Employers were encouraged Monday to take part in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mediation program, with one lawyer saying the program has been successful in resolving employment discrimination cases and saving employers money and time by avoiding litigation. Speaking at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., Whitney Warner, a founding partner with the labor and employment law firm of Moody & Warne in Albuquerque, N.M., tackled several myths about participating in EEOC mediations. read
A skillful mediator can be the avenue through which parties are able to face each other comfortably. The mediator is an independent third party without any power to decide who is right or wrong. The mediator’s role is to work with the parties in a process that is broadly aimed at understanding the dispute; identifying the concerns, underlying fears and needs of each party; communicating the same to each party upon receiving a mandate to do so; and ultimately assisting the parties to negotiate a settlement themselves. read
MS fans were so anxious to avoid a strike, one was inspired to send flowers to the suite where league officials and players were negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. He asked the florist to write on the card, "Please come to an agreement soon, signed the fans. He was assured by the delivery person that the flowers made it upstairs to the mediation room. There are reports of an MLS deal now having been reached. read
Representatives of Major League Soccer and its players union are meeting with a federal mediator this week in a last-ditch effort to complete a new collective bargaining agreement before the 2015 MLS season opens Friday. read
With negotiations over new collective bargaining agreement seemingly at an impasse, MLS owners and the MLS Players Union have employed the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help reach an agreement. An FMCS spokesman told ESPN FC that "FMCS mediators, at the joint request of MLS and the MLS Players Union, have begun the mediation process in the negotiations between the parties." read
Alexa.com, the leading website ranking service, reports that Mediate.com is the world's most visited mediation website, and not by a little. Alexa reviews all websites in the world and reports that Mediate.com is the 115,020 largest site in the world as of February 1, 2015. The lower the site rank, the more traffic the site receives. The next most visited site, mediation.com, is ranked at 1,260,625. AAA's mediation.org website is ranked 4,951,487 read
New research suggests that reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities help people sleep better. A multi-institution of researchers found that workers who participated in an intervention aimed at reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities slept an hour more each week and reported greater sleep sufficiency than those who did not participate in the intervention. read
After reading the latest press releases from the two sides involved in the West Coast port dispute one can have nothing but sympathy for the federal mediators now charged with trying to bring harmony in what has become an increasingly acrimonious row. Both the workers, represented by the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), and the employers in the form of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), issued statements yesterday which may as well have been in different languages, so at variance were they. read
After an exchange of proposals this month, the association representing the operators of West Coast ports called late Monday for federal mediation to resolve the contract talks with the longshore union. The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have been discussing a new contract for union workers at 29 West Coast ports for about seven months. Cargo is continuing to move through the ports -- albeit at a slower than usual pace -- since the previous contract expired at the end of June. read
The strike by 1,500 University of Oregon graduate teaching fellows ended this morning after a 22-hour mediation session. Union officials said the new contract provides the teaching assistants with fair wages and a hardship fund to provide paid medical and family leave. Access to the fund is "protected by language in the collectively bargained agreement, and can be grieved if an employee is denied reasonable access to the fund," according to a statement from the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation. "I'm extremely proud of the graduate employees of GTFF," AFT-Oregon President David Rives said. "This contract is a monumental achievement for workers across all campuses." The union and supporters will hold a celebration rally at noon today at Matthew Knight Arena. The teaching assistants will return to work later today, union officials said. read
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The Good and Bad of Conflict (8/22/14) Ken Johnson As conflict professionals, we should strive to understand the subject of conflict in all its various forms. However, the large majority of the industry only desires to resolve conflict. Indeed, conflict can be beneficial (anabolic) or destructive (catabolic). Knowing the difference can give businesses and other organizations a catalystic edge to take them to the next level.
Developmental Negotiation: Preliminary Stage (8/01/14) Alex Polsky Developmental negotiation involves a plan and execution of the development of all five stages to maximize the likelihood of a beneficial outcome. The five stages are preliminary, preparation, information, negotiation and closing.
Dynamos, Cruisers, and Losers (8/01/14) Geoff Sharp Before I left my law firm in the late 1990's David Maister, a Boston management guru of whom many of you will know, was the darling of every large service firm, especially in the law and accountancy fields.
He has long since retired but at his height he was good, very good – despite being a former Harvard Business School professor, he had a practical wisdom that could cut through the management gobbledygook I was struggling with at my firm’s monthly management meetings at the time.
ABA / Straus Institute Survey (7/18/14) Tom Stipanowich One of the three recent surveys undertaken by the Straus Institute in 2013 as part of the Theory-to-Practice Research Project was a survey of corporate counsel co-sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Section on Public Utilities, Communication and Transportation (PUCAT) ADR Committee.
Case Study: The Mediating Manager (7/18/14) Katherine Graham Sian is the Communications Manager for a UK charity and has recently appointed James, a designer whose job required frequent contact with production officer Helga, who had worked with Sian for over 3 years. Sian had a sinking feeling that things were not going too well between James and Helga, but Sian was busy and, optimistically, had put the tensions down to early teething troubles and hoped she could leave them to sort out their differences ‘as adults’.
Conflict Systems at Work in Startups (6/20/14) Mark Baril Behind most disputes is a system that perpetuates the problem. Uncovering the system will reveal why these negative conflict outcomes keep coming back, and, hopefully, how to fix them for good.
Settlement Conferences and the Price of Contempt (6/06/14) Mary Novak In a settlement conference, what is the value of having someone present with full authority to settle? If one party lacks the authority, it can result in aggravation, wasted court fees, and lost time for trial preparation. American Family Insurance (AFI) recently learned this to their cost in a dog-bite case in Washoe County, Nevada. Because Judge Janet Berry did not believe the insurers had complied in good faith with her rules on authority to settle, she found the company in contempt and sanctioned them $50,000.
Quick Tip: Hostage Negotiator's Tone of Voice (6/03/14) Jeff Thompson Crisis and hostage negotiator's are involved in situations that are tense, stressful, and anxiety-filled. In order to try to reduce the overwhelming emotions being experienced by the person they are trying to help, the negotiator's tone of voice is an important tool that can help move the conversation toward a peaceful resolution.
Employment Disputes (5/23/14) Joe Markowitz Given the huge numbers of settlements, in contrast to adjudications, we should perhaps think of the DFEH not so much as a law enforcement agency, charged with putting teeth into statutory prohibitions against discrimination, but rather as a conflict resolution service offered by the government to assist parties in dealing with all manner of employment disputes.