Georgia megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long and the four young men that filed suit against him for sexual misconduct have successfully reached a settlement through mediation.
Archive for the ‘Confidentiality’ Category
Most divorcing couples find that they are in a period of high conflict. Some have experienced constant arguments and fights for months or years; some are reacting to a sudden change of heart.
Regardless of the circumstances and presentation, conflict between divorcing partners exists and is often seemingly impossible to navigate. Most often impending divorce results in a traditional type of intervention: retaining attorneys and asking them to resolve the issues, however divorce mediation is a better option for the vast majority of couples and families. (more…)
Over the weekend, the adoptive parents of Grayson Vaughn drove the 3 year old to his new home: That of his biological father, Benjamin Wyrembek.
This story first hit the news earlier this month when an Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the adoptive Indiana family, the Vaughns, were to turn the child over to his biological father who had sole and permanent child custody. The Vaughns refused, but then agreed to participate in mediation with Benjamin Wyrembek.
Due to the confidential and private nature of mediation it is not known what was discussed or how willing either side was to participate in creating a win-win resolution. However the Vaughns are reporting that mediation was not successful.
Unfortunately, this child custody battle had been going on for all of Grayson’s 3 years of life. Mediation, if entered into willingly by both sides earlier in the dispute may have been a much different process – similar to other parenting and child custody cases. However, mediation does not appear to have been tried except as a last resort; three years into a highly contested legal battle that has already been completely litigated with final judgment rendered. As a result, the mediation dynamic is irrevocably altered and the emotional positions of either side are going to be extremely difficult to set aside so that the shared interests can be addressed.
In addition, at the end of the litigation process the case was thrust into the public eye. Did the news coverage impact the mediation process? As outsiders we can be so quick to form an opinion exalting some and villainizing others. The knowledge of supporters to a side or stance can negatively impact a person’s ability to participate in the creation of a positive resolution. We can never know what, if anything, would have been different about the outcome of mediation had it been engaged earlier in the process and/or without the news coverage of the child custody case.
What we can do is know that, based on previous cases, Grayson will be OK: he is not destined to be traumatized by this process. In addition, we can promote the use of mediation earlier in the process, before the conflict resolution process (litigation) polarizes the sides making a win-win solution virtually impossible.
- Mediation = Agreement
- Desired Outcomes in Mediation
- We Can’t Talk, How Can We Mediate?
- The Problem With Litigation
- Role Of Emotions In Conflict
- Parenting & Child Custody Mediation
One of the benefits of mediation is that it a private form of resolution – and the proceedings are confidential. Unlike litigation – “going through attorneys” – participants and mediators agree to the terms of confidentiality prior to engaging in the process. Confidentiality is a fundamental principle of mediation, as it allows participants to fully engage in the process without worry that their words will be used against them.
As a point of contrast is the Miranda Warning given when the police interrogate a person. Suspects/witnesses are given a warning to proceed with caution – as their “words my be used against them in a court of law”. In other words full disclosure, as it relates to an issue, may not be in a person’s best interest. The litigation process is similar and often discourages candid discussion – lest a person’s words are used against the them to “win” the dispute.
The confidentiality rules that govern mediation support the opposite. Participants agree that their words – their disclosures – cannot be used against them – in a court of law or otherwise outside of the session. The process and personal disclosures are private.
The principle of confidentiality received a lot of media attention from former Miss America Carrie Prejean’s TV appearances on The View and Larry King Live in November 2009.
On Larry King Live, perhaps the most talked about appearance, Carrie Prejean (albeit already reluctant to discuss the previous topic) responded to Larry King’s question specifically referencing her mediating a dispute with Miss America officials: “Did you get a settlement?”, by stating “That’s completely confidential. There was a confidential mediation…” Shortly thereafter she tried to leave the interview.
Although entertaining television, these exchanges are misleading.
- Yes, things discussed in mediation are confidential.
- Yes, it is possible that the terms of the settlement may be confidential if so agreed upon during the process.
- No, stating that a resolution or settlement was reached is not confidential. Asserting that a settlement was reached simply speaks to the value of mediation and does not conflict with the confidentiality terms.
I do not envy Prejean. It appears that she is simply trying to promote a book and comply with the terms of her settlement. Perhaps it would be helpful if someone gave her a pat response to the inevitable question, “was mediation successful?”, in whatever permutation it comes.
Admitting to settlement simply means agreeing the issue at dispute has been resolved – it admits nothing else. If both sides have agreed that the terms of the settlement are confidential, then likely the next question can be answered by saying, “The terms of the settlement are confidential, but all sides were able to agree on the resolution or settlement – and now there is no longer a dispute.”
Regardless of Prejean’s portrayal, the confidentiality rules for mediation are constant – whether for a beauty pageant, divorce, business dispute, or family conflict. The process is private and participants can determine what future protections they need to add as part of the process.
CFR is designed to ensure that the process of resolving conflicts is not additionally stressful. Getting to the point of deciding to bring in a mediator is difficult enough. At CFR, we believe that mediation is the best means of intervening in a conflict – resulting in an efficient and effective resolution that all parties agree with.
Accessing mediation through CFR is easy.
The first step is contacting us either by phone toll free at 866-922-2370 or through our website inquiry form.
One we receive your request for information, a CFR Mediation Coordinator will contact you at your convenience (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). During this first call the mediation coordinator will answer any questions that you may have, explain the process, and, if your ready, initiate the case.
Once the case is initiated, the CFR Mediation Coordinator will send you the intake paperwork packet, collect the fees, and establish your initial mediation appointment with the best CFR Certified Mediator.
The answer is no. Employee Mediation Benefits, like other health and wellness benefits, are entirely voluntary and confidential.. Your employer has no involvement in your case beyond providing you information about the benefit.
So why are they doing this for you?
Employee Mediation Benefits provide employees with a real means of resolving personal and workplace issues that otherwise can have a negative impact on general levels of productivity.
Lost productivity in the workplace accounts for a significant amount of any company’s losses. According to the 2007 CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey, two-thirds of employees who call in sick are really skipping work to deal with personal and family issues. One widely quoted study by the Employers Health Coalition showed that the costs of presenteeism can be found by taking the costs of absenteeism and multiplying them by 7.5. Could those costs be avoided?
Absolutely – in fact, that is exactly what those types of benefits are designed to do. Consider the Employee Mediation Benefit. This benefit does more than just help employees deal with conflict in the workplace, it provides access to services which help them resolve personal conflict. If conflicts are addressed promptly and efficiently through mediation, employees are less likely to focus on personal business during the work day. One online survey suggested that employees actually spend 1.3 hours of every day on personal business.
The average costs of wasted time and avoidable productivity losses can range from $700 to $2000 per year per employee, depending on whose research you read. To find out more about CFR’s Employee Mediation benefit, contact our benefits department for more information. It’s private, it saves time, and it definitely saves everyone money.
Mediation sessions are held in a private office, with all parties and the mediator agreeing that information disclosed will be kept confidential. If those participating in mediation will to have the mediator speak to anyone, including their legal counsel, the mediator is barred from doing this without written permission.
Litigation, or traditional legal intervention is different. Although attorney-client privilege is a well-known concept, proceedings, including status reports, take place in open court and often result in the financial terms of a settlement being public.
Mediation allows those directly concerned in the dispute to maintain privacy as they work towards resolution.
Additional Reading: Carrie Prejean & Confidentiality of Mediation