Workplace mediation: frequently asked questions

Employers

  • How long does a mediation take?

    Mediations involving two parties usually take a day.

    They begin with preparatory meetings between each party and the mediator. The two parties then meet together with the mediator for face to face mediation. Once a potential way forward has been identified, there is a detailed planning session, the outcomes of which form the basis for a written mediation agreement.

    Occasionally, mediations involving two parties take less than a day or need to re-convene on a second day, but this is comparatively rare. Mediations involving more than two individual parties, or whole teams, may take several days.

  • Who pays for mediation and how much will it cost?

    Mediation is a service paid for by the employer.

    The charge for a day's mediation is £450 per participant. This includes all preliminary communication with the parties, mediation itself and the preparation of the written agreement. It also includes telephone review calls with the employer and the parties 3 months' later.

    There is no charge for the initial consultation with the employer.

    There are lower rates for voluntary and community organisations. Please contact me for further details.

    Please bear in mind that mediation costs a lot less than the cost of defending a claim for constructive dismissal.

  • Where will the mediation take place?

    Mediation can take place on-site, but many employers and participants prefer it not to take place in the workplace. A neutral space somewhere else can help the participants to focus, help them to get perspective, and ensures that confidentiality is maintained. If rooms are to be hired off-site, the employer will be expected to meet the cost.

     

    A mediation requires three separate rooms. Confidentiality is key, so it must not be possible for conversations to be overheard outside. In the initial stage of the mediation, the two parties will need separate rooms, where they can prepare on their own and with the mediator. The third room is where the two parties and the mediator will meet together for the exchange and planning stages of the mediation.

  • Can I instruct an employee to attend?

    No. Mediation is a voluntary process. If parties are unsure about attending mediation, I am available to speak with them to answer their questions and address any concerns they may have.

  • Will I get a report about the mediation?

    You will be informed that the mediation has taken place and whether it has been successful or not. The content of the mediation remains confidential to the parties and the mediator, but the parties may choose to share the outcome with you, provided they both agree to do this. Since the purpose of the mediation will have been to achieve an improvement or a change, this should be evident in practice in the period following the mediation.

  • Can the content of a mediation be used as evidence in formal proceedings later?

    In legal terms, mediation is ‘without prejudice’. Mediation is confidential, and the participants sign a confidentiality agreement before the process begins. Neither the parties nor the mediator can disclose what was said after the mediation has concluded. Notes from mediations are destroyed, and the mediator cannot be called upon to provide evidence at any subsequent proceedings.

     

    The written mediation agreement prepared by the mediator is confidential to the parties, and any subsequent disclosure is subject to both their consent.

  • What happens if the parties don’t reach agreement?

    About 80% of mediations are successful. However, there is no obligation on the parties to reach an agreement. If a day's mediation ends without agreement, the parties may decide to ask the employer for more time, or they may decide to continue on their own.

     

    If they feel that mediation will not resolve their issues, both they and the employer will retain the right to use other workplace measures or legal procedures.

     

    The mediator may occasionally close a mediation if it seems that there is no realistic likelihood of settlement. Even if no agreement is reached, it is often the case that the parties settle shortly afterwards anyway.

     

If you have other questions not covered by the above, do email me or give me a call and I will be happy to answer them.

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