Like mediation, arbitration is familiar to many but others view it with confusion and even with suspicion. Here is some quick guidance for those who do not know much about the process.

Q. What is arbitration?
A. In arbitration the parties select a neutral party (or parties) empowered to hear their dispute and make a decision for them. Unlike mediation where a third party helps the parties arrive at an agreement, in the arbitration  process the arbitrator(s) make the decision for the parties.

Q. Why arbitration?
A. Arbitration is much more likely to be streamlined, timely and less expensive than a trial would be. It can avoid the lengthy and expensive government administrative process that is often required even before litigation for many employment law issues. It is also held in private so that sensitive, often emotional issues for both parties do not confront the public glare that a trial can. It will often take much less time for a decision than typical litigation that can easily take from three to five years.

Q. What happens?
A. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes of arbitration. Some are like trials because they include extensive discovery (collection of evidence and formal interviews of witnesses and the parties involved, motions to the arbitrator(s)). Even this process will take less time than litigation.

The parties can, however, agree to no or limited pre-arbitration discovery. This greatly expedites the process and significantly reduces the legal costs. Many litigation attorneys believe that an expedited process leaves their clients short-changed, but a good arbitrator with the right rules can produce a fair result without the painstaking discovery process.

Q. Why is Arbitration valuable for the Workplace?
A. As a private process, with arbitration there is more privacy, better flexibility in scheduling, and less costs—all helping employers and employees and ex-employees endure a difficult and often painful process.

Q. How can I find out more information about arbitration?
A. Like mediation more information can be found: