ADA, Employment, Labor, System Design, Workplace
5/06:Fresno County farmer challenges state's mandatory labor mediation
A Fresno County farming company is suing the state, saying it unfairly imposed a requirement to negotiate with a labor union on behalf of thousands of its workers. Gerawan Farming Company, one of the largest tree fruit growers in the state, is suing the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the United Farm Workers union, alleging the state failed to meet the requirements for imposing mandatory mediation against the company. The 42-page lawsuit, filed Monday in Fresno County Superior Court, also claims the process is unconstitutional. read
4/24:Stripper class action sent to arbitration
The three strippers who filed a class action lawsuit against their former employer have agreed to participate in arbitration. read
4/22:Organic farms rethink unpaid internships after back pay mediation
Some organic farmers are rethinking taking on interns this growing season after a Vancouver Island farm was forced to pay thousands of dollars in back wages to unpaid workers. read
4/14:IRB appoints mediator for Arlington-horsemen dispute
Retired judge will try to reconcile contract battle that threatens Illinois betting on Kentucky Derby. read
4/11:9th Circuit arbitration ruling could impact employment cases
An en banc panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a dispute between former students and a bank that held their student loans was subject to arbitration. The ruling could have broad implications, including in employment disputes. read
4/09:Can Mediation Improve EEOC Conciliation?
Lorene Schaefer has seen employment discrimination from both sides—as a general counsel who handled bias complaints against her company, and then as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit charging gender discrimination. read
4/02:Canada: Alleged Sexist Comments At OLRB Safety-Reprisal Mediation Were Privileged, Could Not Form Basis For Discrimination Complaint
An alleged comment that "women don't like to do that job", and other discussions at an Ontario Labour Relations Board safety-reprisal mediation, were privileged and could not form the basis for a discrimination complaint, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has decided. read
3/24:California Court of Appeal finds employment arbitration agreement barring class claims unconscionable
In Compton v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B236669 (2d Dist. Mar. 19, 2013), a divided panel of the Second District Court of Appeal reversed the Los Angeles Superior Court’s order compelling arbitration of her wage-and-hour class action complaint. read
3/21:Goldman wins ruling to arbitrate discrimination claim
Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Thursday won a U.S. court order allowing it to send a former employee's gender discrimination claim to arbitration, rather than being forced to defend against her claims in a class action lawsuit. read
3/20:Mediating non-compete disputes in the medical device industry
The medical device industry remains a hotbed for non-compete litigation, and the reason is plain and simple. Economic justification. Sales reps develop close relationships with surgeons who purchase millions of dollars worth of medical devices each year. read
Business As Usual? Mediation and the Justice System (5/16/13) Charlie Irvine This article considers the under-use of mediation in the UK's second largest jurisdiction, Scotland. The article has three sections: a "myth buster" and two questions. The first examines three popular myths about mediation; the second addresses the question, "How does mediation add value to the justice system"; and the third presents the business case for lawyers, "Why does mediation make good business sense?" The author takes the view that mediation is complementary to both procedural and substantive justice and thus legal practitioners of the future will make greater use of it for reasons of practice and principle.
Healthcare Collaboration: The Experience at One Hospital (5/03/13) Holly Hayes At Cleveland Clinic, a patient was asked to keep a journal of all the caregivers she saw over her five-day stay. She noted eight doctors, 60 nurses and so many others she lost track. The journal didn’t even track staff from non-clinical areas – food services, parking or billing. A May 2013 Harvard Business Review article by James I. Merlino and Ananth Raman reported on the Cleveland Clinic’s effort to get everyone in the organization to start thinking like a caregiver.
Mediation Case Law Video: Wrongful Death (5/01/13) James Coben In Estate of Barber v. Guilford County Sheriff's Department,, the appellate court ruled that a plaintiff's obligation not to defame a wrongful death action defendant is not unenforceable as a prior restraint on speech, where record showed the mediated agreement was based on a knowing, voluntarily and intelligent waiver of constitutionally protected rights.
Interview of Pattie Porter (4/29/13) Patricia Porter This interview of Pattie Porter by Dave Hilton of the Conflict Specialists Show addresses such issues as conflict coaching; CINERGY conflict coach training; workplace conflict; the value of joining professional coaching and dispute resolution organizations; branding and networking when you have a coaching business; and more.
