Disputes between employees and employers can quickly get ugly, and we’ve seen them arise from just about every situation one might imagine. In the worst cases, these disputes could result in lawsuits, serious damage to a company’s public reputation and a variety of other negative consequences.
One key fact to keep in mind when these disputes come up is that it is in the best interest of both parties to reach a resolution as quickly as possible. Very rarely is there a situation in which the employee filing a claim actually wants to go to court, as it is both expensive and time consuming. As a result, one of the best means of resolving these disputes is mediation.
Through this process, both parties meet with a third-party mediator, whose job is essentially to keep communication open and constructive. The mere presence of a mediator greatly increases the chances of resolving the dispute outside of court. A mediator is able to keep each party focused on finding a resolution that meets both of their needs and is able to put a stop to any bickering or sidetracking that occurs.
While neither party is under any obligation to accept recommendations mediators make and the entire process is non-binding, it can be incredibly helpful toward reaching a positive conclusion to an employment dispute.
What types of disputes may be resolved through mediation?
There are several situations in which disputes between employers and employees can arise. These include the following:
- An employee might accuse an employer, a manager or a coworker of some form of harassment
- An employee might contend that they are either terminated or denied a promotion because of race, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, age or disability
- An employee could argue he or she was wrongfully terminated
- An employee could argue they are the victim of workplace retaliation for any reason, such as after alerting supervisors to wrongful actions taking place within the organization
There are a variety of laws at both the federal and territorial levels that outline certain elements of workplace conduct. Employers are expected to follow these guidelines at all times. If they do not, they could face serious legal consequences.
Even if the employer is not directly responsible for any wrong done to an employee, it could still face consequences. For example, an employer could be considered liable for a single supervisor harassing employees—even in a situation in which the employee does not report the incident. One of the best ways to address this issue is using mediation, which is typically considered a sufficient means of approaching the problem and attempting to resolve it without further litigation.
For more information on when and how to turn to mediation when facing a workplace dispute, consult an experienced employment and labor law attorney in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ravinder S. Nagi is Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Practice Group at BoltNagi, a widely respected and established labor law firm serving businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.