Mediation for Employment Disputes

Trusted Atlanta Mediation Attorney: Call Us at (404) 471-3725

As we explain on our arbitration page, there are several alternatives to taking an employment discrimination or overtime case to court. One of those alternatives is mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process in which you and your employer agree that, instead of filing a lawsuit and taking your case through the court system, you will hire a neutral third party (the mediator) to help you try to resolve your dispute without court intervention.

Interested in mediation? Discuss your case with an attorney.

An Alternative to Litigation

In many respects, mediation is a wonderful alternative to litigation. Unlike the typical employment discrimination case, in mediation, you don't have to file a charge with the EEOC, wait for it to investigate your claim, file a federal lawsuit, fight off motions to dismiss, and then spend years waiting to get to the jury.

Instead, mediation is simply a type of negotiation session (or multiple sessions) between you and your employer which is presided over by the mediator, who works with both sides to facilitate a settlement of your case. If you and your employer agree to mediate your dispute, you can resolve your case quickly and efficiently, in a fraction of the time that a typical court case takes.

The Benefits of Mediation

In mediation, you get a lot of input into the process. Instead of being assigned a judge, the parties can pick their own mediator from a list of qualified individuals who have experience in your particular dispute. Also, you can craft your own rules and procedures for the dispute, making them as formal or informal as you like. And since mediation is completely voluntary, you can begin the process and then abandon it if you don't feel comfortable, and then file your lawsuit.

Like arbitration, mediation has a number of advantages over litigation:

  • Mediation is typically much less expensive than litigation.
  • The length of the typical mediation process is typically far shorter than the average court case.
  • You can pick your mediator, rather than being randomly assigned a judge
  • The case is private—outsiders are not allowed to view the proceedings, and any settlement you reach is completely private.
  • Since the process is voluntary, you don't have to accept any settlement that is offered to you, and you can terminate the process at any time and go to court.
  • Mediation is a good way to test your case out early in the process, and it also allows you to gauge the strength of your opponent's case before you have to spend a lot of time and money on your case.
  • With mediation, you get to have your say without the constraints of a trial. This informality sometimes helps the parties to reach a settlement that can be elusive in a more formal and contentious trial.
  • If your case is not a discharge case, and you are still employed by the company and want to remain on good terms, mediation will typically make it much easier to preserve an ongoing relationship.

Drawbacks to Mediation

On the other hand, there are some things to think about before selecting mediation:

  • Typically, you won't have the right to do as much discovery and take as many depositions, if any, as you would in court.
  • You will not have a jury to decide your case.
  • Mediation settlements are generally lower than you would get before a jury.
  • Your case will not be in the public eye and, if you want to make a point, alert the media, or set a precedent for future case, you cannot do this in mediation.
  • Sometimes, you may feel pressured to settle a case in mediation that you would not feel in court—some mediators are very persuasive and will not hesitate to push the parties to a settlement.

Hands-On Legal Support from Start to Finish

At Buckley Beal, we have a great deal of experience in mediating employment disputes. We can walk you through the mediation process and protect you every step of the way. Have our team look over your case and assess whether mediation is right for you, or if you should have your day in court.

If you have any questions, give us a call at (404) 471-3725 to talk about your case.

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