Are you having issues at work? Have they escalated to a point where legal action may become likely? Then, you may need to consider your options in order to protect yourself. As trying to deal with this alone or with only an HR representative from your company to support you, you may find yourself losing your job unfairly or facing much worse consequences.
With that in mind, here is an in-depth look at mediation and what it may involve for your workplace dispute.
What Are Mediators?
A mediator in a legal dispute is involved in offering alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in legal manners. This is done in cases where both parties are looking to avoid taking the matter to completion in a court setting. Such a method can only work if both sides are in agreement.
Look for an Uninvolved Third Party
The point of seeking your own council is to ensure that those overseeing any negotiation is unbiased. Without a level of bias, they should be able to help navigate the situation between your own legal council and that of your employer/the other aggrieved work colleague. You should try to investigate this third part thoroughly, as you want to ensure that they are mediation solicitors who are completely uninvolved or had no previous dealings with your place of employment.
What is Involved in the Mediation Process?
The first step to starting the mediation process is to have both parties list expectations and the issues involved in the dispute. With the issues outlined, both parties should gather a good level of documentation needed to resolve these issues.
The intended purpose of a mediation session is to reach an amicable solution. So, in all likelihood, the mediator will try to lead discussions in this direction. You will hear the argument from both sides put in unbiased terms.
Importantly, you should always have a back-up plan in case the mediation process does fall through. Plan B needs to be something you are aware of, have detailed knowledge of, and isn’t something which springs forth at the very end of a mediation process as a last resort.
Pros & Cons
The biggest pro when it comes to seeking mediation as a form of ADR is the fact that it saves a lot of money. Solicitors fees, court costs and the like can quickly mount up when you take an issue–even one involving employment–to a court resolution.
A pro from this is also the fact that you can still walk away from the mediation process unscathed. You are not legally obligated to form a solution there and then. Leaving a mediation session when the other party is being unreasonable is perfectly acceptable, but you must do so only when you understand that the consequences will be once you do so.
Unfortunately, one con can be the necessary timing of mediation. If you fail to try and prevent the situation from escalating early, mediation can be a largely fruitless process without a satisfactory conclusion. Both sides can find themselves too far into the issue in order to resolve things amicably. Which can be worse in employment disputes, as both parties may still be required to work together in a regular capacity.
Obviously, the biggest con is the fact that you may not be able to actually reach a satisfactory solution through mediation. It can take a lot of time and money, only to fall through anyway and a court date will still have to be set.
Overall, finding the right dispute resolution solicitor to act as your mediator can be quite difficult. You need to know about the process of mediation, what you want from the process and how you are to go about it beforehand. Otherwise, you may find yourself taken by surprise by the outcome of a third-party mediator.