Proven advocates provide reliable ADR representation for Georgia businesses and employees
When employment disputes arise, it’s in both parties’ interests to seek a timely, cost-effective resolution. At DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC in Atlanta, our attorneys have extensive experience with alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration. We are adept at achieving positive results for our clients. We represent businesses and employees, and that added perspective makes us even more effective in advocating for our clients.
Capable lawyers explain how alternative dispute resolution works in employment disputes
Alternative dispute resolution refers to methods that are outside traditional negotiation and litigation in court. ADR basically falls into two categories:
- Mediation — In mediation, a neutral third party guides opposing sides to a reasonable, mutually beneficial compromise or a creative solution. Mediation is appropriate for conflicts that arise from relationships or corporate culture, and when the goal is to reach greater understanding and change behavior to improve situations. For example, if an employee or a representative group felt that treatment within the organization was unfair or discriminatory, or that working conditions were unacceptable, mediation would help the parties express their concerns and formulate a plan for improvement.
- Arbitration — In arbitration, two opposing parties ask an arbitrator to hear their case and act as a judge. An arbitrator decides a case based on existing law, ruling in favor of one side. Rather than imposing his or her own remedy on the case, the arbitrator generally chooses the outcome that the prevailing party had proposed. Arbitration can be binding, which means the parties agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision, or nonbinding, which allows a disappointed party to take the case to court. Arbitration is appropriate when parties are seeking a legal judgment under the law and a specific amount of compensation or monetary damages.
Either ADR method is generally faster and less expensive than taking the dispute to court.
Skilled attorneys advise on employment cases that may benefit from alternative dispute resolution
Virtually any type of employment conflict can be resolved through ADR. Here are some examples of common cases that benefit from arbitration or mediation:
- Wage and hour disputes — If employees allege, for example, that the company has wrongly denied them overtime by misclassifying them, an arbitrator can decide on the facts whether the employees qualify for overtime.
- Breach of contract — If there is a question of whether a breach has occurred, mediation can help parties reach a better understanding of their agreement and reform the contract to eliminate misunderstandings. Mediation can be instrumental in preserving the relationship between a company and its employees in contract disputes, especially when it comes to highly complex executive contracts. When a breach is clear, arbitration allows the parties to get a swift decision on the appropriate remedy.
- Noncompete violations — Because violations of a noncompete agreement can quickly do permanent damage to a company, immediate action is imperative. Filing a lawsuit and requesting an injunction is often a necessary first step. From there, a company can use ADR to resolve issues over stolen trade secrets, employee raiding or other alleged violations.
- Whistleblower retaliation — A company cannot discipline any employee for whistleblower activity. If an employee perceives changes in work assignments as retaliation, ADR can be a useful tool to resolve the situation.
ADR can save companies significantly in both time and expense. For example, whenever there is a possibility of compensation or penalties being paid, a swift resolution avoids the problem of interest, which raises the cost to a company.
Contact a Georgia law firm experienced with arbitration and mediation
DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC in Atlanta provides alternative dispute resolution services for employers and employees including mediation and arbitration. Call us at 470-443-0524 or contact us online to arrange a consultation. Our Atlanta office is ADA accessible.