Many employers and employees are fortunate to have professional and respectful relationships at their workplace. Sometimes people at work seem like family. Going to work every day is a mutually beneficial rather than burdensome experience.
However, there is no ideal work environment. Sooner or later, disagreements may arise. Minor challenges may be successfully resolved during informal discussions. However, more severe issues, often at critical times, give rise to an employer-employee dispute.
Employer-employee disputes arise between an employer and employee regarding their work relationship.
Some of the most common issues giving rise to employer-employee disputes include retirement, termination, medical leave, breach of employment contracts involving non-compete and non-disclosure clauses, discrimination, and harassment.
When a dispute arises at the workplace, the relationships between an employer and employee are already tense and highly emotional. Filing a lawsuit and engaging in an adversarial process adds insult to injury for all concerned. Proving or defending allegations of an employment dispute in court is often burdensome and is a daunting task.
Unlike litigation, which is a years-long and expensive process, Mediation offers a different approach. As an alternative dispute resolution method, Mediation is a time-effective and less expensive tool for dealing with workplace disputes.
A crucial feature of Mediation in employer-employee disputes is its emotional treatment effect. In Mediation, the employer and employee negotiate the contested issues, in a neutral setting, with a skilled facilitator. Bringing reconciliation and healing to continuing or concluding the employment relationship is a principal goal of an employment Mediation. The mediator will use the mediation process to assist parties to move forward together or separately.
The mediator, a neutral third party with knowledge of labor law, discrimination and harassment, facilitates negotiations between the parties, attempting to reconcile their opposite interests. Often, the relationship between the parties is very hostile, requiring special negotiating skills from the mediator.
The Mediation process provides absolute confidentiality. Dealing with sensitive personal information calls for special considerations regarding privacy. The mediator abides by, and the parties sign, a confidentiality agreement at the beginning of the procedure, providing nothing revealed during Mediation will become public. Confidentiality enables free and open negotiations, which increases the likelihood of settling.
The Mediation process typically consists of a Mediator’s introduction, attorneys’ opening statements in a joint session, and attorneys and parties in separate, private sessions with the Mediator. After a brief introduction, the mediator presents his or her qualifications and explains the procedure to the parties. In private sessions, parties talk with the mediator in separate rooms. The mediator goes back and forth between the private rooms, assisting parties to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case; discussing their settlement options; and aiding in resolution of the controversy. During Mediation, the Mediator may meet separately with attorneys to help fashion a settlement. The mediator facilitates the negotiations between the parties with the goal of settling the dispute and avoiding additional litigation.
After the parties settle, the parties sign a binding agreement enforceable in court.
As a retired Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit, Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator and designated Legal Luminary Best Mediator, Joseph P. Farina is a proven authority in employer-employee Mediation. With more than 30 years of experience, Joe’s unmatched negotiation skills, and knowledge of labor law, discrimination and harassment, provide a successful resolution to an employment dispute.