The so-called “ADR process” has long been in play as a central component for addressing business conflict in the commercial realm. In recent years, too, it has progressively gained traction for its proven utility in the federal employment sphere.
First things first: What is ADR?
That oft-used acronym is the shorthand descriptor for “alternative dispute resolution.” The key term there is obviously “alternative,” with ADR being a complementary option to another commonly employed form of conflict resolution.
ADR’s main processes are commonly underscored as potentially preferable choices over formal litigation for resolving employer/worker conflict. They are spotlighted in the following paragraphs.
ADR’s most common methods: arbitration and mediation
Arbitration and mediation share many common characteristics. Unlike litigation, they both operate outside of court. It is often the case that both processes can resolve disputes faster and more cheaply than litigation, which is a more formalized procedure often marked by adversarialism every step of the way.
Similar but different: how arbitration and mediation contrast
There are a number of marled differences between the key ADR processes of arbitration and mediation. Following are some central distinctions.
For starters, an arbitral venue employs one or more arbitrators who essentially preside over a dispute as judges. With litigation, conversely, an outcome is mutually reached by the disputing parties themselves.
This too is key: The role of an arbitrator is to impartially sift through evidence and ultimately render an outcome (which is final in some instances and appealable to a court in others). On the other hand, a mediator’s function is to facilitate forward progress, that is, to act as a guide in finding common ground.
No particular process will work optimally in any given case. Whether employment-linked conflict can best be resolved through litigation, arbitration or mediation will depend on the facts and nature of a disputed matter.
An experienced federal employment law firm can provide further information.