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Toxic disputes between parents and principals could soon be resolved by independent mediators in schools. As part of a new trial being run by the Victoria, AU Education Department, professional mediators will help Victorian principals resolve complaints that are "complex, serious and involv(e) conflict". read
A Santa Clara County judge ordered the parents of a boy with autism, as well as their former Sunnyvale neighbors, into mediation. Those neighbors had filed a lawsuit saying the boy was a threat to their safety and did it as a last resort. read
A former Uber Technologies Inc. driver defeated the company’s bid to force her into arbitration, a second victory after California’s labor commissioner said she should have been considered an employee. read
When four years of fruitless negotiations between NJ Transit and its union employees went nowhere, federal mediators stepped in and offered non-binding recommendations in the hope of breaking the impasse. read
An industrial dispute involving Christchurch's wheelie bin collection drivers is over. A number of wheelie bins were left uncollected for 24 hours last week when drivers refused to work overtime and clocked off at 2pm, leaving many bins unemptied. The drivers were upset about low wages and a lack of penalty rates for working more than eight hours a day. Waste Management and the Amalgamated Workers Union agreed to a resolution following seven hours of mediation. read
A Chattanooga police officer and a local activist who got into a public squabble on Facebook late last year will sit down at the same table and talk things through. According to police records, that's part of the officer's discipline. read
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma yesterday met mining houses and organised labour to limit plans to shed thousands of jobs. However, analysts cast doubt on the impact of the meeting on limiting retrenchments, given the sector’s substantial challenges. read
On August 31, the California Legislature passed AB 465, aiming to “ensure that a contract to waive any of the rights, penalties, remedies, forums, or procedures under the Labor Code”—such as an arbitration agreement—is “a matter of voluntary consent.” This bill, now before Governor Brown for his approval, raises two big questions: (1) will the Governor sign the bill, and, if he does, (2) to what extent would the new law be enforceable? read
Lucky, a 55-year-old female elephant last year at the San Antonio Zoo, has lived alone for more than two years. Elephants are highly social animals. Still, zoo officials do not want to move her. Could mediation be a way to improve Lucky’s life? That’s the hope of City Councilman Joe Krier, who has called on the San Antonio Zoo and Animal Legal Defense Fund to head to mediation about Lucky’s inadequate living conditions. read
Various state and federal statutes exist to protect and compensate employees whose employers retaliate against them after they disclose certain fraudulent practices to the employers or government agencies. These are known as Whistleblower statutes. Employment claims under Whistleblower statutes are a complex and growing area of the law. Whistleblower actions typically involve highly sensitive information and serious allegations that companies would prefer to keep out of the public view. Therefore, ADR is ideally designed to address Whistleblower actions. read
Some Food for Thought Over Labor Day Weekend (9/12/15) Michael A. Zeytoonian Over 95% of the cases filed in courts end up settling and never go to trial. If you know there is an overwhelming likelihood that your case will settle through negotiations or mediation – doesn’t it make sense to use a process designed to reach a settlement in a time and cost effective way?
Whistleblower Cases are Custom Tailored for ADR (9/04/15) Jeffrey Grubman Various state and federal statutes exist to protect and compensate employees whose employers retaliate against them after they disclose certain fraudulent practices to the employers or government agencies. These are known as Whistleblower statutes.
Seven Steps for Effective Problem Solving in the Workplace (7/06/15) Tim Hicks Problem solving and decision making. Ask anyone in the workplace if these activities are part of their day and they'd certainly answer 'Yes!' But how many of us have had training in problem solving? We know it's a critical element of our work but do we know how to do it effectively?
The Future of Mediation (6/09/15) John Ford A coach once asked me to predict which way a drop of water would go around a rock up ahead. Of course there is no way of knowing: the water drop may not make it due to evaporation to the atmosphere, absorption by the river bank, and then if it does make it to the rock, whether it goes left or right, over or below. However, even if the future is uncertain, we can still comment on where the drop of water is at the moment. Even its relationship to our imagined future. And of course about its past.
