Whether you are an employee or an employee, litigation can be frustrating and expensive. Cases might get bogged down in court scheduling back logs. Scheduling your own people to take time out of an already busy schedule to concentrate on the demands for scheduled meetings and hearings can become a nightmare of distractions from the primary purpose of your business, doing a profitable business. When the cause of the lost time and productivity is an employment dispute, there is more than enough anger to be shared by all including the employee who may be right and the supervisor who let matters get out of hand. Mediation should not be viewed as giving up power or throwing in the towel when it is really an exercise in control of the process. Selecting cases to send to mediation to be resolved recognizes the need that a time sensitive resolution has more importance than ever providing to be 100% correct.
Understanding the Consequences
Being proven right at any cost is a high price to pay to make sure that an employee can never get the benefit of the doubt. If you fear that a claim may not be legitimately legitimate, fighting for the principal is risky proposition. One of the most frightening words to come out of a client's mouth is "I am only in this for the principal of the thing". Wars over money get settled and then forgotten. Wars over principals can linger forever. It is easier to quantify the money lost than the loss of work respect that may be suffered irreparable of success or failure. Trashing an employee in a trial never gains the admiration of the work force. The public nature of some claims can leave a blemish on your business reputation as being a commercially reasonable employer. Once the legal process starts, it takes on a life of its own, and it becomes very difficult to slow or drop the litigation. Thinking ahead is never more important than before the litigation starts. How much can you win, how much can you lose, how long and at what cost in time and productivity might help you determine that mediation is a better avenue for resolution?
Distracting Your Top Employees
The considerations discussed above have even greater application in resolving employment disputes with key executives. Leaving a cauldron of anger and frustration in the hands of litigation staff that measure success by either wining / losing rarely is in the best interest in the organization.
Save Time and Energy
Mustering the mental strength to head into a legal battle can be exhausting. Particularly if you are planning to go ahead with business as usual while working through these issues, you are likely to spread yourself thin and attempt to juggle too much at work. When factoring in the potential costs of the lawsuit, do not forget to factor in your time. Your energy and effort are just as important as other influences on the business, and you can help reduce a great deal of frustration simply by taking the less contentious conversations in mediation.
Rely on Experts
Many mediators are trained specifically in working through employment-related issues. Working with someone who is experienced in bringing about solutions lets you concentrate on possible solutions rather than preparing to defend or attack your adversary. The mediation process is not painless and requires hard work in identifying facts and understanding opinions. The form has changed and you are no longer in an arena. You are in a problem-solving mode that allows an expert in the decision making process to focus efforts to resolve the dispute.