When it comes to disputes in the workplace, there are several ways to resolve them without taking the case to the court. The basic ways of resolving disputes are mediation, conciliation and arbitration. Mediation is a process when an intermediary is hired in order to help resolve a dispute by finding a compromise, so that both sides are satisfied. Conciliation is similar to mediation,
But it is concerned with legal disputes. In this article, we will deal with arbitration.
Arbitration is a dispute resolving process that uses a private arbitrator, who is an impartial outsider serving to secede between two points of view. Before involving an arbitrator, the sides involved in the dispute should decide whether the arbitrator’s decision is to be legally binding or not. If they decide that it is, then they need to go along with the decision. If not, they can still decide to take the case to a court.
There are two types of arbitration: voluntary and compulsory (or forced) arbitration. Voluntary arbitration implies that both parties under a dispute decide to hire an arbitrator in order to resolve the dispute. Compulsory or forced arbitration is the one which is imposed as one of the conditions for the employment. Despite its name, forced arbitration does not actually force the employees to accept this method of resolving disputes. However, this kind of agreement usually restricts you from taking the case to the public court, and your only other option if you do not accept arbitration is not taking the job you are offered or losing the job you have. Whereas voluntary arbitration is a convenient and generally good dispute resolving system, forced arbitration is not. Forced arbitration is considered bad because it deprives some of your rights as an employee, such as your right to take the dispute to the court, and denying the arbitration may bring you significant losses in terms of employment.
Disputes can take many forms and they can arise between different parties: an employer and an employee, two or more employees, two or more groups of employees etc. Arbitration is most frequently used to resolve collective disputes and it is one of the most convenient ways to resolve them. For example, when a trade union cannot agree with an employer and they consider going into strike, then an arbitrator is often hired to estimate the situation and make the decision.
Other than collective disputes, arbitration can also be used in individual ones. If an employer and an employee decide to hire an arbitrator when they have a dispute, it can be a good way of resolving a problem, because it is cheaper, simpler and much less stressful then getting a court or a tribunal involved. However, it is much less formal, and both sides need to agree on taking arbitration and accepting the arbitrator’s decision in order for the process to be successful and meaningful. Prior to hiring an arbitrator, they need to sign an agreement that the advice from the arbitrator will be taken and his decision accepted as fully valid. The decision of the arbitrator, as well as his performance, can improve law firm branding of the firm he works for – therefore it is in best interest (for both sides and for arbitrator as well) to settle the dispute in the best possible way.