Federal Law > Handbooks - Policies > Overview of Sample Dispute Resolution Procedure

Overview of Sample Dispute Resolution Procedure

I. Introduction
The Employer's new dispute resolution procedure encourages open communication, and promotes the speedy and fair resolution of workplace problems. The revised Open Door policy will provide access to top management and ensure a prompt response to employee concerns. For claims arising out of an employee's termination, the procedure offers mediation by a neutral third party to facilitate settlement, and binding arbitration for a just adjudication, and appropriate remedy, if settlement is not achieved in mediation. For termination disputes, the procedure will utilize the objectivity and experience of a leading national provider of dispute resolution services.

A. Summary of the Procedure


1. Open Door
The new Open Door will improve employment relations by enhancing management credibility and accountability for resolving employee concerns. At all steps, an HR representative is available to advise and assist the employee in the use of the procedure.

  • Scope: all employment disputes (including termination);
  • Coverage: all employees;
  • Steps: First Level Managers (with District Manager involvement) - response within 10 days; Region Vice President - response within 15 days; Division President - response within 20 days.


2. Mediation
Mediation lets the employee and the Employer discuss the claim with a neutral third party to try and work it out. Mediation sessions usually last about half a day. We anticipate that up to 80% of termination disputes will be resolved in mediation. Mediation is a cooperative negotiation process aimed at achieving solutions that satisfy all parties. Although employees have the right to an attorney to represent them in this process, it is not essential to have one -- the Employer will not be represented by an attorney at mediation.

  • Scope: termination disputes;
  • Coverage: all employees (mandatory for new hires);
  • Prerequisite: dispute unresolved at Step 3 of the Open Door;
  • Time Limits: request for mediation within 180 days of termination; Employer answers within 20 days of the request; mediation session within 60 days of the request for mediation;
  • Mediator: chosen from a panel of attorneys and retired judges with experience in the employment area;
  • Cost: paid by the Employer.


3. Arbitration
Arbitration lets the employee present his or her claim to a neutral third party for final and binding decision. The difference between arbitration and litigation is that a court decision can be appealed, causing endless delays. Also, arbitration is much faster and less formal than a case in court. The biggest difference is in the much lower cost of arbitration for both employer and employee. However, like a court case, the parties do get: right to an attorney, pre- hearing discovery, right to subpoena witnesses, and the same kinds of damages or other relief available in court.

  • Scope: termination disputes unresolved in mediation;
  • Coverage: all employees (mandatory for all new hires);
  • Time Limits: notice of arbitration within 10 days of receipt of mediator's final recommendation and opinion; arbitration within 80 days of selection of arbitrator; decision in writing within 10 days of arbitration;
  • Arbitrator: chosen by alternative strikes from panel of attorneys and retired judges experienced in the employment area;
  • Right to representation by attorney (each party pays own attorney fees);
  • Right to exchange of information and documents;
  • Cost: shared with the Employer to a total of $2,000; costs in excess of $2,000 paid by the Employer.
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