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Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

Types of dispute resolution

Disputes often arise in the workplace - there may be issues of discrimination, pay entitlements, duties of employees etc. And of course you may also have a dispute with a supplier or a customer.

There are many ways you can deal with these disputes. Depending on the dispute it will often be appropriate to sit down with the person and try and negotiate a resolution that suits both of you.

If this is not successful or not appropriate you may be able to deal with the dispute through:

  • mediation; or
  • arbitration.

Mediation

Mediation is a way of reaching an agreement without using courts. It is becoming increasingly popular because it is usually cheaper and quicker than using courts.

The two people (or more) who have the dispute meet together with a trained mediator. A mediator will help you to:

  • focus on the issues;
  • communicate effectively;
  • have your say - uninterrupted; and
  • find a fair solution.

Once the mediation is underway, the mediator will help you both to:

  • negotiate an outcome;
  • work out priorities;
  • find some common ground;
  • test an agreement to check that it works; and
  • make a summary of the points you agree on.

If you can reach an agreement, you then put this agreement in writing. Note, the mediation process is not a binding legal process in itself, but the agreement you have at the end is an agreement that can be enforced if necessary.

There are a number of private mediators - some are lawyers, some have skills in small business issues.

Arbitration

This is a more involved process that is similar to court proceedings but much less formal.

An arbitrator listens to both parties and considers all the evidence before making a decision that can be enforced.

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