The ABCs of ADR

To avoid costly, time-consuming litigation, many employers are settling disputes outside of the courtroom through the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

ADR offers both employers and employees a win-win situation by finding a common ground, then constructing a creative and collaborative solution.

Four commonly used ADR techniques are:

Mediation: A trained facilitator, known as a mediator, assists the disputing parties resolve their difference informally by helping them achieve a mutually acceptable agreement.

Arbitration: A neutral third party resolves a dispute after hearing arguments and reviewing evidence from both parties.

Conciliation: A neutral third party helps resolve disputes by improving communication, lowering tensions and identifying issues and potential solutions by shuttling information between the disputing parties.

Ombudsman strategy: An ombudsman investigates and expedites complaints, helping either of the parties settle a dispute or proposing changes to make the system more responsive to the needs of the complainant.

There are five key advantages to mediation.

  • Mediation often saves time and money.
  • Mediation is a confidential process.
  • Settlement agreements secured during mediation do not constitute an admission by the employer.
  • Mediation helps maintain relationships between the parties.
  • Mediation strives to treat both parties in an equitable and fair manner.
  • Gordon Friedrich is vice president and corporate counsel of The Reserves Network.