employment contracts are created to protect the interests of the
employer. The employee agrees to the terms and then signs the
contract. In many instances, employees do not have lawyers review
the contract on their behalf. Later, when performance issues arise,
or when there are allegations of a breach and employment termination
is apparent, disputes about interpretation of the contract terms
are quite common. Disputes about intellectual property, sales
territories, ownership of client database are typical.
affords parties an opportunity to reach a settlement, without
the cost of litigation. If an agreement cannot be reached, a second
alternative is arbitration,
whereby an arbitrator would conduct a hearing and render a decision
as to the outcome.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES (ADA) and DISCRIMINATION
conflicts occur every day. Complaints among employees, performance
evaluations, personality conflicts between an employee and a supervisor
are examples of common issues. Interpretations by an employee
of being mistreated often lead to allegations of discrimination.
When ignored, conflicts and miscommunication spiral, thus leading
to lost productivity, loss of personnel, and potential lawsuits.
This is costly to businesses since recruiting, training and development,
and payment of unemployment insurance is one of the highest operational
expenses to employers. Lost revenues relating to low morale among
employees is yet another cost to businesses.
are a business’ greatest asset; employees can also be a
business’ greatest expense. That is why every employer should
have a grievance policy and procedures manual. ACCORD provides
conflict resolution consulting, mediation, and human resource
support in order that employers can focus more on their business.
Developing a process that allows employees to feel valued, and
that their basic needs are heard and addressed will result in
higher retention, greater satisfaction, higher morale and higher
an employer is downsizing and having to make difficult decisions
about who to let go, the transition is a highly emotional time
for both the employer and the individual who is being asked to
leave. Fear and concern about accusations and potential lawsuits
begin to emerge. Mediation can be useful when parties are negotiating
a severance package that is reasonable to both sides.
When an employer has lax or inconsistent company policies and procedures, misunderstandings about expectations between the employer and the employee are very common. If these understandings are not addressed when they occur, or when concerns are finally communicated to the employee by means of their performance review months after the fact, angry emotions and counterproductive comments are inevitable.
Mediation is an appropriate venue to discuss sensitive issues and find mutually acceptable solutions.
Mediation is also a way to avoid problems with the Labor Board and potential lawsuits. ACCORD highly recommends that all employers have a company policy and procedures manual.
Our sister company, ADDENDA Solutions and Business Services prepares these manuals, trainings, professional development seminars and executive coaching to managers.
It is a shame to lose a good employee due to something that can be prevented or worked out. However, when personality dynamcis interferes with productivity, customer service and quality of work, it is an issue that needs to be nipped in the bud immediately. The longer the issue festers, the greater the probability of a good employee leaving. It is expensive to advertise, recruit, interview, arrange for benefits and payroll and train a new employee. Mediation could be the answer. The process is quick and affordable.
SAMPLE ADR CLAUSES
If a dispute, controversy or claim arises out of or relates to this contract, or the breach, termination or validity thereof, and if either party decides that the dispute cannot be settled through direct discussions, the parties agree to endeavor to settle the dispute in an amicable manner by mediation pursuant to NYS CPLR Article 78 – Rules and practices governing mediation and arbitration processes by community dispute resolution centers, through ACCORD Mediation Services of Rochester, New York, with offices in Rochester, Canandaigua and Saranac Lake, NY. Costs for mediation shall be equally divided, unless the parties otherwise agree to an alternative payment arrangement. If this mediation does not result in a settlement, then the dispute shall be resolved by binding arbitration pursuant to [clause (b) below]. [Alternatively, the parties may provide for litigation in a court specified by the parties.
Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of, relating to, or in connection with, this contract, or the breach, termination or validity thereof, shall be finally settled by arbitration. The arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with [NYS CPLR Article 78 – Rules and practices governing mediation and arbitration processes] in effect at the time of the arbitration, except as they may be modified herein or by mutual agreement of the parties. The seat of the arbitration shall be [select city / county and State], and it shall be conducted in the English language. The arbitration shall be conducted by [select one or three] arbitrators, as agreed by the disputing parties, who shall be selected in accordance with the rules set forth by the American Arbitration Association.
The arbitral award shall be in writing and shall be final and binding on the parties. The award may include an award of costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees and disbursements. Judgment upon the award may be entered by any court having jurisdiction thereof or having jurisdiction over the parties or their assets.