Saturday, September 09, 2006

Starting the Mediation Process- An Employment Case

Let's say you are not represented by an attorney, but you have heard about the benefits of mediation, that it saves time, money and your sanity. And it turns out that you are short on at least one of the three, making the pursuit of litigation for the next couple years an unattractive option.

Ok, so you are not represented by an attorney and you want to get a fair resolution in your wrongful termination case against your employer but you have not found an attorney to work with. But you do have a feeling that your former employer is just as interested as you are in putting this issue to rest.

You do some research and find a mediator you think has the right experience in handling employment cases and has the right attitude in being fair and impartial but persistent and dedicated in her approach to mediating cases. You contact the mediator and explain that you are self-represented, that you have (or have not) filed a civil lawsuit and that you would like the mediator's help in getting the employer's agreement to mediate this case. You explain that you are pursuing mediation to save everyone time and money so you can get a fair result and take a well-deserved vacation before starting your next job. (Or you leave that last part out.)

The mediator writes a letter and calls the employer to discuss mediation in this case. The mediator discusses the employee's desire to mediate an early settlement as a strong incentive to get an agreement to mediate from the employer, because that is likely the first common ground to be found between the parties. The mediator relies on the employer's own interests in avoiding drawn out public litigation which may be bad for business because of negative publicity as well as the financial drain in attorney's fees to defend an employment lawsuit and possibly paying higher insurance premiums.

Once both parties have agreed to mediate, a mediation date is set, briefs are prepared and the mediation is underway.

Alternatively, if you are already represented by an attorney, you can tell your attorney about your idea and the mediator you have in mind, or you can contact the mediator directly and have the mediator contact your attorney and the other parties to discuss a "cease fire." Attorneys frequently raise the possibility of mediation with their clients, as it is usually in the best interests of the parties to at least explore this Alternative Dispute Resolution option as early as possible to avoid incurring significant fees and costs when a mediated result is possible.

No comments: