Archive for December, 2013

They Wanted to Close Her Chapter

A Mediator’s Dilemma

John is a book dealer who is also an experienced mediator.

Pauline has worked for a few years for Big Red Books as a sales agent with a West Coast territory. Mal Lupus is the new Sales Director of Big Red and wants to conduct future sales through a Website he has commissioned recently. He decides to terminate Pauline’s Contract –it has three years to run – and approaches John to mediate the termination settlement. Pauline agrees.

At the open mediation session, Mal says that he is sorry Pauline is losing her income but the advance of the Internet makes the Area Sales Agent a thing of the past and Big Red can’t afford them anymore. Three month’s salary is all he can offer with no compensation for lost commission. He needs her to sigh a “No Competition” agreement for the next five years.

In caucus, Pauline tells John that she feels that she has nothing to bargain with and asks him if he will try to see of Mal will improve his offer.

In Big Red’s caucus room, Mal explains to John that he is prepared to extend the payment to four months but he insists on the “No Competition” agreement because, he says, Gabriel White of Little Blue Books has already approached him and asked if he will part with Pauline. He wants her to launch a new range. He will pay her more with a similar rate of commission. Mal is worried about that competition. He says he is telling John in confidence to explain why Pauline’s signature is so necessary.

What should John do? He doesn’t have long.

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