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Employment and workplace disputes

You can talk to a lot of people about Employment mediation, but if you are stuck in limbo on gardening leave, or you have no income because you have been unfairly dismissed, or your project manager is upsetting your best client, you don’t have time to talk.

Just ring me now on (07907) 964565 and let’s see how fast I can help you to resolve your dispute. This website is about action, not talk.

We can provide a mediation service for employment related disputes as follows:

  • Between two employees – who may or may not be working at the same level of seniority (often referred to as “workplace” disputes).
  • Between employer and employee (often referred to as “employment” disputes).

A dispute between employer and employee may be referred to us for mediation by either party. Unlike solicitors, no mediator will ever specialise in mediating disputes brought by a party with one status rather than another. The essence of mediation as impartiality, whatever the credentials of the participants.

Employer-employee issues

Many employers perceive the tribunal system as unfair, unjust, expensive and inconsistent. However, whether or not it provides justice is not the only question.

For an employee, the tribunal system provides an opportunity for redress in the round but it has become so much a creature of the legal establishment that the procedures are almost as formal as they are in any other part of the judicial system, and can be very expensive.

As a result, many employees hesitate to become embroiled in what they perceive as an extremely stressful situation lasting many months.

Additionally, many employees are not looking to squeeze out of the last £5. For an employee, at least as important as money is to be given a forum, where they can speak openly and clearly about their problems, and to be heard and understood by their employer even if they no longer want the employment to continue.

Mediation is the preferable solution for both parties. It provides a quick, comfortable and stress-free opportunity to close the door on the problem.

We will help you to resolve any employment dispute at any level. It is usual for the employer to pay a mediator’s full fees and to provide a suitable venue.

Workplace disputes

A dispute between two people working for the same organisation can cause immense long-term damage before it is even recognised. Such disputes are often hidden from view because neither side wants to prejudice his interest, as he might see it, by involving a line manager or a specialist in human resources.

Workplace disputes usually arise from misconceptions rather than facts. Emotions figure strongly. A workplace mediator must conduct the mediation with even more empathy and sensitivity than usual. The participants are not looking for money and not usually, for any other financial benefit. Workplace disputes are about power, prestige, hurt feelings. The mediator must also be looking for the addition of misconceptions which society as a whole does not regard as acceptable.

The mediator needs to tread a fine line in these circumstances so as to avoid being drawn in to an argument about political correctness. Nevertheless, mediation of workplace issues is every bit as successful as for those of any other category of dispute.

A workplace dispute is almost always mediated at the workplace or some location arranged by the employer.

Mediation of a workplace dispute is usually promoted by manager and not by one of the parties. As far as the mediator’s concern, it does not matter. What does matter is that the two disputants will be treated by the mediator with absolute equality and impartiality. The manager who may well have introduced these participants to mediation has no part in the process once the two parties have agreed to participate.

Extra advantages of employment mediation

The advantages of mediation in an employment context are broadly the same as for any other business context. The unhappy road which leads ultimately to a tribunal hearing can be avoided to the same advantage as the unhappy road to the County Court.

The dispute can be resolved fast, with far less expense. Often, neither party needs legal advice. The element of stress is downgraded from “severe and continuing” to “light and short”. We suggest the most important advantage of mediation in a Employment dispute is secrecy and confidentiality. This is usually as important to an employee as to the employer.

Although confidentiality agreements are often demonised, in mediation, confidentiality is the norm. A contractual term requiring confidentiality is written into most mediation agreements. That means even in the rare event that your mediation meeting fails to result in agreement, confidentiality must be maintained.

An application to an employment tribunal will usually terminate all goodwill between the employee and employer. As a result any continuing employment will be scarred for ever by that dispute. Mediation does not have that effect. Any damage to the employment relationship could be shallow and forgotten after a week or two.

For both parties, mediation provides a quick, comfortable and stress-free opportunity to close the door on the problem through a settlement agreement.

Healing a long-running sore

Many employment disputes do not arise from a sudden disagreement but accumulate over time until some particular event becomes the “last straw to break the camel’s back”. In such a case, the very fact of both sides being able to put their case confidentially to the mediator and then, as far as they wish, openly to each other, enables each to see the position of the other with new clarity and understanding. That is most conducive to agreement.

Disputes with multiple employees

Mediation is also an extremely efficient way to deal with the dispute which affects multiple employees. They could be represented by a trade union, an informal leader, or not represented at all. This is one of those rare situations where the Mediator will accept that a party consists in several people all of whom would like to be able to speak. The situation does require an extended meeting time but does provide a forum to deal satisfactorily with those disputes which drag on for ever.

It is particularly useful to be able to settle a labour dispute in the course of an ongoing substantial project where a misunderstanding with just one team can cause a bottleneck costing millions of pounds a day.

If by chance either side requires an experienced negotiator then the Mediator is also available to take that role. Of course, that role is quite different from his role as a Mediator.

The procedure for employment mediation

In our mediation, the procedure follows the route we have set out for business mediation generally. The differences are as follows:

  • employment mediation rarely requires a large volume of documentation;
  • employment mediation usually requires less time to resolve. A 3 to 4 hour meeting is likely to be sufficient, as against a full day for a business dispute.
  • it is usual for the mediation meeting to take place in the employer’s premises and for the employer to pay the full cost of both sides. That means that a mediation meeting can be set up quite quickly since the venue can be made available at short notice and the employee is unconcerned at the cost.

Contact the Mediator now on

07907 964565


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