Employment and family law disputes can become a lengthy court battle; however, a more amicable and cost-effective approach is mediation. While this form of alternative dispute resolution avoids court intervention, consulting an experienced mediation attorney is essential.
Leah Eccles Watson, founding attorney of Human Alchemy, is a highly regarded employment and family law attorney. Leah dedicates her practice to providing comprehensive legal services in administrative hearings and pre-litigation employment matters as well as representing clients in collaborative and uncontested family law cases. When you consult our winning legal team, you will have confidence knowing that we will handle your matter efficiently and professionally and always work to protect your interests.
In the event of a dispute between an employee and a current or former employer, the parties can seek an alternative to litigation known as mediation. Mediation is a non-judicial proceeding in which a mediator tries to facilitate a resolution or settlement between the parties.
Because a mediator is not a judge, he or she cannot order a settlement between the employer and employee. Instead, the mediator works to communicate each party’s concerns to the other and helps them reach an agreement. If the employer and employee are unable to reach a resolution, litigation may be necessary. In cases where an employment agreement is in place, the terms may require the parties to arbitrate the matter before going to court.
How is mediation different from arbitration?
Arbitration differs from mediation in that an arbitrator, unlike a mediator, has the authority to bind the parties to a resolution. The arbitrator oversees and governs the process, which is often less complex and formal than litigation. Courts typically enforce arbitration provisions because this process is more cost-effective and expedient than litigating a case.
Generally, for a mandatory arbitration agreement to be fair, the process must be overseen by a neutral arbitrator and provide a range of legal remedies. In short, arbitration is an alternative forum for resolving employment-related disputes; it cannot, however, interfere with an employee’s right to seek administrative or judicial relief.
Common Employment-Related Disputes
Workplace disputes often arise from discrimination and wrongful termination claims. Both state and federal laws prohibit employers from making employment decisions (e.g. hiring, promotion, termination) based on certain protected traits.
In particular, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion and other characteristics. Moreover, the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), bars discrimination on additional protected charateristics such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status.
At Human Alchemy, PLLC we work to protect the interests of employers through mediation and arbitration. Regardless of the forum, we strive to reach workable solutions.
Family Law Mediation
Because divorce litigation can be expensive and time-consuming, family law mediation may be a better option. This is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral mediator works with the spouses to reach a negotiated settlement instead of litigating the divorce through a bench trial.
It is worth noting that divorce litigation involves a lengthy discovery period and the related attorneys’ fees and legal costs. On the other hand, divorce mediation generally requires 3 to 6 sessions to reach a resolution. Mediation can also help to minimize the tension that is associated with a litigated divorce. For mediation to be successful, however, both parties must be able to negotiate in good faith.
In short, mediation can establish an atmosphere of empathy and understanding in which the spouses can engage in an open and honest discussion, rather than a bitter dispute. In divorce cases involving minor children, mediation can also create an environment that enables the spouses to continue raising the children and mitigate the emotional harm that is often inevitable during such a difficult transition. Ultimately, the key issues of divorce can be resolved more quickly and amicably when both parties cooperate.
How is mediation different from collaborative divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution that does not involve a neutral third party acting as the mediator. Instead, the spouses and their attorneys agree not to litigate the matter and collaborate work with a group of experts, such as financial professionals and child psychologists, to resolve the key issues. The parties must be able to negotiate in good faith and cannot engage in ethical conduct, such as concealing assets.
Collaborative divorce is ideally suited for spouses who wish to continue co-parenting their children. If the parties cannot reach an agreement and court intervention becomes necessary, however, they must find new attorneys to litigate the matter. If you believe that collaborative divorce is the best option for you, it is crucial to work with the right attorney. Leah Eccles Watson has specialized training in collaborative family law and a proven track record of helping her clients reach fair and equitable settlements in divorce and related family law matters.
Contact Our Vancouver Mediation Attorney
At Human Alchemy, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the legal system and working to minimize disruptions to their businesses and personal lives. For those who are willing to engage in collaborative negotiations to resolve their employment and family law matters, Leah Eccles Watson is the experienced choice in mediation. Please contact our office today to learn how we can help you resolve your matter successfully.
Human Alchemy, PLLC offers mediation services in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington metro areas.