Matching a mediator to a specific matter is critical to a successful outcome, but can also be challenging. Employment related mediations present unique challenges. A successful mediator offers many skills, including preparation, persistence, a working knowledge base of applicable law and the ability to speak directly but productively to the parties.

Mediation of employment and labor cases is more likely to be successful with the “right” mediator. Experience in this fluid and evolving area of the law increases the chance of a positive outcome. Having a mediator who has focused his practice of over 30 years on workplace related matters and has mediated hundreds of cases may be of interest to you or someone in your firm. Having a mediator who has tried over 20 jury trials should also be a factor to consider when selecting a mediator.

Straight talk, tenacity, and the ability to rapidly collect information from the parties are keys to dispute resolution. A mediator with extensive current experience in employment law can make the difference between resolution and the uncertainty of litigation.

My experience as a practitioner includes advising and litigating disputes over a wide variety of issues including discipline and discharge, having handled dozens of labor arbitrations, advising and defending discrimination claims, routinely providing advice and litigating matters such as wrongful discharge claims, state and federal leave claims, and trade secret and intellectual property matters. In other words, my practice has involved the full gamut of employer- employee disputes or issues.

From 2008 through 2016, I was appointed, and re-appointed by Governors Gregoire and Inslee, and confirmed by the Washington State Senate to terms as a Commissioner with the Public Employment Relations Commission. I was one of three Commissioners that ruled upon appeals filed by a wide variety of public sector employers, labor unions, and individuals.

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“Tom is a smart and tough, but honorable opponent. He always keeps his eye on what is best for his client, and he will get down to business without any of the wasteful posturing and gamesmanship that prolong disputes and drive up costs for everyone but the lawyers.”

— Adam Berger, Schroeter Goldmark & Bender