Mediation can be very helpful in employment disputes because it can save significant attorneys' fees and costs, because it is confidential, and because it can allow the parties to preserve the employer-employee relationship.
If a lawsuit is filed, a valuable employee must usually sever their relationship with the employer. Mediation allows the parties to talk together and try to work out a solution to the problem before having to go to court.
Also a mediation can be kept confidential by an agreement between the parties, thereby allowing the problem to be settled quietly without harmful publicity to the employer or the employee.
Usually it is a good idea to have a complaint made first to the appropriate person or persons if the employer has set up a complaint process. The complaint should always be made only after conferring with an attorney so that no rights will be lost by making the complaint.
In preparing for a mediation, if you are using an attorney, have them collect and organize all of your evidence, and also have them prepare a mediation brief for you which: states the basic dispute and what is at stake; details the names of the parties involved; any witnesses and what they may say; and have sufficient copies made of all exhibits you may want to show at the mediation.
Be sure to consult with an attorney before preparing this brief because it may be a mistake to reveal or withhold certain items of evidence depending on the type of case and the circumstances involved.
Upon reaching a settlement, it should be put into writing by an experienced, competent mediator and signed by all parties including the mediator so that it will be enforceable in Court later if necessary.
The above information is designed to be used in conjunction with an attorney. It should not be used or relied upon without consulting competent legal counsel.