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Alternative contract dispute resolutions: Avoiding court costs

You and your employer vehemently disagree on the interpreted elements of your signed contract. Perhaps you thought you would receive more pay, better benefits or a longer employment term, and you want to settle the dispute in court.

Yet court fees become increasingly expensive, especially involving lengthy disagreements. You have the ability to engage in a process titled Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) and avoid the stress and cost of court altogether. Two ways to conduct ADR processes exist in New York for your contract dispute, and hiring an experienced attorney to guide you in the direction of choosing the right form of ADR is essential. Should you and your employer prove unable to agree, your attorney will then collect evidence and fight for your rightful contract benefits in court.

The two types of ADR

  • Mediation: A common type of resolution process includes mediation. Mediation allows you and your employer to discuss different elements of your contract together outside the courtroom. Mediation includes a neutral third-party individual that is trained in negotiation. He or she will identify the dispute issues and offer ideas on means to settle.
    • The benefits of mediation, aside from its low cost, include confidentiality and the ability to discuss your issues freely. Though mediation requires some preparation, mediation usually ends within one or two sessions.
  • Arbitration: Arbitration involves your attendance at a private hearing with the presence of attorneys. Evidence is usually presented in a conference room, and individuals are required to prepare and give testimony. The difference between mediation and arbitration, aside from the mandatory presence of attorneys, is that the attorneys choose a settlement that proves best for their own parties. Less negotiation is involved, and a more formal process transpires.
    • The benefits of arbitration, according to the New York City Bar, include its low cost compared to litigation in court as well as the strict finalizing of an outcome. In arbitration, when both parties agree to the assigned and negotiated outcome, the state allows no appeals. You and your employer may not continue to engage in a court battle if arbitration ends in agreement.

If you and your employer have the opportunity to discuss your disagreements through an ADR process, you may save significant time and money. Doing so, you can move past your dispute and agree on amicable terms with the help of experienced individuals. If you cannot agree, you may move forward in court proceedings with the expertise of an attorney.

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