Three Things You Should Know about Employment Mediation

Mediation is a tool that disputing parties use to resolve their differences. It can be effective in a variety of situations, but is especially beneficial in the business world. It alleviates the need to use the courts and can make the process of resolving a dispute much easier for everyone involved.

Employment mediation makes it possible to resolve a number of different types of disputes, including those related to harassment, wage and overtime problems, and termination issues. It tends to be less expensive than other dispute resolution methods including litigation, and allows the problem to truly be resolved so professional relationships might, in some cases, have the best possible chances of continuing.

What do you need to know about employment mediation?

1. Mediators are Neutral
Mediators oversee the process and ensure that it is as efficient and effective as possible. They are neutral third-parties, which mean they have no interest in either side. In the case of employment mediation, the mediator might be appointed by the EEOC or be retained by the parties involved in the dispute. Many mediators are lawyers or former judges, but this does not have to be the case.

The important thing is that the mediator is able to remain impartial, and that he or she is capable of gaining an understanding of the dispute. It can be helpful to work with someone familiar with a particular industry, but this does not need to be the case.

2. Mediation Does Not Need to Be Binding
One of the greatest benefits of mediation is that it gives those involved in the dispute absolute power over the outcome. Mediators are there to guide them and help them explore their options to resolve the dispute, but mediators do not issue binding orders, as is the case with a judge or arbitrator.

It is possible for parties to agree that the outcome of the mediation will be binding once everyone has agreed to it. Once an agreement is reached, the court can be asked to verify the agreement and make it legally binding, but this only occurs if everyone involved is satisfied with the agreement.

3. Mediation Can Preserve Relationships
Relationships are important in business. They are the backbone of success and allow people to come together to achieve a common goal. When a dispute arises, it can create havoc for those directly and indirectly involved. This is often the case with employment disputes. Those directly involved are affected, but so are co-workers, clients, customers, and others involved with the business.

Mediation provides an efficient means by which to resolve a dispute, but it also gives everyone an opportunity to express themselves and have their opinions respected. This can go a long way in protecting the balance needed in the workplace for everyone to feel comfortable and confident when it comes to performing their job duties.

Employment disputes are fact specific. Mediation allows both parties, the employer and the employee, to apprise the other party of all facts that they believe are relevant to the dispute. As a result, a resolution might be achieved which allows everyone to walk away from the dispute feeling good about what occurred. For example, a possible resolution might include a “neutral” referral letter from the employer for the terminated employee to use in future job searches.

If you have an employment dispute that you would like to have mediated, please contact John W. Kelly, Jr. 713-775-3003.

Medical Malpractice Mediation: An Effective Alternative to Litigation

When a patient is injured due to the negligence of a medical provider, he or she may consider suing the doctor or hospital in order to receive compensation for these injuries.  However, medical malpractice claims are often not successful.  Many cases are dropped before trial due to issues such as trouble in establishing causation, not having a necessary medical certificate from a medical expert or other issues from the plaintiff’s perspective.  When these cases make it to trial, many juries rule on the side of the healthcare provider.  For these reasons, it often behooves medical malpractice victims to consider an alternative to the expensive litigation process.

Medical malpractice litigation is often complex.  Many states require a doctor to complete an affidavit that specifies how the medical provider in question deviated from the standard of care and caused the victim’s injuries.  Expert medical testimony is often presented by both parties.  This also increases the expense of the process.  Mediation can be initiated early in the process to avoid the expensive legal fees, discovery fees and associated costs.

Additionally, mediation allows the parties to address their emotional concerns.  In litigation, this aspect of the case is often ignored.  A patient may feel betrayed if he or she did not provide informed consent or believes the healthcare provider misled him or her.  Receiving a heartfelt apology or acceptance of responsibility is often enough to inspire plaintiffs to reduce their request for compensation.

Mediation often serves as a preview to mediation.  It is important that both parties look at how their side of the case is perceived by the other side, as well as to see how the other party’s side of the case is supported.  Mediation also speeds up the process to resolve the case since the parties do not have to wait on protracted litigation.