Arbitration Definitions

Arbitration | Arbitration is a way to resolve disputes without going to court. Arbitration has been used for many years to resolve employment disputes between an employer and a union. Now arbitration is used for virtually any type of dispute including (but not limited to) property disagreements, medical malpractice claims, and landlord tenant disagreements.


Arbitrator | An arbitrator is a neutral person who is selected by the parties to resolve the dispute. The arbitrator typically has a background in the legal area surrounding the dispute.

Arbitration Award | An arbitraton award is the written decision the arbitrator gives to the parties in dispute after conducting the arbitration hearing. The arbitrator must take all of the evidence into consideration that was presented at the hearing before writing the award. The award is to be decided in accordance with the law and the facts of the case. The award is final and binding on the parties in dispute.

Arbitration Hearing | An arbitration hearing is conducted by an arbitrator. The hearing is informal and the parties to the dispute (employer and employee) are allowed to state their case and present witnesses and evidence at the hearing. The arbitrator makes a decision (award) based on the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing.

Cross-Examination | During an arbitration hearing, witnesses are asked questions by the parties to the dispute. When a witness is questioned by the other side, it is called cross-exam or cross-examination.




Direct Examination | During an arbitration hearing witnesses are asked questions. When a witness is testifying for a party (employer or employee) if that party is asking the witness questions it is called direct exam or direct examination. When the opposing side asks the same witness questions it is called cross exam or cross examination. Cross examination of a witness occurs after direct examination of a witness.


Discovery | Discovery is the time before the arbitration hearing when each side (party) attempts to discover all the relevant facts of the case. For instance, each side will want to see the documents that will be submitted at arbitration before the arbitration hearing.

E-Discovery | E-Discovery is electronic discovery. Arbitrators allow the parties to a dispute to review the ESI (electronically stored information) that is relevant to the arbitration case. For example, if e-mails or text messages are going to be submitted as evidence during an arbitration hearing the other side is allowed to see this data prior to the hearing.

Mediation | Mediation typically occurs before arbitration. The mediator (a neutral person) listens to the arguments of both parties to a dispute and attempts to help them resolve their dispute. The mediator does not render a binding decision. If the mediator is not successful the parties may go to arbitration.



Interest Arbitration | Occurs when parties are unable to negotiate a labor contract so they elect an arbitrator to draft the contract for them.





Investigatory Interview | Investigatory interview is used to determine the facts. For instance, if an employee has violated a company rule the employer will investigate the matter by interviewing all the witnesses to the rule violation. The investigatory interview is a way for the employer to gather all of the facts before making a decision on the level of discipline for the rule violation.


Pre-Arbitration | Pre-Arbitration is a meeting before the arbitration hearing that includes the parties (to the dispute) and the arbitrator. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss issues such as: possible settlement, discovery, the number of days necessary for the arbitration hearing, the evidence to be submitted and the witnesses list.