Some of the most heated disputes that come to mediation are between employers and workers. They involve cases claiming discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, retaliation and whistle-blower claims, and issues of wages and hours, family leave, non-compete agreements, trade secret violations and tort claims.
In such cases, there is often a cloud of general ill will adding to the specific charges of a case — the general relationship of the employer to employees, previous incidents that polarize the two sides, and a general feeling that comes close to war. For the mediation to be successful, this cloud of gossip and paranoia needs to be dispersed, and both sides need to acknowledge the possibility that the other side's concerns may have some legitimacy.
We mediate every kind of employment and labor dispute. Very often, we are contacted by lawyers representing one side or the other. Other times, we mediate disputes for parties without representation. In each case, the goal is the same — to create a safe, neutral environment in which to bring both sides in from extremes and arrive at an agreement both sides can live with. Done right, mediation is far preferable to court action. It is cheaper and faster. It keeps control in the hands of the two sides, where it belongs. And if one side says no, the results are non-binding, and disputants can proceed to trial.