Workplace mediation is an extremely effective conflict resolution method to settle many types of disputes or conflicts between employees and employers, business partners, consumers and vendors. Mediation is preferred in many areas including harassment, discrimination, generational conflict, bullying complaints, labor/management and a multitude of other human resource disputes. There is a direct ratio between the quality of interpersonal relationships across the workplace and long-term business success. Mediation directly addresses complex relationship difficulties so that working relationships can be restored and a collaborative culture is fostered.
Mediation is a confidential and non adversarial process that empowers parties to resolve disputes with the assistance of an impartial third party whose aim is to help create solutions without imposing their own judgment. About 80% of dispute mediation lead to resolution, according to Stephen B. Goldberg of Northwestern University
The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong, or decide resolution but is present to facilitate communication between the parties in an effort to explore solutions and obtain a mutually satisfactory agreement. The parties dialogue with a good faith effort, business-like, cooperative climate, where they present their points of view, listen to other points of view and explore options for settlement with a goal of reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution of their dispute.
In many meditations, the parties may have lawyers attend the sessions however the parties will communicate directly with each other and the mediator. Because the parties are engaged and empowered there is usually a high degree of satisfaction and compliance with the settlement reached.
The1997 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Act establishes confidentiality in the Mediation process. Communication between parties are not subject to disclosure and may not be used as evidence against the parties in any judicial or administrative proceeding unless it is discoverable independent of the Mediation process.
Mediation is a more informal approach that reduces the probability of the presenting competing positions before a judge and/or a jury. It is economical, expeditious and allows for confidentiality. If the parties reach a signed agreement, the agreement may have the validity of a contract. The ADR act 154.071 states;
(a) If the parties reach a settlement and execute a written agreement disposing of the dispute, the agreement is enforceable in the same manner as any other written contract.
(b) The court in its discretion may incorporate the terms of the agreement in the court’s final decree disposing of the case.
(c) A settlement agreement does not affect an outstanding court order unless the terms of the agreement are incorporated into a subsequent decree.