When should I decide to settle?
When deciding to settle it is important to remain realistic. A settlement should reflect the effect of the disputed event on the parties. A settlement will not necessarily involve money.
When guiding you to a reasonable settlement the mediator encourages you to look at:
- the investment in the employment relationship
- the nature of the problem
- the circumstances
- how the behaviour of both parties may have contributed to the problem
- how relevant law may affect the outcome.
Mediators will help you consider things such as:
- the effect on the reputation of the injured party
- the length of the relationship
- previous expectations of the injured party about income and career
- harm or loss to the business
- efforts that both parties have made to deal with the problem
- the legal costs of further action.
If you change your mind about what you want from the mediation, you should tell the mediator or the other party. Consider your advisor’s opinion but ensure your concerns are clear as well. It is also valuable to recognise the other party’s needs if you want a lasting and satisfactory settlement to the problem.
Many satisfactory solutions do not involve money. ‘Holding out’ for money may prove an obstacle to resolution. There are many creative solutions to problems and the mediator can assist you to explore ideas that will result in a settlement that resolves the dispute, that everyone can live with, and allows parties to get on with their lives.
Settle when you feel the offer before you is satisfactory. There is no guarantee that the offer will be available a week or even an hour later. If you feel that you would like more time to think about the settlement offer you should discuss this with the mediator to see if the offer can be ‘left on the table’ for a while.
Once you have settled and signed an agreement you cannot change your mind because this is full, final and binding in law.