fully protected throughout the entire process.