Mediation is a pretrial strategy that is designed to settle disputes before parties embark on a lengthy and often costly trial. Mediation is employed in many different contexts and is often one of the first methods of resolution in Texas employment discrimination cases. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has implemented mediation programs as one of the first steps to resolving employment discrimination lawsuits.
The mediation process allows the two parties to attempt to resolve their issues and points of contention with the assistance of a trained and neutral third-party. Mediation is an appropriate step in many types of cases that do not involve complex evidentiary or procedural issues. Mediators are trained in the art of negotiation, effective listening, and conflict resolution. In certain instances, the mediator is a trained attorney; however, they are prohibited from providing legal advice while in their mediator role.
The Three Main Types of Mediation
Generally, there are three schools of thought in regards to mediation: facilitative, evaluative, and transformative. In short, during facilitative mediation the mediator does not provide any type of opinion and only facilitates a discussion between the parties. During evaluative mediation, the mediator will provide information regarding the likelihood of success and some potential, reasonable terms of resolution. Finally, during transformative mediation, the main objective is to change the parties’ relationship with one another and allow them to successfully resolve the dispute.