Employment and Workplace Mediation

 

At Ellisons, we can assist with resolving conflict in the workplace and threatened or actual employment disputes once the employment relationship has ended. Our highly experienced mediators are used to exercising the discretion and sensitivity required when dealing with all levels of leaders and managers, including Executives.

 

Lead Contacts

Lizzy Firmin

Chief Operating Officer

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Julian Outen

Julian Outen

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment

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Mediation in the workplace

A typical leader or manager spends a day a week dealing with conflict.

Managing that conflict early on through mediation aims to resolve issues quickly and effectively. It provides those involved in conflict with an opportunity to talk candidly as part of a managed, controlled and impartial process. It also prevents potential risk within your business ending up in court.

Imagine how much more could be achieved if your leaders and managers could get that time back. Imagine how much more engaged your teams would be if every member had open, honest, healthy and productive relationships with each other.

The impact and difference this will make for you and your team will be immediate, visible, energising and tangible in terms of performance and results.

Mediation of Employment Disputes  

After the employment relationship has ended, a former employee may threaten or bring an Employment Tribunal claim against its former employer.  In some instances, this can follow a long history of grievances, or disciplinary processes, or sickness absence for example,  or a combination of these. Very often, the claims are lengthy and involve allegations against several people within the organisation as well as against the employing company directly. Defending these proceedings can be a distraction, costly, time consuming and inevitably a Tribunal claim takes many months and often years to run its full course.

The potential remedies and outcomes offered under the Tribunal system are limited in scope and very often a disgruntled former employee is seeking something different in reality.  Sometimes, the ability simply to have an opportunity, in a safe environment, to say what has been unsaid or to hear an explanation, or an apology, is all that is necessary to pave the way to resolution by alternative and less costly means.  The adversarial Tribunal system doesn’t afford such a platform and parties can quickly become entrenched and distanced.

Employment Mediation has proven time and time again to be a very effective way of offering this alternative and is statistically likely to lead to successful resolution, more quickly and in a more cost-effective manner. It is particularly effective where an employee is unrepresented in the Tribunal proceedings and may have unrealistic or misguided expectations and beliefs about what can be achieved. Creative solutions, vast in scope and well beyond anything that can be achieved through a Tribunal process, are all potentially possible with mediation. Even though compromise is always likely to be needed on the part of both parties, mediation usually offers an employer more say and ultimately better control over outcomes.

The process for mediation of an employment dispute is similar to that set out below for a workplace dispute. Parties are more likely to be represented and agreed outcomes are likely to be different where there is no ongoing employment relationship.

What is involved in a workplace mediation?

Prior to any workplace mediation taking place, the mediator should meet with the parties involved individually in order to:

  • Confirm agreement to the mediation
  • Understand the nature of the conflict
  • Agree terms for the mediation including dates, times, location, duration and documentation
  • Outline how the mediation process works

The mediation session

The core of the mediation session is then made up of a number of elements. These include:

  • Opening statements – outlining the process and the role of the mediator
  • Uninterrupted time – giving each party an opportunity to express the key points about the conflict
  • The exchange – held either as joint meetings or private confidential meetings between the mediator and each party separately
  • Exploring the options – attempting to shift the discussion into the future. For example, what would you like to see happen? What would prevent this situation from happening again?
  • Constructing the agreement – beginning to document ideas for solutions and testing thoughts with each party
  • Writing the agreement
  • Closing the mediation

The Mediator’s role 

  • A manager of the process, providing firm but sensitive control
  • A facilitator, helping the parties overcome deadlock
  • An information gatherer, absorbing and organising data
  • A problem solver, helping the parties construct their own solutions
  • A sponge to soak up frustrations
  • A scribe to help document the agreement

For an initial confidential discussion with no obligations, please contact Lizzy Firmin or Julian Outen.

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Get in touch

If you have any enquiries please contact any one of our specialist team who would be pleased to advise you on your options. You can also contact your Mediator individually from ‘Our People’ page using the link below.

Our People


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