Mediate early to avoid court time

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It’s all about early intervention when you have conflicts at work or potentially litigious current or former employees. Mediation can be the best preventative step to avoid a lawsuit.

“The value of bringing in a mediator is that the mediator’s not part of the organization so they have a 360 view of the situation and is better received because he or she has no vested interest,” says civil mediator Nicholas Knight, from Take 2 Mediation. “Too often I see the issue blowing past mediation and the person is already thinking that the only way they’re going to get resolution is through legal means.”

A British study showed that while the average settlement was £5000 ($8000), the average court case cost £8000 ($12,800), so the lower cost of a mediator could save companies big bucks in court costs. Knight says mediators often charge a flat fee for each case, rather than the billable hours of a lawyer.

Ontario introduced compulsory mediation for civil cases and since the change has seen 66% of cases settled during mediation, rather than in court.

Some larger organizations have mediators “on call” to deal with issues, and these companies report happier employees, Knight says.

“Companies that usually use mediators to complement their HR stream usually have a happier work environment and their employees feel they have an outlet if something should happen and it’s not going to be someone from within the organization who may have a bias or vested interest,” he says.


 

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