Coastal County Clerk of Court Benchmarking Worksheet

Essay by rlundayUniversity, Master's June 2010

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�PAGE �13� Coastal County Clerk Worksheet

Coastal County Clerk of Court Benchmarking Worksheet



Alternative Dispute Resolution Research Worksheet

Resolving Employment Conflict

Topic : Alternative Dispute Resolution


"Zurich, which insures businesses such as hotels and restaurants with multiple locations, including hospitals and churches, had a regular adjustment process in effect" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3). "But Zurich officials decided to enhance the normal adjustment process and created the Gulf Coast Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution Program" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3). "Yet after Hurricane Katrina and two other hurricanes slammed into the Gulf Coast during September 2005, Zurich Insurance swung into action. (Rooney, 2008, p. 3).

"The Zurich program involves three steps" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3). "The initial step involves a meeting between a Zurich representative and the policyholder to address issues that are delaying payout of a claim" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3). "If agreement is reached, the policyholder is paid immediately" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3). "If no final agreement occurs, the policyholders are then asked if they are willing to participate in non-binding mediation" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3). "Feinberg chooses the mediators from a list of neutrals he compiled along with Zurich officials" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3). "If the first two steps are unsuccessful, the final step involves binding arbitration" (Rooney, 2008, p. 3).

These are alternative dispute resolutions Coastal County Clerk of Court can use to help resolve the problem they are facing. By using the Zurich program it would save the taxpayers an abundance of money in which they would pay in court costs and attorney fees. By using the program it could help settle many disputes between the employees and the employer, which would save the county and give them more resources to use toward resolving many issues they may have.

AT&T Global Information Solution

"Few companies have made the commitment to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) more effectively than NCR (recently renamed AT&T Global Information Solutions)" (Carver & Vondra, 1994, p. 1). "NCR executives made a firm commitment to alternative dispute resolution a decade ago, and the results have been dramatic: the number of the company's filed lawsuits (excluding insured risks) pending in the United States dropped from 263 in March 1984 to 28 in November 1993" (Carver & Vondra, 1994, p. 1). "Moreover, the reduction in outside fees has not increased the costs of in-house counsel" (Carver & Vondra, 1994, p. 1). "NCR manages its filed cases with only four in-house lawyers and four paralegals" (Carver & Vondra, 1994, p. 1).

"Rick Quist, an attorney with AT&T, said he has used mediation since he started practicing law in the mid-1980s" (Rooney, 2008, p. 4). "AT&T has regularly used mediation to resolve personal-injury matters and large commercial disputes since 2001, Quist added" (Rooney, 2008, p. 4). "Company officials have found mediation especially effective in tort matters" (Rooney, 2008, p. 4).

The ADR methods that AT&T used in its company would definitely work for Coastal County Clerk of Court. Mediation seems to save AT&T an abundance of money in court and attorney fees, which would be an assist for CCCC to use to help resolve many problems they are facing. If used properly mediation has been proven by many companies as the best solution for dealing with disputes.

Arnold Worldwide

In 1999 Brook Dore left an advertising firm in Colorado to go work for Arnold Worldwide in Los Angeles with an offer letter agreed upon employment as an "at will" employment, which the company "has the right to terminate your employment at any time" (Greenwald, 2006, p. 4). Brook Dore agreed to the terms of the letter by simply signing it. On August 2001, Brook Dore was terminated from Arnold Worldwide and Mr. Dore sued for oral representations, past conduct and language in the contract being ambiguous in which it implied a contract with termination only for good cause.

The California Supreme Court decision was handed down in August 2003, saying that "Arnold Worldwide's letter "contained no ambiguity, patent or latent, in its termination provisions" (Greenwald, 2006, p. 1). Something that the plaintiff Mr. Dore had fought saying that the "at will" clause was ambiguous because it did not imply cause as a requirement for termination thus making it a breach of contract.

Sterling Drug

In February 1984 Sabetay was terminated from employment at Sterling Drug. Sabatey would cite that he was released because of his refusal to go along with illegal activities that Sterling Drug was involved in when dealing with the liquidation project. He alleged four contracts and three torts actionable complaints based on wrongful discharge of employment. The supreme court of New York would dismiss the tort actions but would look at the four contract causes of action.

