WHAT IS AN EMPLOYMENT MEDIATION?
An employment mediation is the outside-of-court attempt, led by a private, neutral third-party, to resolve a case involving any kind of employee 'versus' employer case or lawsuit. Whether the case is for unpaid wages, unreimbursed business expenses, unpaid meal or rest breaks, or discrimination or harassment of any kind (to name just a few types of claims), employment cases can be brought under a multitude of circumstances, and need only have the agreement of the parties in order to engage in private mediation.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF MEDIATION?
There are only pros! Employment-related disputes in particular can have exorbitant results for both parties, especially if litigated through to a trial. It is widely agreed in the legal field that the best option to help resolve conflicts more efficiently and economically is mediation. While mediation is a more informal process compared to litigation, good legal representation, like that offered by Employment Mediation Corp, is nonetheless essential in ensuring the parties’ rights are protected, and that any settlement obtained is in their best interests.
WHEN SHOULD PARTIES CONDUCT EMPLOYMENT MEDIATION?
The timing of a mediation in any kind of dispute varies greatly, and is often at the discretion of the parties', their counsel, and/or the judge overseeing the case. However, as mentioned above, the longer a case is drawn out through litigation without resolution, the more costly and time-consuming the results. EMC recommends visiting the idea of early private mediation (even pre-suit, where possible) with the other party(-ies) at the earliest strategic convenience.
WHAT PREPARATION IS NEEDED FOR A MEDIATION WITH EMC?
Once a mediation is scheduled with our team, you will receive detailed paperwork confirming the date, time, and preparation required for the session. Typically, EMC requests that each party prepare and send a brief (which is usually on pleading paper or in the form of a letter or correspondence) explaining, in detail, your claims or defenses to the mediator, including: the laws, statutes, codes, and/or rules that you are using to either bring your case or defend yourself from a case; any citations to case precedents that support your case or defense; an accounting of the damages you believe you are entitled to, if you are bringing the case; and any other information that you believe will assist us in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your side of the dispute. We generally suggest that your brief be shared with the other party as well, but if confidentiality is preferred, your brief and materials will be kept 100% confidential from any other party. If desired, we are happy to schedule a call with any party in advance of the mediation to discuss preparation further, please just reach out to the Case Manager!
WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF A MEDIATION?
The structure of a mediation, employment or otherwise, can vary greatly depending on the number of parties involved, if insurance or other liability carriers are involved, and if the mediation is held in-person or via Zoom videoconference, among other variables. In general, though, the parties and their counsel are kept separated from the other side, either in physical rooms or Zoom "breakout" rooms, and the mediator will move between rooms to facilitate negotiations as well as to ask/answer questions and/or address accusations from the other side. The amount of time spent in any one room is hard to predict, so patience and understanding is crucial in letting the mediator handle the dispute and negotiations on a case-by-case basis.
On the day of the mediation, you or your counsel will want to bring or have access to all documents relevant to your case - for example, the complaint you filed in court, the paystubs that show the alleged wage violations, or the disciplinary file for the employee. You should also have a copy of the brief you submitted in advance of the session for your own reference (the mediator will have copies already). We suggest dressing business-casual, and showing up (or, logging into Zoom) approximately 15 minutes early to allow us time to get everyone situated in their respective rooms. Depending on the kind of dispute your case involves, the mediation is likely to take all day, so planning on bringing or ordering lunch is also recommended (our team is happy to assist with this). For in-person mediations, if you are bringing a cell phone, laptop, or other electronic device, we also suggest bringing the charger(s).