Negotiation in the Shadows: A Book Review of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg (4/09/13) Robert Benjamin Sheryl Sandberg is the current COO of Facebook. Her book is intended as a practical guide to the continuing challenge of overcoming the still elusive and unrealized goal of gender equality. She has all the necessary credentials to be a valuable spokesperson and to garner the outsized media attention the topic deserves. However, despite offering useful suggestions about how women can affirmatively assert themselves to be taken more seriously and obtain the positions of leadership they deserve, she fails to give any significant attention to the negotiation process and skills essential to realistically “lean in” and achieve those objectives. 2 Comments
A Narrative Approach to Business Partner Disputes (4/08/13) Jeffrey Fink To listen for the important issues, we should tune in to the emotional charge, to the repetition as the speaker rehearses well-worn arguments, and to particular phrases that might have resonance in a slightly different version of the story. If we ask the right questions based on those phrases, it may shunt the conversation onto different track, helping the partners construct a new story based on new or newly acknowledged information. 1 Comment
Survey Shows How Mediation can be Successful (4/08/13) Victoria Hall Clarks Legal LLP recently undertook a survey on workplace mediation. The survey looked at the use of mediation and what barriers there might be to the use of mediation as well as success rates and what if any further information or support might be required. 3 Comments
Fifth Circuit Upholds Arbitrator’s Decision in Employment Dispute (3/22/13) Beth Graham The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s order to confirm an arbitrator’s decision in an employment dispute. In Haag v. Infrasource Services, Inc., No. 12-60159, (5th Cir. February 20, 2013), an employee, Fred Haag, was terminated from his position with Infrasource Services, Inc. for alleged gross misconduct.
An Action Plan For Mediation (3/01/13) Michael Rooni This article discusses the many benefits of mediation. It offers mediation to individuals and businesses as a potential means of dispute resolution and provides tips relating to mediation.
It’s Nothing Personal: The Constructive Potential of Conflict Within Teams (3/01/13) Nick Redding The study of conflict within teams is a hot topic among organization scholars and practitioners. Traditionally, the major distinction in team conflict has been between conflicts about members’ relationships, or those concerning the task of the team. Relationship conflicts are disagreements between members originating in differences in personality or mismatched values and norms for behavior.
Burnout in Healthcare (2/22/13) Holly Hayes Health care has always been a stressful profession. Think high-stakes work, too many patients, overwhelmed employees. It all adds up to lots of potential conflict, and that’s bad news for patient care, safety, and satisfaction. Now, throw health reform changes linking reimbursement to quality and patient perception of care metrics into the mix and the implications are clear: Managers must help employees handle conflicts productively. If not, the organization may not survive.
Great Mediation in Progress (2/15/13) Maria Simpson Maria Simpson gives advice for mediators on how to arrange a great mediation session. She discusses practical tips to make sure that every mediation session is spent wisely.
Mediation Case Law Video: Authority to Settle (2/08/13) James Coben In Fivecoat v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., the appellate court reversed the trial court's order enforcing mediated workers' compensation settlement, where the claimant's attorney did not have clear and unequivocal authority to settle on claimant's behalf.
Mediation Can Be One of the Most Important Tools to Preserve Companies and Jobs (1/25/13) Andrea Maia Despite the beautiful summer sunshine outside the window, the end of holidays always bring us back to the unavoidable reality of the new year: hard work. January is time to go through the large number of data and information that is published every year end, picturing not only the previous year (in this case, 2012), but also forecasting future trends.
Workplace Bullying: Why Not Mediate It? (1/25/13) John Peter Weldon Would you be prepared to sit down in mediation with a work supervisor or fellow employee against whom you have felt obliged to lodge a complaint of workplace bullying or psychological harassment, or with someone who has made an unwelcome and perhaps unjustified complaint of that nature against you?
Workplace Bullying: Why not Mediate it? (1/11/13) John Peter Weldon Would you be prepared to sit down in mediation with a work supervisor or fellow employee against whom you have felt obliged to lodge a complaint of workplace bullying or psychological harassment, or with someone who has made an unwelcome and perhaps unjustified complaint of that nature against you? 7 Comments
A Few Things I Learned in 2012 (1/04/13) Vivian Scott Sometimes the inner conflicts I have can be more troublesome than the outright disagreements or problems I experience with others. The good news is, the older I get the quicker I’m able to resolve my inner conflicts so I can apply that learning to interactions with everyone from complete strangers to family members. This last year has been taught me a great deal in that regard. Here are a few examples.
