A common approach to resolving work-related disputes in the Pacific Northwest is employment mediation. As an alternative dispute resolution process, employment mediation allows disputants within the workplace to resolve their conflict with the help of a non-biased mediator. Often, this mediator will be familiar with employment law for the particular state in which they practice, as well as federal employment laws and regulations. With this knowledge, combined with conflict resolution and de-escalation skills, the employment mediator can help disputants resolve a wide range of issues that typically occur in the workplace. Some situations well suited for employment mediation in the Pacific Northwest are:
- Conflicts arising between people who want to maintain a good working relationship. When litigation occurs, it is hard to maintain a positive relationship due to the adversarial nature of the process. Mediation, on the other hand, encourages open communication and de-escalating any anger or resentment that is caused due to the conflict
- Private matters in which sensitive information needs to be discussed. Such matters are generally embarrassing to bring into a public proceeding, making litigation a less-than-ideal way of handling the dispute. These types of employment disputes might include allegations of sexual harassment; or discrimination based on race, gender or religious leanings.
- Disputes in which reasonable accommodations are not provided for persons with disabilities. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers have the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees with disabilities. When these needs are not met, employment mediation can be a highly effective way of resolving the complaint.