The Tennesse Business Litigation Blog has a post discussing the use of an ombudsman in business to prevent lawsuits.
"The ombudsman position can be a very effective tool which provides an outlet for disgruntled employees to air disputes and reinstate respect in the workplace. A large percentage of litigation, including employment litigation, is spawned from misunderstanding. Imagine how much money a business can save by having an experienced neutral person review and assess a dispute before lawyers become involved. An ombudsman can also educate managers about dealing with workplace conflict and identify certain weaknesses in specific managers relating to interpersonal dealings that can be valuable come evaluation time."
Sullivan & Ward lawyer Larry McLellan is likewise a huge proponent of an ombudsman in a business. Larry, who frequently serves as a mediator and has a master’s in law degree in dispute resolution, has studied how businesses can reduce their legal costs through the use of an intermediary in the workplace. Naturally it tends to be large businesses that use ombudsman programs but small businesses should also consider it. Larry is always available to discuss with businesses and industry groups how they can reduce their legal costs by incorporting effective dispute resolution strategies in the workplace.