…Continued from Part 1: Back to discovering and using what the negotiation world calls a BATNA and WATNA, this article will continue to move through an analysis to help the parties discover the alternatives that will drive how they negotiate and settle a dispute. The previous article discussed the importance of moving through a BATNA/WATNA …
One of the things I enjoy most about my job as a mediator is the flexibility inherent in the mediation process I utilize. Typically, I’m assuming, you see mediation as a process where you can confidently come together with other parties involved in litigation, call a timeout, and determine if the parties can reach an agreement to resolve the case. This is how I’m asked to lead mediations about 95% of the time. However, there are other circumstances in which I’ve been hired as a mediator, some of which may surprise you.
Two of the most frequent questions asked by parents who decide to divorce is, “What should we tell the children?” and “How should we tell them?” Most parents feel anxious before telling their children about the pending divorce. The task can generate feelings of guilt, sadness, anger and shame. Parents want to protect their children from the pain of divorce, and especially from seeing themselves as the reason their parents divorced.
In the first of this pair of articles, we discussed the definition of a power imbalance, identified the types of power that may be utilized against another party, and the early signs of a power imbalance. Once a neutral identifies that one of the parties has more power than the other and is using their power to make the negotiations end in their favor, it is important for the neutral to act quickly to attempt to bring the power in the negotiations into balance between the parties.
If you are a conflict resolution professional, you are very likely to meet with angry, confrontational, and aggressive people on an almost daily basis. You may even be called in specifically to deal with them, if you are an HR professional or an ombuds. It’s almost inevitable. People in conflict are almost always emotional. Even business disputes aren’t “just business.” Our emotions affect every decision we make.
One of the most noticeable issues that could arise in a negotiation or mediation is an imbalance of power. Often one of the hardest issues to overcome if the neutral or the parties are not prepared, and still difficult when the neutral is prepared, an imbalance can easily throw an otherwise successful dispute resolution process.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers to grant reasonable accommodations to those otherwise qualified employees who are able to complete the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. The employer may negate the duty by showing that the only possible reasonable accommodations impose an undue hardship on the employer.
The companion provision to mediation confidentiality is the mediation privilege, which makes evidence of mediation communications inadmissible in future legal proceedings. As with the confidentiality provisions discussed above, local laws are a crazy quilt, with only about half the states having adopted the UMA or similar provisions. The federal courts are even more inconsistent.