Creative Settlement Negotiations Can Lead to Faster Results in Ontario
Our employment lawyers often get questions surrounding negotiations, and how to negotiate creatively. When it comes to lawsuits at court or applications to a human rights tribunal or commission, the vast majority of cases will end up settling before it ever gets to a trial or hearing. It is beneficial to settle a matter before a trial or hearing as there is no guarantee you will be successful and no guarantee of being awarded any monetary damages by a judge or vice-chair. Additionally, through negotiation you can be more flexible with the available remedies as opposed to a ruling at court or administrative body – creative negotiations can assist in reaching faster settlements in Ontario, and potentially avoiding costly litigation down the line.
Anyone pursuing or considering pursuing a lawsuit or human rights application should be aware of how best to negotiate creatively so that a reasonable settlement can be reached and the risks and delays of trials and hearings can be avoided.
How Can Maintaining a Relationship with the Other Side During Negotiations Lead to Faster Settlements in Ontario?
Negotiations typically need the cooperation of all parties involved to have a chance at success. In some cases, the other side may try to play hardball or play off the inexperience of the other party. In cases like this, it is important not to allow yourself to become intimidated since there can still be room for creativity in negotiations despite the tactics used.
Negotiations between two parties can be made drastically easier and more pleasant where there is a cordial relationship between the individuals negotiating. This demonstrates the importance of acting in good faith with each other outside of negotiations. Through good faith conduct, there is an additional level of mutual trust that can be created which wouldn’t exist otherwise.
It is also worth remembering that negotiations can continue right up to the start of a trial or hearing. In fact, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) will normally offer mediation right before the hearing begins. Even if one round of negotiations does not lead to settlement, settlement may still be possible down the road. To that end, be sure not to burn bridges if the first round of negotiations doesn’t resolve the matter.
Negotiation Concepts and Useful Tactics
One trick to make negotiations easier is to go in with a clear idea of the best alternative to a negotiated agreement and the worst alternative to a negotiated agreement. This means understanding the best and worst outcomes of ending the negotiations without a resolution. Any offers received and any offers you want to make can be framed through these two avenues, which will allow you to assess whether an offer is worth making or accepting.
Additionally, the concept of anchoring can be vital to ensuring you obtain an acceptable offer from the other side. To anchor in negotiations is to set your starting point with your first offer. If you anchor too high, the other side may not think negotiations are worth participating in. However, if you anchor too low, the other side will expect you to go lower in your follow up offer. When it comes to your first offer, you need to strike the right balance to ensure the other side is not put off and you are still asking for more than you really want.
Finally, even creative negotiations should be kept interest based, rather than position based. In negotiations, your interest is what you really hope to get out of the negotiation to be happy, while a position may be a stronger demand far beyond what is necessary. Getting creative in negotiations can allow both sides to win, and lead to faster settlements in Ontario. When both sides can get to the heart of their interests, it is easier to come to an acceptable resolution, rather than refusing to budge over stricter positions.
If you are an employer, or an employee, and are pursuing a legal matter and want to know more about negotiation tactics or want assistance in potentially reaching a settlement, our team of experienced workplace lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at +1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.
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