A Pregnant Pause: Using ADR to Resolve Pregnancy-Related Workplace Issues (6/06/15) Lorraine Brennan A recent case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, Young v. UPS (issued March 25, 2015), caught the attention of many women and employers as well. In Young, the Court interpreted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), in particular the second clause of that Act, which reads that employers must treat “women affected by pregnancy…the same for all employment-related purposes…as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.” - See more at: http://jamsadrblog.com/2015/06/02/a-pregnant-pause-using-adr-to-resolve-pregnancy-related-workplace-issues/#sthash.wJpiwrSY.dpuf
Workplace Systemic Issues: Do Your Leaders Really Want to Know? (6/01/15) Patricia Porter Like many conflict resolution or ADR professionals who start as a mediator, it doesn’t take long before a mediator doing workplace cases in one organization begins to wonder about the organization’s culture, communication, or leadership skills. “If only the organization had better practices, the mediation (or coaching or training or group facilitation) wouldn’t be needed”, many have thought.
When Your Boss Won’t Change (2/13/15) Vivian Scott Who doesn’t have a list of things they’d like their manager to do differently? Everything from the way he slurps that first cup of coffee in the morning to how he plays his staff against one another is a frustration. Though it’s possible to make adjustments in any working relationship, there are still going to be some things that don’t change; no matter your efforts. What then? Here are a few ideas.
Why I Said “HR Should Be Ashamed of Itself” (2/13/15) Katherine Graham It’s no secret that I can be spikey – and I sometimes rue the things I say after I’ve said them. And, believe me, I do understand why HR Directors need to be at the Board Room table, because without that influence your job is all the more difficult.
Negotiation Advocacy and the Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution (2/03/15) Nathan Witkin One promising and yet underdeveloped segment of the alternative dispute resolution movement is negotiation advocacy. Roles such as collaborative attorney and conflict coach are allowing ADR practitioners to enhance their clients’ experience at the negotiation table with communication coaching and a style of advocacy that is cooperative in nature.
Technology (1/30/15) Joe Markowitz If somebody were to ask me (actually somebody did ask me) about the future of conflict resolution, my answer would have to include technology. Technology is already enabling us to do things that would have been unimaginable only, say, 20 years ago.
Beyond “Half Full or Half Empty” - Getting the Right Glass (1/27/15) John Kenyon The mediation field continues to debate its future with optimists and pessimist talking past each because fundamentally we do not agree on what constitutes mediation. The article takes a different perspective and suggests several ways to tackle the thorny issue of definitions along with using a practitioner to manage these divisive issues.
Truths in Advertising (1/26/15) Howard Gadlin Several times in the course of my life I’ve been involved with a cohort of people who envisioned themselves as a possible vanguard of fundamental social change even while they were pursuing professional careers In fact, many of the early mediation practitioners were also veterans of civil rights and anti-war activities who were drawn to ADR as an alternative path to justice, equality, and social change.
Looking to the Future: Is There Still A Place For Proactive, Early Intervention Mediation in Our Changing Field? (1/13/15) Nina Meierding In the author's experience as a mediator in over 4,000 cases and in almost thirty years of working with advocates, consulting attorneys, and collaborative lawyers, she believes that all forms of mediation are valuable processes which each have their place in helping parties move forward in their conflicts. She takes no position on the "best" process, only that self-determination remains the ultimate goal of any form of mediation. She is hopeful that mediators, participants, and attorneys will re-examine the trend of late intervention, lawyer-centric mediation and bring pro-active, early mediation back as one of the important focuses of the mediation field.
Najar on Dispute Management 2.0 (12/19/14) F. Peter Phillips Najar, his colleague Michael McIlwrath, his former colleague PD Villarreal, and others at General Electric were responsible for pounding into my head two distinctions. The first was the concept of “dispute management” rather than “dispute resolution,” and the other was “Early Dispute Resolution” rather than “Alternative Dispute Resolution.”
Workplace Restoration Case Study (12/12/14) Jeanette Bicknell Relations between the account services team and the head of production (“Bob”) were at an all-time low. The “drama” was a distraction from business. The manager wanted people to be able to work together collaboratively as a team. She was tired of responding to complaints about Bob and wasn’t sure what to do. And she wanted a quick solution before key staff members left for vacation. So she turned to a mediator.
