Arbitration - Biased or Neutral?
I wrote a Letter to the Editor – which was published on Oct. 19th in the San Jose Mercury News. In part, the following is what I said:
Several cities are having – have had problems with Arbitrators who in the opinion of many, were biased in favor of unions, in particular police and fire unions.
I want to say that not all arbitrators are biased or incompetent. I have been an arbitrator and mediator for many years and have taught Alternative Dispute Resolution to many professionals through the years. We are taught to be neutral – but, as you can imagine, some people can’t get past their own biases.
My reason for writing is to ask you and your readers to not blame all arbitrators for the allegedly biased decisions made by a few. Selection is important, as it is in selecting any professional to serve your needs.
As you know from reading other copies of my newsletter, I am a firm believer in Alternative Dispute Resolution and although I prefer mediation, I am also an arbitrator. Some situations aren’t appropriate for mediation – or when mediation has failed, arbitration is the next best step.
Of course, as I said above – who you select as your arbitrator is critically important.
I’d also like to add that it doesn’t have to be a retired judge or an attorney. I am neither.