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Labor mediation is a formal meeting or series of meetings set up to negotiate labor disputes. Labor disputes are disputes arising under the series of labor laws created by the federal and state government. While these disputes often give rise to legal actions that are decided in a court of law, many parties try labor mediation either as a voluntary measure, or upon the request of the court or the labor board.
Labor laws are laws designed to protect workers. These laws are a series of mandates and written legal rules established by states and by the federal government to ensure that workers are treated fairly. Many labor laws were created after the Industrial Revolution in order to ensure fair treatment, and to protect worker's from the abuses that were occurring in factories and other industries during the industrial revolution.
Workers are entitled, under labor laws and provisions, to a fair wage. They are entitled to overtime as long as they are not exempt employees. Workers are also guaranteed a minimum degree of safety in their working conditions, and are offered a series of other protections.
If a worker believes his or her rights have been violated under the labor protection laws, that worker has the right to contact the Fair Labor Standards Board within their local area. The worker also has the right to sue in federal court, state court, or both, depending on which labor laws were violated.
When a worker brings a case to the Fair Labor Standards Board, often labor mediation is encouraged or mandated before the board or the court will hear the case and make a decision. Labor mediation is a more cost effective method of arriving at a solution, because it allows the case to be decided without the intervention of a court or a judge.
No party is bound to come to an agreement in labor mediation. Instead, the worker and the employer who are having the disagreement are brought together with the help of a professional mediator to discuss the situation, and to attempt to arrive at an amicable resolution. If the worker and employer can address their concerns together, and form a monetary or other type of settlement, the parties can choose to sign a binding agreement and thereby settle the case out of court.
Mediators are generally professionals within the field of mediation. Labor mediators may be those with experience in the labor law industry, such as attorneys. Mediators may be paid by the court or by the plaintiff and defendant, depending on who requested the mediation and why. Since labor mediation can help facilitate out-of-court settlements on labor law disputes, it is often a cost effective solution when a problem arises. Furthermore, when a dispute can be solved by mutual agreement, there will often be less animosity between the parties in the long run, than when a decision is imposed by a court.