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Mediation and Arbitration Are Not the Same Thing: Learn the Difference and Why it Matters

Mediation and Arbitration Are Not the Same Thing: Learn the Difference and Why it Matters

Mediation and Arbitration Are Not the Same Thing: Learn the Difference and Why it Matters

In their daily lives, people occasionally hear the phrases “mediation” or “arbitration,” but they aren’t always sure how they differ from one another. Some people believe they are interchangeable. Not at all. Keep reading to learn the difference between the two and why it is so important. Then contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 to request a free legal consultation with an employment law attorney if you believe your rights have been violated.

Understanding arbitration

The main purpose of arbitration is to provide the plaintiff/claimant the opportunity to present their case and give the defendant the opportunity to respond to any accusations made by the plaintiff/claimant. The lawsuit is not filed in a typical courtroom, is not heard there, and, probably most significantly, is not heard by a jury.

In arbitration, there is no recourse to a jury trial. An arbitrator generally hears the matter and renders a decision. A former judge or attorney serves as an arbitrator in most cases. Employers are responsible for covering the arbitrator’s cost in disputes involving employment law. Lastly, with very few exceptions for appeal, the arbitration ruling is conclusive and binding.


The goal of mediation is to assist litigants in resolving their legal disputes. The mediation process is often a one-day event when both sides normally come in with the aim to make peace or “purchase their peace,” unlike the arbitration procedure, which is more confrontational and akin to a lawsuit.

Typically, mediation is a voluntary procedure. If both parties in a civil dispute agree to participate in mediation, they will each present the other with a list of potential mediators. A retired judge or an attorney with knowledge of the relevant body of law can serve as the mediator. The mediation is planned when the parties reach an agreement and choose a mediator, and parties with settlement power are present either physically or virtually.

In most cases, the mediator meets with each party in private throughout the day. The mediator aids in facilitating the discussions and constructively communicating each side’s stance. Live testimony is not allowed during mediation, and the mediator cannot impose a settlement on the parties. Both sides have a real say in the choice and result.

A decision is only reached if both sides of the matter agree to a solution. If they cannot agree then the case can continue on to a courtroom or via other means.

Contact an employment law attorney to learn what your options are

If you have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, or have otherwise had your rights violated at work, there are options open to you. Contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 for a free legal consultation if you would like to request a consultation with an experienced attorney.

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