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Resolving Workplace Conflicts through Litigation: Evidence, Analysis, and Implications

Managing and Resolving Workplace Conflict

ISBN: 978-1-78635-060-2, eISBN: 978-1-78635-059-6

Publication date: 19 July 2016



Industrial relations, organizational behavior, and human resource management scholars have studied numerous aspects of internal workplace conflict resolution, ranging from the design of conflict resolution systems to the processes used for resolving conflicts to the outcomes of the systems. Scholars from these specialties, however, have paid considerably less attention to external workplace conflict resolution through litigation. This chapter analyzes certain areas of such litigation, focusing specifically on workplace conflicts involving issues of managerial and employee misclassification, independent contractor versus employee status, no-poaching agreements, and executive compensation.


Leading recent cases involving these issues are examined, with particular attention given to the question of whether the conflicts reflected therein could have been resolved internally or through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods rather than through litigation.

Practical implications

Implications of this analysis are drawn for workplace conflict resolution theory and practice. In doing so, I conclude that misclassification disputes could likely be resolved internally or through ADR rather than through litigation, but that no-poaching and executive compensation disputes could very likely not be resolved internally or through ADR.


The chapter draws on and offers an integrated analysis of particular types of workplace conflict that are typically treated separately by scholars and practitioners. These include misclassification conflicts, no poaching and labor market competition conflicts, and executive compensation conflicts. The originality and value of this chapter are to show that despite their different contexts and particular issues, the attempted resolution through litigation of these types of workplace conflicts has certain common, systematic characteristics.



Lewin, D. (2016), "Resolving Workplace Conflicts through Litigation: Evidence, Analysis, and Implications", Managing and Resolving Workplace Conflict (Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 31-67.



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