Collaborative Law for Labor and Employment:  Workplace Disputes

You can effectively utilize collaborative law for dispute resolution whether you are an employee, employer or independent contractor. The collaborative approach provides a more flexible and efficient path to reaching a durable agreement. It can be used when the conflict occurs under an employment contract or during employment without an agreement. It is a good choice, also, when the parties anticipate ending or have ended their work together.

Collaborative Law can be used for typical legal disputes involving discrimination, sexual harassment, discipline and discharge when the remedies desired could be better achieved through an alternative to litigation.

Collaborative Law is also effective for resolving conflicts which may not constitute legal violations, such as

  • unfair treatment, based on gender, ethnic, racial , religious and other bias
  • bullying
  • performance issues
  • interpersonal conflict

Collaborative Law is appropriate when the participants

  • are concerned about the impact of the dispute on themselves and others
  • are willing to share relevant information
  • are concerned about the cost of litigation
  • prefer private resolution
  • are not intimidated by the other participant or her/his status
  • have the capacity to consider the other participant’s point of view

The Collaborative Law approach permits participants in a workplace dispute to preserve respect for each other. By emphasizing interests and the future, collaborative law reduces the total amount of time focused on the dispute and the cost of resolution, maintains participants’ abilities to perform work, and promotes dignity.

For more information call Martha Schmidt at 206.382.6600 or send an email message to

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