Many employment disputes are resolved by way of Employment Tribunal proceedings. However, this process can be time consuming; stressful; and expensive for both parties.
Mediation offers an alternative method of resolving workplace disputes. It is a voluntary, non binding and “without prejudice” process in which a specially trained third party intervenes in a dispute and attempts to bring the parties together leading to a settlement agreement. It can be used at a very early on before an issue escalates to a formal process; or at any stage even after Employment Tribunal proceedings have been issued.
If mediation succeeds, and statistics indicate that over 80% of them do, then it ends with a binding agreement.
Advantages of Mediation
- It is quick – mediation can be set up quickly, literally within days, unlike the judicial system or arbitration.
- It is cheap – particularly compared to a long winded litigation process.
- It improves communication – face to face meetings and joint sessions improve communication and reduce the possibility of misunderstanding leaving to acrimony.
- It is flexible – there are no formal rules or procedures so the mediator can use the process flexibly to suit the circumstances of the dispute.
- It addressed unreasonable claims and expectations – analysis of a dispute, face to face, can help to keep issues in perspective.
Why does it work?
- It gets things of your chest – enables the parties to sit down face to face and tell each other what has occurred.
- It provides the equivalent of a day in Court – even though the mediator is not a Judge, the very presence of an outside party seems to force peoples’ need to want to stand up and tell a jury that they have been wronged.
- It gives people a chance to see solicitors in action – with some disputes people may have visited their solicitors privately and received letters. Now they have a chance to see them present the case and know something is finally happening.
- It is a chance to hear the issues and facts – the mediation process ensures that all parties have listened to the same story.
- It unearths the real issue – the mediator helps parties to focus on the real issues in their dispute.