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Alternate resolution mechanisms for employment disputes

A recent fact-finding report has observed that litigation stemming from employment disputes has been rising over the last two decades. Michigan employees and employers who have been part of employment litigation know that it is costly. An alternative means of settling employment disputes amicably and swiftly is available.

The success of any alternative dispute resolution mechanism depends on the willingness of employees to participate in establishing and maintaining such a system. Employees from a cross-section of positions should be involved in designing and administering an in-house dispute resolution system. Employee participation ensures a certain trust that the system will work because trust allows more disputes to be resolved internally, without escalating them to formal complaints.

Most dispute resolution systems experts say that every organization should have multiple methods of in-house dispute resolution in place due to the variety of the problems that may arise in a workplace, as well as the preference of individuals involved in disputes. The most popular methods of dispute resolution adopted by organizations include direct negotiations between parties involved in the dispute, peer review, fact-finding exercises and counseling. Providing adequate information about the options available to employees for dispute resolution helps build their trust.

Employment dispute resolution mechanisms which are unilaterally managed and administered by only the employer are perceived to be biased. Representation of workers by independent entities not controlled by the management, such as labor unions, is essential to remove any bias.

Successful implementation of ADR systems has the potential to supplement formal modes of enforcement of employee rights through courts or government agencies. Different systems tailored to resolve different kinds of disputes must be in place, and active efforts should be made to ensure employee participation.

Source: DOL.gov, "Employment Litigation and Dispute Resolution," Accessed on March 25, 2015

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