Alternate Dispute Resolution at Darden Restaurants and Hooters of America

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ADR at Darden Restaurants and Hooters of America

More companies are turning to alternate dispute resolution (ADR) as an alterative to the judicial system for settling employee disputes. There are some clear advantages and disadvantages to ADR for both employers and employees. The best-designed ADR programs are those that are fair and impartial. A good ADR program should seek to find the best possible outcome for both parties while saving time and money and preserving relationships. The least effective ADR programs tend to be unfair and perpetuate the imbalance and bargaining power discrepancy frequently found in employer-employee relationships.

In this paper, I will compare the ADR programs of Darden Restaurants and Hooters of America. My basis for comparison will be measured primarily on how well they address the advantages of ADR equally for the employer and the employee. It should be noted that Darden’s is considered to be a model program due to its comprehensiveness and fairness. By contrast – perhaps unsurprisingly – it is disappointing to see that Hooters has constructed an ADR program that offers little justice to its employees.

Advantages of using ADR

ADR can save vast amounts of time and money. While lawsuits can take years and thousands of dollars to settle, through ADR, conflicts can often be resolved in a matter of weeks or months at a greatly reduced cost. There are potential savings in court costs, attorney fees, and expert witness fees when a dispute is settled through mediation, arbitration, or a combination of both. Potential disadvantages of ADR are the wasted time and increased cost that are incurred when a dispute goes through ADR but still ends up in court.

At Darden, there are four ways to resolve workplace disputes – Open Door Policy, Peer Review, Mediation, and Arbitration. Each is designed to encourage settlement without litigation and each is promoted as an effective alternative to litigation that is fair to...
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