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Workplace Mediation

Unfortunately conflict in the work place is part of the human experience. In every type of work place, from the factory floor to the mirrored exterior of executive tower-blocks, different people interact and sometimes "clash".

Such clashes can result in the following situations arising:

  • Relationships, years old, can be spoiled in a day
  • other employees become involved
  • formal human resource intervention is often required leaving parties feeling sidelined and isolated
  • the times and efforts of many outside bodies such as solicitors, union workers, etc, are utilised in an effort to address the issues
  • the working relationship remains damaged forever

A mediator can help find a way through the maze. A mediator will discuss the issues in dispute between an employer and an employee. This is sometimes done separately, sometimes together with a view to helping both parties arrive at a mutually acceptable outcome. Mediation is voluntary, so both the employee and the employer must agree to become involved. A mediator cannot impose their solution, the employee and the employer must both agree to it. Mediation can take place at any stage in a dispute. It is generally most effective if used soon after the problem has arisen. Although mediation can be part of a grievance or disciplinary procedure, it is not just for sorting out problems between employees and employers. It can also be particularly helpful where there are disagreements or personality clashes between people within a work place team. Using mediation to try to resolve problems may help parties avoid the stress, and potential cost of going to an Employment Tribunal. Other possible benefits include:

  • obtaining a better understanding of the issues
  • reaching a solution on your own terms
  • reaching a settlement that can include things that will not be covered in an Employment Tribunal judgment (e.g. getting a good reference)

Not using mediation, or failing to reach a settlement through mediation, will not affect the employee's right to make an Employment Tribunal claim.