How are arbitrators and mediators different?

Avoiding litigation as a business owner is not only a good way to avoid headaches, but it is simply good business. Getting involved in litigation is expensive and time-consuming. In addition, it can cost you good business relationships.

This is why many in businesses turn to alternative means of resolving disputes. Two of the more common ways to resolve workplace disputes are mediation and arbitration. However, the role of a mediator and an arbitrator is different. Primarily, mediators make non-binding decisions and work to support collaboration and communication between feuding parties, whereas arbitrators act more like judges.

The role of a mediator

It is important to remember that mediators do not issue binding decisions or rulings. It is possible that if you go through the mediation process you may still end up in court if you cannot negotiate a favorable outcome with the other party. However, an experienced mediator can help you create a solution that pleases both you and the other party.

Even though the mediator may not be able to help you and the other party reconcile entirely, even settling minor problems can lead to common goals and quicker overall resolution.

The role of an arbitrator

On the other hand, arbitrators do issue binding decisions. In fact, in some instances it can be more difficult to overturn the decision of an arbitrator as compared to a judge. Arbitrators are very similar to judges, only that you have the ability to choose an arbitrator. You do not have the ability to choose which judge oversees your case in a court of law.

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