For decades, Ontario’s employment law bar has been mediation friendly. Even where wrongful dismissal actions are brought in jurisdictions where mediation is not mandatory, counsel will often agree to hold a mediation. On top of that, I find that employment lawyers typically mediate earlier in a proceeding than compared to other bars. I am even seeing a trend towards pre-litigation mediation of wrongful dismissal claims in cases that would likely end up in Superior Court - excluding Small Claims Court.
Which brings me to my point: For some time, I’ve advocated for the voluntary mediation of Small Claims Court employment disputes, or what I like to call ‘Small Wrongful Dismissal Claims.’ In my work as a mediator and lawyer, I came to the conclusion that the smaller money cases are harder to settle than the larger ones. After all, every dollar counts during negotiations. At the same time, a disproportionate amount of time and money can be spent litigating these types of cases. Having the intervention of a mediator helps to settle smaller cases more efficiently.