Sabetay would say that a breach of contract existed because Sterling Drug's personnel manual stated seven grounds of termination in which Sabetay would say those were the only seven complaints someone could be terminated for, thus his termination was a breach of contract. Other claims would be Sterling Drug's written policies that require employees to stay away from illegal and unethical activities.

In both of these cases employment "at will" employees have come under fire just like in the scenario of Coastal County Clerk of Court, which the newly elected Clerk Mr. Accord is coming under fire for terminating an employee Mr. Munger under the "at will" employment that he was under. Both cases signify the importance for companies to start to pay more attention to how "at will" employment offer letters and positions are offered and accepted by new employees.

The McGraw-Hill Companies

The McGraw-Hill Companies, (McGraw-Hill) is one of the world's largest producers of textbooks. According to McGraw-Hill (2010), there are a number of ways in which employees may resolve workplace disputes. If there is a problem in the workplace, employees are encouraged to start with their manager or human resources representative.

If this is not possible, then employees can go to the next highest level of management or the Corporate Equal Employment Opportunity department. Through Chief Executive Officer Joseph L. Dionne, McGraw-Hill has another resolution process, created as a voluntary alternative dispute resolution program called FAIR (Fast and Impartial Resolution). Dionne stated, "It was time to supplement the open-door policy with a formal, in-house alternative dispute resolution program (ADR)." He also said, "to develop something that settled disputes quickly, something good for morale," (Bencivenga, 1996, p. 1).

The voluntary FAIR Program has three phases, beginning with filing a written complaint. Neutral mediators are used if the decision is not satisfactory to the employee. Finally, if the results from the mediator are not satisfactory to the employee, there is binding arbitration with a written decision, (McGraw-Hill, 2010).

According to the Coastal County Clerk of Court (CCCC) scenario, the Court Clerk failed to incorporate technology throughout the 1990s; and unless required to do so by the State of Florida, would not use computers. As the county grew, the citizens believed the county needed to be revitalized, including an updated approach for employees to resolve conflict within CCCC. CCCC would benefit from implementing an alternative dispute resolution program similar to McGraw-Hill, saving the county from implications or lawsuits involving wrongful discharge or violating any of the labor laws from current or past employees, (University of Phoenix. 2010)

Lowes Lowes uses an alternative conflict resolution approach different from McGraw-Hill, a five-step method of solving conflict before it needs ADR. According to Anderson (2006), Lowes' uses ideas from both John Baldoni, author of "How Great Leaders Get Great Results" and management expert Lynda Ford, author of "Transform Your Workplace." This five-step method is:

Insist on objectivity throughout the process.

Encourage participants to solve the problem themselves.

Argue the business case.

Gain agreement on what must change.

Hold people accountable.

Additionally, Lowes uses active listening to fully comprehend the reasons behind the conflicts. Using their adopted five-step method, Lowes has been very successful in avoiding the need for ADR. To avoid conflicts and the need for ADR, CCCC could use the adopted strategies Lowes has developed, and use active listening in to find the underlying reasons behind any conflict.


Siemens is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, and operates in the industry, energy, and health care sectors. Siemens has built a reputation for leading-edge innovation and the quality of its products, services, and solutions for more than 150 years. One of the reasons for their success was that Siemens successfully applied the use of ADR within their organization.

Siemens realized that the use of mediation is a cheaper alternative to litigation and also committed to ADR as a cultural phenomenon. Siemens' shareholders and corporate leaders strongly urge the use of ADR through establishment of the corporate culture (Gans & Stryker, 1996). Additionally, they understand that resources are best allocated through ADR rather than costly litigation and that it is a much more efficient approach to settling disputes. "Siemens has used mediation to resolve over 30 disputes in the past three years" (Gans & Stryker, 2006, p. 41).

The use of a skilled mediator enables parties to confront their weaknesses and focus on a cooperative approach to conflict management. They realize that it is wise to foster mediation at the early stages of conflict to achieve the full benefits of time and cost savings. Along with mediation, they have used ADR techniques such as facilitation, advisory opinions and mini-trials.

Siemens believes ADR to be cultural norm for the organization and an ongoing process. "The process is driven through their lawyers working with clients to create better understanding of where conflict emerges in business relationships and how conflict can be better managed than through litigation" (Gans & Stryker, 1996, p. 41). Finally, the organization believes that being a mediation company affords them the ability to preserve good will business relationships as well.