Mobbing at Work - en Espanol (12/05/14) Alicia Millán Este artículo intenta abarcar tres aspectos diferenciados aunque esenciales para el reconocimiento y tratamiento de este modo de violencia que tanto el Informe sobre Seguridad en el Trabajo de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (O.I.T.) como otras publicaciones especializadas en la materia y en Congresos y Eventos sobre el tema lo califican como “nueva plaga laboral del siglo XXI”.
Whose Job is the Conflict? (11/14/14) Maria Simpson I am a big proponent of taking responsibility for resolving a conflict that somehow includes or affects you, especially if you started the dispute, and this article offers skills for doing this.
The Case for Dispute Resolution Clauses in Contracts (11/11/14) Michael A. Zeytoonian I am fortunate enough to have some great clients. They do their jobs well, they run their businesses and organizations well. Because they do things right, I have less “back end” (reactive) work from them because they don’t get many claims against them. That is partly because we work together on the “front end” (proactive) work of anticipating issues before they arise and preventively address them.
Workplace Conflict – Putting It in Context (10/24/14) Jon Warner Many articles on workplace conflict miss out on a key subject area and one which is often best considered first – the context within which the conflict has arisen in the first place. In other words, we cannot consider a conflict situation in isolation from the circumstances in which it has occurred, and the key to its resolution may well lie as much in this contextual realm as it does in appreciating the conflict issue and the people involved in the dispute.
The Trading Zone in Mediation of Employment Disputes (10/21/14) Jan Frankel Schau Sometimes I feel like I’m in the middle of a tug-of-war. This week I had the anomolous situation of having two nearly identical full day cases back to back. In the first, the Plaintiff started the demand at $1 million and Defense offered $30,000 (the equivalent to one year of salary). She was alleging age discrimination, though the Company had laid her off in a reduction in force and she was only 42. In the second, Plaintiff started the demand at $200,000.00.
It Is All In The Attitude ! (10/04/14) Phyllis Pollack Once again, the New York Times has published an interesting article in its Sunday Review section on September 5, 2014 entitled "Liking Work Really Matters" by Paul A. O'Keefe. The thesis is that when we really enjoy what we are doing, we can do it for much longer than if we find it to be tedious. Our mental gas tank is nowhere as depleted when we are in the "in the zone" or in "flow": "During a flow state, people are fully absorbed and highly focused; they lose themselves in the activity." (Id.)4545
Conflict in Start-ups (10/03/14) Jeanette Bicknell From one perspective, conflict in a start-up should not be different from conflict in any other similarly sized organization. And to be sure, some of the same factors that cause conflict in any organization – whether it is a family business or a partnership or a non-profit – can contribute to conflict in a start-up. Yet start-ups also have some unique challenges, and I’ve seen some rather bad advice targeted to them.
Great Workplaces (9/19/14) Maria Simpson Fortune magazine publishes an annual list of great places to work, and this year, as in many others, Goldman Sachs took first prize. Many people are surprised by that considering the hours and workload, but there are other elements to consider besides hours.
What Did Labor Day Teach Us About ADR? (9/12/14) Susan Yates For a while in the evolution of the ADR field, when two neutrals met they would sometimes ask what the other’s “profession of origin” was. What they meant was, “what did you do before you were a mediator?” There were some unspoken questions packed in there, too. They wanted to know, are you a full-time neutral or are you really from some other profession and trying to break into this one?
Preventing Conflict in the Workplace by Taking Time for Yourself (9/05/14) Vivian Scott I just got back from a holiday with my significant other and as I get ready to take a long weekend with family, I’m thinking about how fortunate I am this year to be taking so much time off. I realize not everyone has the same opportunity, so I thought I’d share some ways in which one can take a vacation at work without actually taking time off.
Do Unethical Leaders Foster Conflict Among Followers? (9/05/14) Nick Redding Recent events, such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, questionable accounting practices at Enron, and illegal hiring practices among Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies, are just a few among many examples of unethical organization leadership practices today.While the impact of unethical leadership practices on local communities is often times immeasurable, what is less well understood is the impact of this type of leadership inside the organization. Specifically, how does unethical leadership impact those individuals working under it?
Employment Mediation Requires a Unique Touch (9/05/14) Jeffrey Grubman Although the fact patterns of employment cases vary considerably, there is always a common theme. The plaintiffs believe they have been mistreated by their employers, and the employers almost always deny the factual allegations.