In order to get the job done more quickly, employees, as well as their superiors, are expected to work hand-in-hand. Having to work closely requires not only skill but professionalism as well, as each workplace is filled with employees of different, and most of the time clashing, personalities. Letting these differences get in the way will allow workplace disputes to arise.

Any kind of workplace dispute, whether it’s a simple misunderstanding or something major like discrimination accusations, should be carefully handled and resolved. Filing complaints or other more formal processes is often the option if the root of the dispute is discrimination or any other serious violations. However, employees also have the option to engage in an alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Alternative Dispute Resolution

ADR is an informal dispute resolution system which serves only as a substitute – not a replacement – to formal resolution systems. In formal processes, the management is to determine who is at fault and who the victim in a dispute is. In ADR, employees explore other solutions acceptable to all parties to resolve the concerns in the workplace, therefore eliminating the need of an external party.

Approaches and techniques for ADR include mediation, facilitated negotiation, facilitation, and ombudsman. Such techniques, with assistance of a neutral third party, allow employees to discuss the issue and find a solution to it. Aside from the aforementioned, other ADR techniques also include

  • Arbitration – An “arbitrator” makes a decision based on employee’s arguments then makes a decision.
  • Mediation-Arbitration – In Med-arb, a mediator will let the parties reach their own agreement, but will do arbitration for the final decision.

Employees Who may Use ADR

ADR may be used to resolve interpersonal disputes, disciplinary or performance-related actions, and other kinds of violations of regulations including discrimination. Civil servant employees, including high-level managers, temporary appointees, administrative staff, and other employees may be asked to participate in an ADR, or may request to have other individuals who may be involved in the issue to participate as well.

However, employees still have the right to pursue a formal dispute resolution process, as long as they meet any required deadlines. ADR options should be pursued at the earliest possible time to minimize any disruptions and stress. All ADR processes are confidential and emphasize voluntariness and neutrality.

There is a chance that ADRs may not work as well as expected, that is why formally complaining with the help of a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer still needs to be done.