Potential methods to deal with disputes

As an employer, there are a lot of things to deal with. A dispute involving an employee, contractor, vendor or client is one possible issue.

There are various ways you can go about resolving a conflict, and one may be better for your situation than others. There are also ways you can mitigate the chance of disputes.

Common resolution methods

The Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation discusses the three dispute resolution methods commonly used by businesses. The one that most people recognize is litigation. This involves the two parties presenting their sides to a jury or judge. Upon hearing all the evidence and witness statements, the judge or jury makes a decision. This method may be the preferred one for more complex situations.

Litigation is usually expensive and time consuming, which has made the other two methods gain in popularity. Mediation is the most collaborative, and it involves a neutral third party who works with both sides to come up with an agreement or settlement.

Arbitration involves a neutral arbitrator who listens to the evidence presented by both parties. The arbitrator then makes a decision based on the information. Unlike with litigation, there usually is not an appeal option with arbitration.

A contract may minimize conflicts

You may be able to head off conflicts by signing a contract between you and an employee, client or vendor. FindLaw offers examples of some terms addressed in an employment contract:

  • Non-compete covenants
  • Benefits and compensation
  • Copyright or proprietary information protection
  • Severance terms

A contract may also include the preferred resolution method in the event a conflict between the two parties does arise.