Emory University and about 45,000 workers announced plans to take their dispute over the school’s retirement plans to a professional mediator.

The parties March 4 sought permission to pause the case so they can pursue mediation with Hunter Hughes Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Hughes is a frequent presence in class actions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, including in cases involving the retirement plans of large universities. He recently brokered a $75 million deal involving JPMorgan, a $25 million...