Our employment team includes an accredited mediator who conducts facilitative mediation. TWM’s mediation services are not only available to employers and individuals with a dispute to address, they can also be called upon by professionals representing clients involved in a dispute. The process involves the mediator enabling dialogue between the participants. Introducing an independent expert third party to mediate opens up a new line of communication and creates new opportunities for finding a resolution.
Problems arise in the workplace from time to time, whether the employment relationship is continuing (workplace mediation) or the employment relationship has ended (employment mediation).
Workplace mediation can offer the chance to preserve, repair and re-build working relationships. It places a focus on the future. It can assist when there are difficulties between colleagues, for example, when there are complaints, grievances or threatened claims that involve allegations of discrimination, bullying, harassment or unfair treatment. It can also be effective when employees are in dispute with their employer, for example, if there are issues with job changes, working conditions, rosters and commission/bonus entitlements.
Employment mediation can offer the chance to resolve a range of pending or commenced employment claims, for example, claims of discrimination, harassment, unfair dismissal, breach of contract and unlawful deduction from wages. It can also be used when negotiations over executive termination packages have stalled.
Mediation has many other benefits. It allows solutions to be agreed that cannot be achieved through litigation and permits the participants to reach an outcome that works for them. Examples of this are agreed changes to working practices, the implementation of support mechanisms, opening lines of communication and making commitments about future working relationships. As mediation is confidential and conducted on a without prejudice basis, it encourages participation. It is therefore a process that can save significant management time and resolve potentially litigious matters in a cost-effective manner.
In terms of how mediation works, some discussions may take place in open sessions, where the participants are brought together to talk, whilst others may take place in closed sessions, where different participants talk separately. Much depends upon the nature of the issues being discussed and the wishes of the participants. However, the mediator’s main role is to facilitate productive discussion in order to explore possible solutions and reach a consensus about the way forward. Mediation is therefore a constructive forward looking process and it is especially well suited to seeking resolutions in workplace and employment disputes.