Mediation is becoming an increasingly popular and effective way of resolving disputes. The advent of the new disciplinary and dismissal code in April 2009, means a fair and reasonable approach to resolving workplace disputes and is based on a new ACAS code. This places emphasis on using less formal methods, including mediation, to reduce conflict and cost.

Mediation is a specialist area. A qualified mediator seek to broker a voluntary agreement between two sides in a dispute. This may be between employer and employee, between different individuals or groups in the workplace, or even potentially between directors or senior managers in a company.

A mediator will still follow a very well defined process, ensuring both sides explain fully to the other the reasons for their position and what they expect from a resolution. They will then talk to both sides, often separately, and suggest ways for them to reach voluntary agreement. Such outcomes may or may not be legally binding, this is up to the parties to decide.

While mediation does not have the power to impose an agreement, a mutually agreed mediated settlement can be very powerful.

  • Confidentiality - Mediation is confidential and disputes can be resolved away from the glare of publicity.
  • As it is completely voluntary, either side can walk away at any time.
  • A cheaper and quicker agreement than an Employment Tribunal.
  • Parties are generally more satisfied than with solutions that are imposed by a third party.
  • They are also more likely to follow through and comply with its terms.
  • Mediated settlements are able to address any issues, not just those that concern the law. They often cover procedural and psychological issues that courts and tribunals cannot consider. The parties can tailor their settlement to their particular situation.
  • Gains and losses are more predictable in a mediated settlement than they would be if a case is arbitrated or adjudicated.
  • Mediation can occur early in the process - it can address all parties' interests and can often preserve a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose procedure. Mediation can also make the termination of a relationship more amicable.
  • The nature of the mediation process tries to keep conflict at bay and work to the requirements of both parties.
Mediation works

Perhaps the most compelling reason anyone involved in a dispute should consider mediation is that it works. Most cases that enter mediation are settled. Contrast this to the litigation process that is unpredictable, produces winners and losers and the remedy is often blunt and limited. In mediation you retain control of the process compared to litigation where even the best cases are not certain to succeed. It is reported to be more effective than the use of Grievance Procedures and less stressful.

Mediation turns a two way fight into a three way search for a solution.

Mediation does not prevent you seeking independent legal advice.

Mediation is the bridge between direct negotiation and the legal system. It lets the other side know that you are serious and that you want them to come voluntarily to the negotiating table while they still have a chance. By asking them to attend mediation, you are building them a golden bridge towards agreement and all they have to do is choose to walk across

BackupHR's Consultants are experienced in conflict resolution and have been using the process successfully for many years.

Contact: Cathy Norton
Mobile: 07969 573052
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