Conflict is never far away. It is latent and usually simmering below the surface in every organization. Disputes often begin over the direction or philosophy chosen to carry out the mission. When those involved discuss the matter respectfully, objectively and with an emphasis on problem solving it is usually resolved amicably. Unfortunately, sometimes the discussion evolves from problem solving to winning the dispute. Determining who is right and who is wrong and blame assessment become the focus. This causes those involved to lessen or cease their communication with one another. The disputants often become defensive and entrenched in their positions and an adversarial relationship soon develops. The original matter in dispute often becomes a secondary consideration as people are asked to take sides and are pulled into the dispute. Once those involved in the dispute begin identifying one another as the problem false assumptions, suspicions and wild speculations flourish.
The dispute will soon turn into a win or lose proposition to those involved. As the dispute becomes more personalized people begin to believe their integrity and character are under attack so they often respond in kind. In this climate, the organization is not big enough for both disputants. Someone has to be brought down or kicked out.
Everyone suffers; colleagues, kids and customers, as winning the dispute becomes a high priority. The organizational trauma that accompanies unchecked workplace disputes takes a toll on everyone. No one is a winner when workplace disputes simmer and continue without resolution.
The EEO Office puts forth considerable effort and has a proven track record in satisfactorily resolving workplace disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR is fair and impartial. The disputants have an equal say in the process and craft their own solution. In contrast, litigation is a more lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome. ADR saves time and money. Most of our ADR interventions are done in a matter of hours while the litigation process often takes years. ADR is confidential and improves communication. The confidential and impartial setting allows people to openly express their views regarding the underlying dispute. The facilitated discussion in ADR often leads to a resolution satisfactory to all. Unlike litigation, you can design your own solution. As experienced mediators, we can assist disputants in reaching a voluntary and mutually beneficial resolution. It can resolve all the issues important to the disputants and not just the legal dispute.
Litigation is a zero sum proposition. You will either win or lose. In ADR, everyone can win. There does not have to be a loser. We have a very high rate of success in our ADR program. We encourage you to take advantage of this valuable service if you are involved in a workplace dispute.