Mediation is the process where an impartial person facilitates an agreed compromise between warring parties.
Mediations are entirely confidential, for example nothing said by either party can be repeated in a public hearing. The essential difference between mediation and arbitration is that in a mediation any settlement is reached by agreement between the parties as a result of the facilitation of the mediator and is not imposed by the decision of the mediator.
Mediations take far less time and are less confrontational and stressful than litigating in court or, in the employment context, most grievance processes.
Mediations are a more flexible process than court proceedings as they can and often do consider issues that are not strictly legal but nevertheless are of importance to the parties. Success rates for mediations are high. As an alternative to being caught up in a lengthy grievance process or litigation in open court the advantages are many and a great saving in professional fees and managerial time usually results. They can take place face to face or online, whichever suits the parties best
In a workplace dispute if an executive’s departure is necessary, agreed terms are likely to be reached much more quickly through mediation. Alternatively, if there is a possibility of preserving employment, the mediation process is usually far more likely to succeed.
Key Points for Mediations
- Ensure mediation is acceptable to the parties.
- Decide whether on-line or face to face is your preference.
- Start the process as soon as practicable.
- In the absence of an established in-house scheme appoint an independent and experienced mediator.
- Ensure that adequate facilities for the mediation are in place. You will often need three rooms unless you work on-line.
- Be patient and don’t lose faith if a solution isn’t reached immediately.