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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Introduction

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) allows disputes in the workplace to be resolved through adjudication or negotiating with a neutral third party -- an arbitrator or a mediator. ADR is typically a quicker and less expensive way to resolve disputes, and also avoids the more public disclosures involved in litigation.

Mandatory ADR is often found in union contracts and increasingly in employment contracts.

Voluntary ADR is typically a nonbinding mediation between the parties.

Charny & Wheeler bring years of experience in the ADR context, including representing clients in ADR proceedings, mediating employment disputes, and a familiarity with the state's top arbitrators and mediators.

Arbitration

Unions: If your workplace is covered by a union contract, you are most likely required to use the arbitration procedures called for in the union contract to resolve workplace disputes. If you have concerns or questions about your union's work on your behalf, contact Charny & Wheeler to arrange a consultation. (Check out Charny & Wheeler' Blog for a diary on the application of mandatory ADR to discrimination complaints.)

Employment Contracts: An increasing number of employment contracts include mandatory arbitration of workplace disputes. These procedures are quicker and cheaper than litigation for breach of contract, however they require a different strategic posture.

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process entered into between the parties to the dispute where a third-party (the mediator) attempts to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable settlement or resolution. Some state agencies require that the parties participate in one attempt at mediation before allowing the claim to proceed. Mediation is also an effective way for disputes to be resolved involving high-ranking members of the workforce (Executive Directors, Partners) where everyone agrees that airing the dispute in public would be too disruptive.