A Mediator is an impartial person who helps companies and individuals resolve employment disputes. This includes workplace disputes, such as conflicts with colleagues or managers, disputes over employment rights and obligations, as well as potential or actual Employment Tribunal or Civil Court employment litigation.
Mediation is a completely voluntary and normally confidential form of alternative dispute resolution. It seeks to provide a speedy solution to individual workplace conflict, and can be used at any stage of a disagreement or dispute. The process aims to provide a safe, confidential space for those involved (the ‘parties’) to find solutions that are acceptable to each side
Specifically, mediation provides the potential to:
- help parties involved in conflict to understand and empathise with each other’s emotions and situations
- explore the issues and concerns of all parties and use joint problem-solving to find a solution that each side feels is fair
- encourage communication and establish workable relationships
- help participants develop the skills to resolve workplace difficulties for themselves in future.
A distinction is often drawn between:
- Workplace Mediation, which deals with conflict between parties who are still employed, and
- Employment Mediation which tends to deal with employment relationships that have ended or where tribunal proceedings have been issued or are in contemplation.
The ELA Register of Mediators lists ELA members who are employment mediators. Employment mediation is also available via ACAS. Judicial mediation may also be available: potentially suitable cases are identified as part of the normal tribunal process by an employment judge, normally at a case management discussion.