As a small business owner, chances are that you will be involved in a dispute of some sort at some point, whether it is with a vendor, a customer, an employee, a competitor or even a business partner. Disputes can be as minor as disagreeing with a business partner over where to place the water cooler, or as serious as a former employee accusing you of discrimination. In any case, mediation may be an excellent way to get the dispute resolved.
Most people think that when a legal dispute arises, the court system is the only place that it can be sorted out. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Alternative dispute resolution processes like arbitration and mediation are rising in popularity thanks to the many benefits they boast over litigation. Mediation, for example, can save businesses significant expenses and time, not to mention preserving future relationships.
Here is a little more information on the mediation process:
Mediation involves the parties to a dispute meeting with a neutral third party in confidential negotiations. The mediator helps facilitate the conversation as both parties discuss the issues and their positions. The mediator does not make a decision, but may propose ideas to help settle the disputes.
Perhaps the best part about the mediation process is that it allows the parties to reach a creative solution that is tailor-made to their situation. By working together to reach a resolution, the parties are often able to maintain a collaborative business relationship going forward.
Some people worry about what will happen in mediation fails. The simple answer is that if mediation does not work, the parties can pursue litigation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Keep reading to find out more about the mediation and arbitration processes.