Only a very small percentage of disputes proceed all the way to a hearing or trial. The vast majority settle at some point, for reasons that are fairly well known. One of the key reasons in many cases is confidentiality; often, the parties want to avoid a public hearing and a published judgment that sets out all of the intimate details of the case, as well as the findings of the judge with respect to fault and blameworthiness.
To discourage the disclosure of details of settlements to third parties, confidentiality provisions are often included in settlement agreements between an employer and a former employee.
At the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the “Tribunal”), a settlement is sometimes reached without having to resort to a hearing. If so, parties will sign a “Minutes of Settlement” agreement, which will almost always contain a non-disclosure clause outlining what can be said, if anything, in regard to the settlement. In the event that a party breaches the non-disclosure agreement, they may find themselves returning to the Tribunal sooner than expected.