In today’s legal landscape, increasing numbers of employers provide an alternative to costly and time consuming litigation by utilizing both arbitration and/or mediation in their breach-of-contract Employment/Labor Law cases.
Mediation allows the parties an opportunity to review their positions through the objective perspective of a certified mediator. Furthermore, the mediation process provides each side an opportunity to consider the proposed contract breach through the filter of the objective, impartial guidance of the mediator, thus assisting each party to make informed choices that are in their best interests. A mediator, working as a facilitator toward a resolution in the interest of both parties, is able to present a non-emotional setting for potential resolution of the dispute; moreover, settlement occurs in what employers and employees often consider a private matter without a public airing as matters in mediation are confidential for the parties involved. A number of contracts may require mediation at some point in the dispute process, providing a more expedient and less costly process than litigation. .
Arbitration, on the other hand, can be either binding or non-binding. Like mediation, the process is less expensive and more expedient than litigation and, thus, less emotional for the parties. Non-binding arbitration, like mediation, is not a final adjudication unless both parties are in agreement. In non-binding arbitration, parties may accept the decision of the arbitrator, but if they don’t, the process ultimately provides the following: (1) gives each party the opportunity to review more objectively the position of the other; (2) provides each party an idea about the potential outcome of litigation; and (3) allows each party to review its position and make more informed choices in regard to the settlement of the case without litigation.
Binding arbitration, increasingly included in employment contracts, allows both parties to present their positions and evidence to an arbitrator who renders a decision binding on both parties in the dispute. The arbitrator hears the evidence, reviews it either alone or as part of an arbitration panel, and renders a binding decision. In the event that a contract includes binding arbitration as the resolution process in contract breach, the employee’s or employer’s only recourse to a non-favorable decision is appeal, a more timely and costly road.
Litigation of contract breach can be both financially and emotionally exhausting. To reduce the anxiety and financial difficulty, mediators and arbitrators work diligently to bring the parties to resolution and avoid the stress and cost of litigation. The benefits of mediation and arbitration are obvious: cases move to resolution far more quickly than litigation if agreement is reached; disputes remain private rather than suffering a public display; the parties are afforded information to review and an objective viewpoint to consider in order to achieve settlement, or, in the case of binding arbitration, an opportunity to move quickly to resolution rather than waiting for a court date. In summary, alternative dispute resolutions (both mediation and arbitration) provide a less anxiety producing and less costly method by which to resolve employment/labor contract disputes. A well-trained mediator or arbitrator with a broad base of experience offers an opportunity for desired resolution of disputes.
W. David Shearer, Jr. is a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil and Family Mediator. Consider W. David Shearer for your arbitration or mediation needs. He is interested in serving clients throughout the state of Florida. Call (239) 537-4691 or visit his website http://www.flarbitratormediator.com for more information.