Hostile work environments are unfortunately all too common in today’s workplaces. Many factors, such as discrimination, harassment or retaliation, can create them. Employees subjected to a hostile work environment may feel powerless and unsure how to proceed. They may assume their only option is to go to court, which can be intimidating and expensive.
However, there are options available beyond filing a traditional lawsuit. One example is a cooperative approach to resolving disputes – mediation. It can be more efficient, cost-effective and amicable than traditional litigation.
Why choose mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that requires both parties to agree to work together and in good faith to reach a resolution. Together, they can identify and address the underlying issues causing the dispute. And this will be done through a series of meetings until both parties are satisfied with the result.
Here, unlike in traditional litigation, parties work with a neutral party as a mediator. This person facilitates conversations, ensuring they are balanced, and that one party does not take advantage of the other.
The benefits of mediation
Mediation can be particularly effective for disputes involving ongoing relationships or where creative solutions are needed. Here are some of its benefits:
- Less adversarial: It is more focused on finding solutions that work for both parties. Rather than winning or losing, the objective here is an amicable resolution that might not be possible in a court proceeding.
- More efficient: Like other alternative dispute resolutions, mediation can be a more efficient process than litigation. It does not require extensive discovery, court appearances, or a trial which can save time and money for both parties.
- More creative solutions: It also allows both parties to develop solutions that are tailored to their specific needs and interests. This approach makes it possible for more creative and satisfying outcomes than those available through litigation.
- Preserves relationships: Since the type of negotiation and the method of communication involved in mediation is less adversarial, the relationship between the employee and the employer can continue, if parties so desire.
Employees deserve a safe, fair workplace, but they do not always need to fight for one in court. Mediating disputes may be the type of approach that works best for employees who want to protect their rights.