Business conflicts can do real damage to a company. Obviously, taking a matter to civil court can be expensive. Beyond that, there is brand damage to consider. Certain types of conflicts can have a significant negative impact on a company’s reputation. Claims brought by subcontractors or vendors that didn’t receive proper payment might make it more difficult for a company to source the services and materials that requires in the future, for example.
Protracted disputes with other organizations that lead to a trial in civil court might also draw media attention, which could sour the public perception of a brand. Businesses do not have to accept the misconduct of other parties to avoid negative publicity. Instead, they may want to consider alternative dispute resolution as a means of mitigating potential damage to an organization’s brand.
Mediation can help privately facilitate compromise
Mediation is typically a confidential process. The mediation of business conflicts involves sitting down with a neutral third party to explore a conflict and seek a resolution. The process can be a direct one in which parties communicate face-to-face or could involve caucuses where the mediator goes back and forth between the two parties. Regardless of what approach an organization utilizes the mediation process is typically confidential under Florida state law. Records from mediation are not acceptable to the public the way that court records would be after a lawsuit that goes to trial.
Arbitration can also be confidential
Arbitration differs from mediation in some ways. It is not automatically a confidential process, but it is common for parties to sign a confidentiality agreement when going into arbitration. Florida law allows for confidential proceedings during arbitration much like during mediation. The main difference is the role of the neutral third party and how they seek to resolve the dispute. The neutral third-party professional in arbitration fills a role similar to that of a judge instead of helping to facilitate communication.
When the leadership at an organization worries that conflicts could cause damage to a company, sitting down to mediate or arbitrate the matter with the other party can be a savvy decision. Exploring every means of resolving business disputes can diminish the negative impact a conflict may have on a company’s future. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.