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What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

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When issues between employers and employees arise, they do not always have to end in costly litigation or go through lengthy investigations. Often times, issues can be worked out between parties utilizing an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process and each side may come away feeling as though the resolution was amicable.

ADR can refer to any number of ways to settle disputes. This may include:

  • Early neutral evaluation
  • Negotiation
  • Conciliation
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration

Employers should consider implementing or utilizing some sort of ADR processes as a means to avoid common legal pitfalls such as financial costs and the time and energy necessary to litigate disputes. First and foremost, employers should be open to negotiation with their employee should a dispute such as discrimination and wage claims arise as many issues have the potential to be solved by sitting down with the other side.

Mediation

Where negotiation fails or is not possible, employers should consider entering into mediation with the employer raising the issue. Mediation involves parties coming together with a neutral arbitrator to hear both sides of an issue and make recommendations about how to resolve the situation.

Mediation recommendations are only recommendations, and are non-binding. It simply gets both sides together and gives them the opportunity to work things out before the matter becomes costly and time consuming.

Arbitration

If parties cannot come to an agreement through informal negotiation or mediation, they may choose arbitration as a means to resolve issues before jumping into litigation. Arbitration can be described as a simplified trial where both sides conduct discovery (gather evidence) and introduce evidence to a panel of neutral arbitrators.

Both sides may be represented by attorneys to help advocate for their position. Arbitration may be both binding and nonbinding and the process may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the complexity of the issue.

Chicago mediation and arbitration attorneys

Illinois is one of many states that have adopted laws allowing both mediation and arbitration as a means to help parties in dispute come together and solve issues without the need to take up the court’s time. If you have a dispute with an employer or an employee, the Chicago mediation and arbitration attorneys of Goldman & Ehrlich can help.

Contact our office for a consultation about your case. Our attorneys serve clients throughout Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.