Mediation in the workplace

Topic Index
Why use mediation?
Benefits of using mediation
When can mediation be used?
When is mediation not advisable?
Getting started
Do’s and don’ts for the mediator
Checklist for achieving objectives
Mediation phases
Practical tips for mediators


  • Ewan Keen, partner at Simons Muirhead & Burton looks at what mediation is and how effective it can be as a means of dispute resolution in the workplace
  • The government believes that ‘a significant growth in mediation of workplace disputes has the potential to lead to a major and dramatic shift in the culture of employment relations’. It intends to initiate a long-term reform programme so that mediation becomes a more accepted part of resolving disputes without the recourse to tribunals
  • In mediation, an impartial third party, the ‘mediator’, helps two or more people in dispute, the ‘participants’, to attempt to reach a mutually agreed solution to a problem
  • Any agreement comes from those in dispute - not from the mediator
  • Mediation should create a safe and confidential space for participants to find their own answers.
  • Mediation can be carried out by trained internal mediators or an organisation can use external mediators
  • Any organisational initiative needs to be reinforced on an on-going basis if it is to become accepted practice
  • There is little point having a mediation scheme available if it has little profile and it is not actively promoted as a viable dispute resolution option at every opportunity where it would be suitable
  • The five vital components of mediation are: informal, flexible, voluntary, morally binding (but no legal status) and confidential
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