On the world scene, peace talks are usually considered a better way to attempt resolution of disputes than armed conflict. Similarly in the workplace, mediation may be a better way to resolve workplace disputes than fighting it out in court.

Mediation is non‑binding, informal, and quick. The mediator is typically an attorney or retired judge specializing in employment law and chosen mutually by both sides.

Both sides usually split the cost and attorney’s fees amount to far less than in litigation. There is great motivation to get results and to avoid the lengthy, expensive, and risky litigation route.

If some progress is made but no agreement achieved, the parties are given a “mediator’s compromise” as a final solution. The agreement is only revealed if both sides agree. In that way, the mediator can confidentially try to accomplish what the parties cannot directly do themselves.

Mediation should be considered before a lawsuit for a wide variety of concerns including employee harassment.

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Don D. Sessions, a Mission Viejo attorney, author and law school professor, helps employees enforce their rights.

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