It is now commonplace to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve employment disputes, including discrimination cases arising under Title VII, the ADEA, and state and local legislation. Employment agreements frequently contain mandatory arbitration provisions that are legally binding and enforceable. In addition, virtually every court or administrative agency empowered to hear discrimination cases now requires mediation as part of the formal adjudication process (Spangler, 2003) . After explaining briefly these ADR techniques, it is the purpose of this paper to discuss their relative advantages and disadvantages in comparison with traditional litigation.
There is a wide range of ADR techniques available to assist in resolving issues in controversy relating to workplace conflict. These include negotiation, facilitation (i.e., facilitative mediation), evaluative mediation (neutral evaluation and the "settlement judge" approach), fact-finding, mini-trials, summary trials with binding decision, arbitration, and the use of ombuds, as well as mix of these techniques (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002).
Mediation is almost always a required procedure built into the litigation process to divert cases away from the court and voluntarily selected by the parties to secure a prompt and cost-effective resolution of an employment dispute (Baker and Ali, 2002). Either way, the parties appear before a neutral third party who is commonly a lawyer familiar with employment law and/or litigation. The parties meet initially to discuss ground rules and to sign a mediation agreement that invariably contains a provision making strictly confidential all matters and proposals discussed in mediation. During the initial session, the mediator often asks each party to discuss the merits of the case as well as potential settlement alternatives. The mediator talks separately and privately with each of the parties in... [continues]
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