When you have what seems like an intractable conflict with an employee, a client or a supplier, it may seem like there is no way for your business to resolve the issue without going to court. It is certainly true that you need to take legal action to defend your company against illegal actions or the violation of contracts.
However, it is possible to pursue some alternative forms of dispute resolution with business partners and staff before you head to court. In fact, many companies include mandatory arbitration clauses in their employment contracts with the express intention of keeping conflicts out of the legal system.
More plainly stated, companies insist on workers agreeing to third-party review for issues to ensure better and faster dispute resolution. Even if your company does not mandate arbitration, it is worth considering that or mediation to resolve outstanding conflicts.
Arbitration offers a fresh perspective
In an arbitration scenario, both parties present their side of the story to a neutral third party. This individual serves a similar role to the one a judge would serve in court. They listen to claims and potentially review evidence to decide what is fair and reasonable. They will then make a recommendation for the resolution of the issue.
Arbitration can be binding, meaning that the parties agree going into it to abide by the decision of the arbitrator. It can also be non-binding, meaning that it is still possible to go to court if either party cannot abide by the decision made in arbitration.
Mediation is a more active, compromise-driven process
Resolving workplace or business conflicts is important for your company, but you may not want to sacrifice the relationship with the other party to do so. In some scenarios, mediation is a better solution for business conflicts than arbitration. Like arbitration, mediation can be binding or non-binding.
Mediation focuses on compromise, with each party explaining their side and preferred outcome and then the mediator helping them find a solution but typically involves compromise on both sides. Mediation can feel less judicial and can therefore be a way to discuss the issues that led to the conflict in the first place, potentially opening the doorway for a renewed relationship between the parties involved later on.
Both arbitration and mediation can help you keep your issues out of court while also resolving problems that can no longer go unaddressed. Alternative dispute resolution is more private, helping you keep the issues you experience from becoming a matter of public record. It may also be possible for you to reduce the overall expense to your business through arbitration or mediation as opposed to court-based dispute resolution.