Tag Archives: Alternative Dispute Resolution

Try Mediation For Employee Grievances

Recently I mediated several disputes between employees and their supervisors. I think more employers should use mediation to resolve employee grievances.

Almost every business has a grievance procedure. However, most of these procedures focus on who is right and who is wrong. While conducting an investigation to find one person at fault may solve the problem of having appropriate personnel procedures should the company get sued, investigations and grievance procedures rarely create an atmosphere that allows employees to work together  harmoniously in the future.

Mediation can go farther than a grievance procedure or an investigation. It can get to the root of what is really bothering the employee and, possibly, come up with a more long-term solution. Sometimes the solution is an apology. Sometimes the solution is the ability to speak a truth to one employee that others have been unwilling to voice. Sometimes the solution is to listen and let someone vent.

Consider mediation if you want not only a resolved grievance, but a harmonious workplace.

Stop Talking!

I have spent a lot of time this summer in hearings and mediations. If I had forgotten, spending so much time in problem solving settings has reminded me to shut up and listen!

As a group, we lawyers love to hear ourselves talk.  We take classes in law school designed to hone our oratorical skills. However, I can’t remember a single “listening” class in law school. Can you?

The most effective and successful lawyers know how to listen intently because listening is the key to problem solving.  Are you a good listener?

 

East Point City Council Training

Recently I was honored to be asked by City Attorney Nina Hickson and City Manager Crandall Jones to make a presentation to the East Point City Council during its annual retreat. I spoke to the Council on the topic of Council / Staff relations. I titled my paper Would You Act Like That In Front of Your Grandmother?! (How Good Council/Staff Relations Can Minimize Public Risk and Improve Public Image).

I illustrated my presentation  with quilts to show that each person is part of a bigger picture. Shown here is my quilt Fulton County Attorneys which is a signature quilt made during my tenure as the Fulton County Attorney. Each staff member signed a block in the quilt.

Sharpening My Mediation Skills Through the Tax Appeal Process

It’s tax time! Metro counties, including Fulton, are sending out thousands of assessment notices to homeowners. If homeowners are unhappy with their assessment, they can appeal. Because of a change in the law requiring counties to assess property annually, everyone will get a notice this year. Tax officials are bracing for an unusually large number of appeals.

At the request of Fulton County Attorney David Ware, I will be handling some of these appeals on behalf of the Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors. Most of the Fulton Superior Court Judges assign their tax appeal cases to the Fulton County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution before placing them on a trial calendar. I am looking forward to participating in the mediation process from the other side of the table.

New Beginnings

Life’s Twists and Turns by O.V. Brantley

Effective January 31, 2011 I became Of Counsel to the law firm Holland & Knight.  My law practice will continue to focus on local government issues, and I will continue to mediate cases that involve local government issues.

My new mailing address is Holland & Knight, 1201 West Peachtree, Suite 2000, Atlanta, GA 30309. My direct  number is 404-898-8132, and my email address is ov.brantley@hklaw.com.

I look forward to mediating with you soon.

Martin — The Greatest Mediator

Martin's Dream, 74 x 87 inches, by O.V. brantley, 2002.

There are many reasons to revere and emulate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a great leader. He was a great orator. He was an amazing scholar and a caring husband and father. For me, however, I have come to revere him as the greatest mediator ever!

Now that so many years have passed since his death, history tends to gloss over the magnitude of the conflict he faced. When you set out to change a nation, not every one agrees on the best course. .

Many African Americans believed that violence was the best way. Many whites believed that no way was the best way. From these extreme view points, he forged a way forward to forgiveness, healing and justice.

There is much to celebrate on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He made us all better.

Does Your Case Need an Unconventional Remedy?

Money can buy a lot of things, but it cannot buy everything. Sometimes to settle a case you need an unconventional remedy. One example of this is when one side wants an apology. Such was the case  in the recent litigation involving police misconduct at a gay nightclub in Atlanta. Another example is cell tower litigation when an alternate site is required.

Courts are great at awarding money, but if your case requires an unconventional remedy, try mediation.

Wishing You a Peaceful and Prosperous Holiday Season

Merry Christmas, 36 x 36 inches, by O.V. Branltey, 2001.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with others to resolve conflict. I have made new friends and learned a lot in the process.

I wish you a peaceful and prosperous holiday season.

Patsy Porter Named Chief Judge of Fulton State Court

Judge Patsy Porter

Judge Patsy Porter was recently named Chief Judge of Fulton State Court after Judge Albert Thompson retired. Judge Porter has shown herself to be a hard-working, fair judge during her many years on the bench.

The Fulton State Court also works closely with the Justice Center of Atlanta to mediate disputes. The Justice Center of Atlanta  was a pioneer in the area of alternative dispute resolution.

Congratulations!

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