In Part I of the Discussion of Mediation for Employers and Employees, I discussed the growth of mediation in employment law and the recognition on the part of both employers and employees that mediation most often results in a time savings, and therefore cost savings. By enlisting an experienced Arizona attorney mediator fluent in the law and skilled at bringing participants to common ground and resolution, both sides win.
Mediation is certainly an expedient resolution method once a legal dispute has arisen. However, it is also extremely effective in addressing a problem before it has risen to the level that one party might take legal action, whether through the Arizona Civil Rights Division, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”), the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, or the courts. By using a mediator early in the dispute, employers can not only prevent bigger and more expensive problems from forming, but can also increase employee confidence and productivity.
Should a difficulty arise between co-workers or between an employee and manager, a neutral third-party mediator can encourage open and honest discussion in a non-adversarial environment that can preserve employment relationship. The mediation process itself is a process of respectful exchange and focus on solutions, which itself can improve frayed employer-employee relations. In the same vein, using mediation for conflicts between employees can forestall greater problems by nipping them in the bud before they become a drain on resources and productivity. This is a wise use of mediation as it brings about productive resolution rather than passively allowing a problem to fester and undermine relations in the workplace. It shows the employer’s concern for the employees and for investing in answers so that all involved can return to the work of the company. Just as important, it shows employees that their opinions and what is important to them, matters.
Mediation is designed to preserve relationships rather than destroy or undermine them. Employers know that their businesses are more efficient and profitable when employees are able to focus on the work rather than disputes and problems, so logically, all employers interested in increasing efficiency ought to consider the benefits of mediation in the workplace. To the same end, any employee with a growing problem at work, or a potential suit or legal complaint is wise to propose mediation to his or her employer in order to address and resolve the problem.