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Up for arbitration.

How to get the most out of alternative dispute resolution Procedures for settling disputes by means other than litigation; e.g., by Arbitration, mediation, or minitrials. Such procedures, which are usually less costly and more expeditious than litigation, are increasingly being used in commercial and labor disputes, Divorce  programs

That's it! You're convinced that you didn't get the promotion because of your age. In fact, looking around the company, you've noticed that most of the people in the top positions are several years younger. While you don't want the hassle of filing a discrimination suit, you do want restitution. What are your options?

With a little investigation, you might learn that your firm is one of the growing number of companies that have instituted an alternative dispute resolution (ADR ADR - Astra Digital Radio ) program. Often faster than going to court, ADR programs use objective interceders to solve sticky workplace conflicts.

"The benefits of ADR are that costs are lower, disposition is faster and privacy is maintained," says Toni Griffin, a spokeswoman for the American Arbitration Association The American Arbitration Association (AAA) is a private enterprise in the business of arbitration, and one of several arbitration organizations that administers arbitration proceedings. The AAA also administers mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. , a nonprofit organization Nonprofit Organization

An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.

Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools.
 that provides impartial mediators and arbitrators to hear and resolve cases. "Often the disputing parties can salvage and continue their relationship."

The number of employment cases filed with the Association has more than doubled from 575 in 1994 to 1,345 in 1997. Cases run the gamut See color gamut.

gamut - The gamut of a monitor is the set of colours it can display. There are some colours which can't be made up of a mixture of red, green and blue phosphor emissions and so can't be displayed by any monitor.
 from racial, gender and age discrimination to unfair firings. Although ADR programs vary from employer to employer, many include informal methods that encourage you to discuss your problem with your supervisor, a department head or a panel of peers. The two best-known ADR methods are mediation and arbitration.

In mediation, a neutral person trained in resolving conflicts helps both parties come up with a solution by helping them to negotiate and discuss the real issues. In arbitration, a neutral person with employment law experience hears the case, weighs the evidence and issues a decision or an award in favor of one of the parties.

"The arbitrator arbitrator n. one who conducts an arbitration, and serves as a judge who conducts a "mini-trial," somewhat less formally than a court trial. In most cases the arbitraror is an attorney, either alone or as part of a panel.  can render all legal remedies A legal remedy is the means by which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes some other court order to impose its will. In Commonwealth common law jurisdictions and related jurisdictions (e.g.  you would be entitled to if you went to court," says Gary Singletary, a member of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution. Awards could include back pay, general damages general damages n. monetary recovery (money won) in a lawsuit for injuries suffered (such as pain, suffering, inability to perform certain functions) or breach of contract for which there is no exact dollar value which can be calculated.  and attorney fees and costs.

Keep in mind that if your company's ADR program has a mandatory arbitration Mandatory arbitration is a contract policy that prevents a conflict from receiving judicial attention. In a mandatory arbitration, liability for damages must be determined as a result of an arbitration process before a civil lawsuit can be filed in the court system.  clause and you sign an agreement to go through arbitration, you may waive your right to sue, although this decision may vary depending on the court. To ensure fairness, many programs give you a say in selecting who the mediator and/or arbitrator will be; access to any of the company's history and information to help you make your case; and the right to be represented by an attorney. Some programs cover part of the employee's expense in getting a lawyer.

A potential drawback: generally the arbitration decision is binding, the award is not negotiable NEGOTIABLE. That which is capable of being transferred by assignment; a thing, the title to which may be transferred by a sale and indorsement or delivery.
 and you can't appeal your case. For that reason, mediation is the preferred method for most people, says Bob Meade, senior vice president for the Association. "When parties agree to mediate," says Meade, "they're able to reach a settlement in 90% of the cases."

In mediation, instead of an outside arbitrator, the two parties, with or without an attorney, determine the settlement, which can include a public apology, a change in company policy or monetary compensation.

Paula Brantner of the National Employment Lawyers Association, suggests consulting a lawyer if your case involves anything related to severance pay Severance Pay

Compensation that an employer gives to someone who is about to lose their job.

Severance pay is not always paid to employees. It depends on the situation in which the employee is losing their job and whether legislation requires severance to be paid.
 or other benefits, whether you're going through mediation or arbitration. Bottom line, she says, you shouldn't lose any of your rights by going through the ADR process.

To get the most out of mediation, experts give this advice:

* Have specific dates, times, places and information about your case so you can speak with accuracy.

* Brainstorm possible solutions you'd be happy with and be prepared to negotiate them.

* Keep an open mind and make sure you understand the constraints the employer may have.

* Be positive and believe that a mutually acceptable solution can be worked out.
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Title Annotation:alternative dispute resolution
Author:Brotherton, Phaedra
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 1999
Previous Article:Look out!
Next Article:Making the merger happen.

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