Mediation in Employment and Creeping Legalism: Implications for Dispute Systems Design

23 Pages Posted: 1 May 2011 Last revised: 9 Jul 2013

Lisa Blomgren Amsler (formerly Bingham)

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

Susan S Raines

Kennesaw State University

Timothy Hedeen

Kennesaw State University

Lisa-Marie Napoli

Indiana University Bloomington - Political and Civic Engagement Program (PACE)

Abstract

This article will explore the question of creeping legalism in mediation of statutory disputes arising out of employment. First, it will briefly review the issue of creeping legalism in arbitration. Second, it will introduce dispute systems design (DSD). Third, it will review the analogous debate on legalism in mediation in three design contexts: evaluative mediation of employment disputes in the court-connected setting, grievance mediation embedded in the collective bargaining agreement, and transformative mediation of employment disputes in the United States Postal Service’s (USPS’s) REDRESS program. Most employees do not face a choice among mediation models; instead, they choose among adjudicative processes or mediation. Thus, the article will conclude by reporting the results of an interview study comparing USPS employees’ experiences in the EEO complaint process, grievance arbitration, and employment mediation. These results show that an individual employee complainant may benefit from a non-adversarial, non-legalistic, and voluntary mediation model that seeks to foster communication and mutual understanding.

Keywords: mediation, arbitration, workplace

JEL Classification: D74, J52, J53

Suggested Citation

Amsler (formerly Bingham), Lisa Blomgren and Raines, Susan S and Hedeen, Timothy and Napoli, Lisa-Marie, Mediation in Employment and Creeping Legalism: Implications for Dispute Systems Design. Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 2010, No. 1, p. 129, 2010; Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs Research Paper No. 2011-05-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1827063

Lisa Blomgren Amsler (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Rm. 333
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Susan Summers Raines

Kennesaw State University ( email )

1000 Chastain Rd
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Timothy Hedeen

Kennesaw State University ( email )

1000 Chastain Rd
Kennesaw, GA 30144
United States

Lisa-Marie Napoli

Indiana University Bloomington - Political and Civic Engagement Program (PACE) ( email )

Bloomington, IN
United States

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