Early in his career, Michael Quinn worked for Kaiser Permanente, a managed care organization that operates in eight states and reports tens of billions of dollars in operating revenues. He worked as a senior manager in risk management, reporting to the Deputy General Counsel. Among his roles, implementing policies and procedures for loss mitigation and handling legal suits.
“I managed over 1,000 mediations, arbitrations and lawsuits both directly and with outside counsel in matters of professional liability, property and casualty, general liability, worker’s compensation, and automobile claims,” he said.
Mediation processes in the workplace exist to enable conflict resolution when parties can’t agree on something. It’s a mechanism that, if successfully implemented, can allow each party to conflict to tell their story and allow for a neutral mediator to guide the process to an amicable solution.
Engaging in mediation is a more cost-effective solution for parties seeking to reach a settlement. It’s a voluntary process that individuals choose to participate in, and if an agreement is reached, the parties are legally required to abide by the agreement. Regardless of the complexity of the issue, mediation can be a powerful tool that assists parties in resolving the conflict.
Additional reasons why mediation is necessary include:
A company can choose to bring an external mediator to help in the settlement of disputes, and they may charge a fee similar to what an attorney would. However, the mediation process consumes less time than the case would if taken through legal channels. Because of this, mediation usually ends up being less costly regarding money and time.
Mediation proceedings are kept confidential, involving only the disputing parties and the mediator. Court hearings, on the other hand, are a matter of public record. The confidentiality in mediation is highly regarded as even a mediator cannot testify in court as to the details of the process, with a few exceptions.
Agreement and compliance
Because the process is entered into voluntarily, the parties are typically ready to work jointly towards an acceptable solution. The fact that the parties are willing to mediate means they are amenable to understanding each other and complying with the negotiated agreement.
Michael Quinn Kaiser has a Juris Doctorate from the JFK School of Law in California.