Business Conflict? Take a Different Approach and Stay in Control (12/14/12) Herman Zandt Business conflicts are a fact of life and occur in the best of organisations and at any level. Disagreements naturally escalate and easily spread out to a variety of dispute stakeholders. Dropping it all and losing face is no option for many, neither is ending up in costly and time-consuming litigation, not to mention the emotional strain, organisational inefficiencies, unwanted distractions and other disadvantages any dispute brings about. What is the best way out and how can this be managed effectively?
Mediation in Commercial Disputes: is this Workable? (12/14/12) Mohammed Saleem Tariq This article aims to provide detailed insight into the concept of mediation for corporations and likeminded entrepreneurs. Whether the dispute is over an amount of money owed or over the supply of goods and services, the process of mediation remains rooted. Due to this characteristic, this article will proceed to filter similar commercial disputes through the mediation process in order to expose and evaluate not just the benefits that attach but any doubts the process could cast.
Why Your Staff Should Resolve Their Own Conflicts (12/14/12) Tammy Lenski It’s a mistake to conflate good supervision and the habit of intervening in employees’ conflicts. Not only with the habit wear you out eventually and take energy away from other important responsibilities, but you will miss prime opportunities to help your staff cultivate their own good skills.
How Did This Become About Me?!? (12/08/12) Vivian Scott I haven’t seen it done in a while but in the past if a business wanted to draw attention to itself for a big event, it would bring in a huge spotlight that would illuminate the night sky and grab the interest of everyone from miles around.
White Collar Crime and Mediation: A Discussion Document (11/30/12) Clive Lewis This article presents a discussion about the potential for mediation to be utilized as a suitable option for cases of white collar crime. Punishment of white collar crime in the workplace has traditionally been dealt with by internal disciplinary procedures prior to the police and then the courts, but it has become apparent that not all cases may be suitable for the legal system. Naturally, criminal proceedings and custodial sentences are the only option in some cases, but, with prison numbers at record levels, penal servitude should no longer be seen as the only option when it comes to lesser crimes. 1 Comment
Making the Case: Business Dispute Resolution Through Mediation (11/26/12) Deborah Buyer The article discusses the benefits and advantages of mediation for purposes of resolving business disputes. It is geared toward business owners who are involved in disputes, such as contracts disputes or “business divorces,” and makes the case for mediation as an effective method for resolving the dispute. The article also lays out the basic structure of mediation and what parties can expect from mediation. 1 Comment
Pace of Mediation in Labor Disputes (11/26/12) Machteld Pel A significant motivation for businesses to choose mediation in labor disputes is the hope that mediation works fast and so will provide clarity within a short time frame. This then, is mediation’s propagation.
The Annoying Union Rep (11/26/12) Dan Simon One of the areas of disagreement was what exactly happened when there was physical contact between Jack and the supervisor. The supervisor had reported that Jack puffed his chest out and intentionally bumped into him. But Jack said that he was trying to walk away from the supervisor at the time, but that the supervisor was following very closely behind him – and when Jack turned around, it was the supervisor who bumped into Jack.
Conflict on Aisle 3 (11/26/12) Vivian Scott I can’t tell you how to manage every potential conflict you’ll face in the next month or so, but I can pass on a few tips retail workers have shared with me. Of course, I’ve added my own two cents worth on the subject and hope there’s something in here that will help you keep your cool this season.
Beware of the Grinch – Holiday Considerations for the Global Workplace (11/16/12) Patricia Porter Every holiday season, workplaces around the country ponder whether to have their annual Christmas party and whether to decorate with all of the glitter and bows that accompanies the traditional American celebration. Employers’ stress and anxiety rises as they think of the potential conflict lurking around the Christmas tree…the Grinch.
What Makes for a “Good Job”? (11/05/12) Jeanette Bicknell Neutrals can assist their workplace mediation clients by asking if their job might be causing some of their unhappiness. This article discusses the effect workplaces have on a person's happiness. The way to happiness might not be through leisure, family, and loving relationships, knowledge, or spiritual enlightenment. The way to be happy is to have the right job.
Union Restart (11/05/12) Joshua Javits The Chicago teachers’ strike crystallizes the conflict between escalating demands for labor productivity and the needs of workers for job security. At issue are the right of principals to accept teachers from up to 100 schools proposed for closure and the process for evaluating teachers, including through the use of student test scores.
Group Bonding Discussions and Mediation (9/14/12) Diane Cohen I have noticed a particular phenomenon in some of my mediations when parties discuss things in a way that may be appropriate in a group bonding experience instead of discussing it in a way that is appropriate with the particular person in the room.