The history of labor relations in the United States has not always been smooth and peaceful, but in the modern day, contract negotiations and other on-the-job discussions have become a common facet of everyday working life. Both corporations that employ unionized workers and the unions themselves understand that an adversarial, litigious position when it comes to labor relations is counter-productive, expensive, and time-consuming. A far better approach is to negotiate and use a well-designed grievance procedure with arbitration as the terminal step for resolving disputes arising under labor contracts.
Labor mediation is a better solution. Faster, less expensive, more private, and more collegial, it fosters an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Both sides meet in person, not in a courtroom separated by space and formality, but as equals. With the right choice of professional neutral to act as mediator, the chances of a successful mediation outcome are very good.
Employment arbitration, however, is not intended to be a boon only to employers. The objective is, or should be, to provide fair, effective, and unbiased systems for resolving employment disputes – systems that are beneficial to employees as well as employers. Recent judicial decisions suggest that while the courts support the private resolution of statutory claims, arbitration must afford employees substantive and procedural protections if the process if going to be mandated as a condition of employment for the vindication of statutory rights.
Employment mediation often deals with claims of wrongful termination, breach of contract, workplace harassment and discrimination, whistleblower disputes, and a variety of civil rights laws. The key to a successful mediation is the neutral chosen to guide it. A mediator does not render a decision; rather, she listens, makes suggestions, and guides the conversation.
Training your managers and supervisors in conflict resolution is an essential first-step in ensuring your workplace remains at the highest levels of efficiency and productivity no matter what disputes might arise. Every manager who has direct reports should be familiar with basic alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques.
Joan Parker knows that facts are the essential components to a fair, fast, and effective resolution of workplace conflicts and complaints. Before any negotiations or discussions can be conducted towards resolving an issue, the facts of the case must be ascertained. Joan and her team have years of experience in conducting discreet, respectful, and-most importantly-impartial fact-finding in workplace dispute scenarios in both private and public employment.