Employment disputes are something that any employer in Connecticut will want to avoid. Nevertheless, no matter how careful business owners are to treat their employees appropriately, employment disputes still occur. For example, an employee may claim the employer breached an employment contract or that a noncompete agreement or severance package is not fair. Other times, an employee may claim they were discriminated against or wrongfully terminated.

Employment disputes may give rise to litigation, but litigation can be costly to employers and could affect the very viability of the business itself. Therefore, business owners may want to consider mediating the employment dispute, instead of litigating it.

Mediation differs from litigation in several ways. The mediation process will be overseen by a mediator. The mediator is a neutral third-party who facilitates discussions between the employer and employee. Unlike a judge, a mediator is not a decision-maker. It is ultimately up to the parties to reach a settlement through mediation. Mediation has the advantage of being private, unlike litigation. In many cases, mediation can also be less costly than litigation.

Of course, mediation may not always lead to a settlement. It is a non-binding process. In addition, if a legal wrong occurred, it may be appropriate to litigate the matter. Ultimately, employers will have to consider whether it is worth the time and effort to try to mediate an employment dispute or whether litigation is necessary.

Employment disputes often boil down to differing perceptions between the employer and employee. In order to preserve relationships, mediation — which requires communication and cooperation — may be a useful tool. Attorneys can assist employers who wish to mediate a dispute, and they can represent employers in litigation should the mediation process fail.