Settlement of a complaint is an agreement between the parties that brings the complaint to an end. You can use the Tribunal’s settlement meeting services or settle on your own.
Advantages of trying to settle a complaint are:
- You decide the outcome. You only settle for what you feel is acceptable.
- A settlement brings the dispute to an end so you can put the complaint behind you and move on.
- The settlement process is usually much faster, with less steps than the hearing process.
- The parties can agree that settlement discussions are confidential and “without prejudice”, which means that the discussions and offers you exchange cannot be used in the Tribunal’s decision-making process.
- The parties can agree that the terms of the settlement are confidential.
- Settlement discussions let parties exchange information and clarify misunderstandings, and can lead to solutions you may not be thinking about or that the Tribunal cannot order, such as an apology.
- There is little downside to trying to settle a complaint because you only settle if you agree on how to resolve the complaint. If you do not settle, the decision-making process continues.
Things to consider:
- How important is it to you to have a Tribunal decision about the complaint?
- How important is it to you to try to achieve your “best case scenario”? (For example, a finding that the complaint is justified and a remedy ordered by the Tribunal, or a finding that there was no discrimination)
- Have you thought about both your “best case” and “worst case” scenarios?
- How comfortable do you feel with the uncertainty about letting the Tribunal decide the complaint?
- How important is it to you to have an early resolution? The Tribunal process includes:
- Exchanging documents and witness lists
- In some cases, an application to dismiss the complaint without a hearing
- A hearing, which is three days on average, and where you must organize documents and witnesses, give evidence and be cross-examined, and explain how the law applies to the case
- A decision, which may take several months after a hearing