Both the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the Americans with Disabilities Act encourage employers to use alternative dispute resolution rather than take disagreements between management and employees to court. Companies are increasingly turning to such alternative techniques instead of legal action to save the money and the heartburn involved in court battles.

Any civil dispute can be handled with arbitration, but it works best when the two parties must continue working together. Two booklets, A Guide to Mediation and A Guide to Arbitration, explain the advantages of nonbinding mediation and legally binding arbitration and the types of disputes they can resolve, and then outline each process. They also include a list of American Arbitration Association (AAA) offices nationwide. Both booklets are free from the AAA (212-484-4000). -- Phaedra Hise

* * *