Your small business may have just gotten off the ground, and you have yet to develop an employee handbook. Nevertheless, employees in your business may have disputes. Without a handbook, these disputes can lead to a lawsuit that could spell the end of your business.
If you have an employee handbook, you can include dispute resolution processes in it that can hopefully help you avoid litigation.
Your employee handbook can contain provisions stating employment disputes will be mediated before proceeding to litigation. Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution. In mediation, the employer and employee will sit down with a mediator and try to negotiate a satisfactory resolution. The mediator stays neutral. Their role is to help both sides work together to resolve their dispute. If an agreement is made, it can be binding or nonbinding, depending on the terms of the handbook.
Your employee handbook can also contain provisions stating employment disputes will go through arbitration before they can be litigated. Arbitration is more formal than mediation but less formal than a trial. In arbitration, the employer and employee will present their arguments and evidence to a neutral third-party arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. The arbitrator will then issue a decision. The decision can be binding or nonbinding, depending on the terms of the employee handbook.
Dispute resolution is up to you
As the employer, you can include dispute resolution processes in your employee handbook. This can help both you and your employees know what to expect should a problem arise. You may be able to avoid litigation by utilizing alternative dispute resolution processes like mediation and arbitration. This can save your business time and money and it allows you to continue operations as normal.