Coastal County Clerk of Court (CCCC) scenario, the Court Clerk they failed to incorporate an alternative dispute resolution program as Siemens implemented. Siemens not only incorporated ADR into their organization, they committed to ADR as a cultural phenomenon. The Court Clerk could learn from Siemens as an example shift the organizational culture to adopt this approach in every day dispute resolution offering a much less expensive and mutually beneficial approach.

Johnson and Johnson

Johnson and Johnson (J&J) initiated arbitration proceedings to resolve a dispute over if Johnson and Johnson can terminate the distribution agreement relating to Schering-Plough's rights to REMICADE and SIMPONI" (Johnson & Johnson, 2009, p. 2). Their approach was to enlist an independent arbitrator who would be used in the arbitration process that was expected to proceed for as long as 12 months with a final decision not expected until 2010.

"In arbitration, a third party is empowered to decide the outcome of a conflict. Parties who cannot resolve their conflict unassisted mutually empower an arbitrator to solve their conflict, are ordered to do so by a judge or manager, or are compelled by contract to seek arbitration" (Wilmot & Hocker, 2007, p. 273). Arbitration is considered a faster, simpler, and much less expensive alternative to litigation.

In the scenario, the Court Clerk failed to incorporate an alternative dispute resolution program as J&J implemented. They also failed to realize that cost saving is also achieved through preventative conflict management. As J&J realized, an ADR such as arbitration offers parties a legal outcome to disputes without the expense of attorney fees as well as the time needed to take a case to court


Senior managers complained oil giant BP was "taking shortcuts" by replacing heavy drilling fluid with saltwater in the well that blew out, triggering the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Truit Crawford. BP had other signs of problems, including an unexpected loss of fluid from a pipe known as a riser five hours before the explosion, which the memo said could have indicated a leak in the blowout preventer, a huge piece of equipment that should have shut down the well in case of an emergency.

Conflict Management shows that although employees has shown deep concern on the methods used were unsafe they still wanted to proceed risking all their safety for the benefit of saving money. BP has a tremendous task on their hand to deal with the families of 11 workers who have died and recovering by trying to stop the spurring oil pipe beneath the depth of the ocean. At the same time handle the pressure to save wild life on the Gulf coast.

This is clearly a benchmarking example of how County Coastal Court could use to understand the severity of cutting corners to save money could lead to tremendous loss for its community. Mediation between the United States and BP can be implicated to find who is responsible for the oil spill and take the right steps to bring the person or persons to justice to pay for this environmental crime for the oil spill (BP, 2010).

New York City Transit Authority

They are many cases in which Alternative Dispute Resolutions were used to handle many cases of New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) in regard to employee and union related issues. One case occurred when a subway train operator for a total of 16 years had an accident, which led to his dismissal in November 20, 1998. While transporting a non-passenger motor train into the train yard and parking it he failed to set a hand brake caused it to have a collision with another train, which caused a train derailment. No one was injured, but two weeks prior he had a refresher course in safety, which taught him the need to set the hand brake under the same circumstances.

NYCTA dismissed David Rodriguez without pay effective December 10, 1998. His representative Transport Workers Union filed a grievance to dispute the type of disciplinary action, which violates their collective bargaining agreement from their contract (NYCA, 2002). After bringing the case to an arbitration panel to review, they upheld the NYCTA discoveries of David Rodriguez misconduct. Although the finding seemed to be strict a two to one vote on January 22, 1999. The panel determined that given his long tenor in the NYCTA they reduced the penalty to time served without pay and demotion for a six month interval (NYCTA, 2002).

Coastal County Clerk of Court Financial Advisor Art Brewer to see how the misconduct of his approach on saving money has enabled the county to so far behind in services compared to other counties. Mediation between both parties can prove to be effective to find an equal mean to alleviate the situations. Through arbitration it was overturned by a grievances submitted by the union, which state the decision was two drastic. Later the decision was overturned by the arbitrator and new changes were made to make sure an incident like this doesn't happen again. This case can clearly be used to benchmark the Coastal County Clerk of Court on ways to change their order of operations in which both parties are happy.


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