What Happens if One Party Breaches a Mediation Agreement?

Learn what happens if one party breaches a mediation agreement and how it affects legal action taken against them.

What Happens if One Party Breaches a Mediation Agreement?

If mediation is a court order and one of the parties breaches their contract, the case is immediately brought before a court judge, who then decides what serious legal action should be taken, such as civil arrest or a contempt of court conviction. If the mediation process fails and an agreement is not reached, the parties still have the option to take the matter to court. However, this process could be much more expensive, as they would have to pay for both the mediation process and the litigation process. It is important to understand that a mediation agreement is an enforceable legal contract that is usually reinforced by a court order.

Therefore, it should not be broken for any reason. If it is, the person risks receiving legal sanctions, which can lead to imprisonment for contempt of court. If changes need to be made to the documents, there are ways to do so legally even after both parties have signed them. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offered by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as an alternative to traditional investigation and litigation processes.

A trained mediator helps the parties reach a negotiated resolution of an allegation of discrimination without deciding who is right or wrong and without imposing an agreement on them. The mediator also helps the parties explore and reconcile their differences together. It is useful to consider the differences between mediation and litigation, as well as between mediation and arbitration. During this evaluative approach, the mediator who facilitates the mediation process will assume the role of a fictitious courtroom.

The EEOC has expanded the charges for which mediation is eligible for mediation and it is now available in the conciliation phase, once a judgment of discrimination has been handed down in appropriate cases. The mediator and the parties must sign agreements to keep everything that is revealed during mediation confidential. If mediation takes place in the conciliation phase, the EEOC acts as a participant, together with the plaintiff and the defendant, and an independent mediator acts as neutral. John Curtis is a successful lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in litigation focusing on sports law and mediation services.

He believes that offering mediation to the parties before starting an investigation saves resources by preventing an accusation from being investigated that could be properly resolved through mediation.