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What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that can help people to resolve workplace disagreements in a way that is fair and agreed by both parties. A mediator works with both people to help them find a solution and agree how best to deal with the situation.

How does mediation work?

On the day of the mediation, each of the parties will have one or two private meetings with the mediator to put their views across and plan for resolving the disagreement. Both parties are then brought together for the mediation meeting where the mediator will encourage open and honest discussion and help you talk through the issues and reach agreement about how to go forward. The agreement is between the parties. The mediator will never impose solutions or force an agreement.

How long will I have to wait and how long does it take?

We aim to carry out the mediation as quickly as possible, fitting in with both parties’ work and commitments. Once all arrangements are in place, most mediations are completed within a day.

Will I have to take time off work?

You will need to take time away from your day-to-day duties but you will not normally have to take time off to take part in the mediation.

I’m having some issues with a colleague. Would it be suitable for Mediation?

Some cases are unsuitable for mediation but it can be used to help resolve a variety of issues, including situations where:

•You feel that you are being bullied, harassed or discriminated against by a colleague;

•You have a grievance with a colleague that you want to try and resolve informally first, rather than going straight to formal proceedings;

•You are involved in a dispute with a colleague that is affecting how you work together and getting you down, or which has caused the working relationship to break down completely.

If you would like to discuss whether mediation would be right for you, contact us for advice.

How does Mediation help?

Mediation can help you in many ways:

•It gives you a chance to get things off your chest in a confidential environment;

•Talking the situation through with someone impartial and external can help you to see things from a different perspective;

•Hearing the situation described from the other’s person’s perspective can help your understanding of their behaviour;

•It encourages you to find solutions through discussion and mutual agreement, which can help re-build your working relationship.

Why should I consider Mediation as a way of resolving a dispute?

Mediation is a particularly positive way of resolving conflict. It encourages people to be honest, to say what’s on their mind, to discuss the working relationship and how they feel about it.

Mediation is not a soft option but it is usually a lot less stressful and time-consuming than formal complaints or grievances.

I’m a bit unsure about this…does it actually work?

It isn’t always possible to restore the working relationship but in most cases it works well. The main aim of mediation is to encourage honest discussion that hopefully results in an agreement about how to move on and put the disagreement behind you. Through mediation, many people find that misunderstandings can be cleared up, resulting in a happier working environment.

What if it’s not my fault?

Mediation is not about blame or deciding who’s right or wrong and the mediator will make no such judgement.

Will my private business be discussed outside of the mediation?

All mediations are confidential. Both parties will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and any notes from the mediation are destroyed when it ends.

It’s also worth remembering that information revealed during mediation cannot be used as evidence if formal procedures are pursued later. The one exception is in the case of an investigation into a serious criminal offence.

I am considering lodging a formal grievance. Will going for mediation stop me doing that?

Trying mediation does not stop you from pursuing formal procedures at a later date if you feel that the situation has not been addressed satisfactorily. But any information discussed in the mediation cannot be used afterwards as evidence in a formal procedure.

If you have already lodged a formal complaint or grievance, you can still try mediation. Your formal procedure will be put on hold whilst the mediation takes place, and can be resumed if the mediation is unsuccessful.