Mediation is a process through which parties in dispute work with an independent, neutral third person who works with them to identify the issues and assist them in reaching a resolution.

Mediation is a confidential process. It is voluntary, so the parties must decide whether they want to participate and try and reach an agreement. It will not be binding until it has been incorporated into a legally binding agreement (which in employment cases will usually be a settlement agreement).

During the course of a mediation, the mediator speaks to both sides to find out what the dispute is really about. The mediator will then often meet the parties together and encourage both sides to speak about what has happened, and then work with them towards finding a solution. Sometimes a verbal understanding will be reached and at other times any agreement might be recorded in writing.

There are different types of mediation depending on whether the employee is still in employment, and whether legal proceedings have started.

Example:
Larry has raised a grievance against Steven and they are finding it very difficult to work together. Their manager suggests mediation. A trained mediator is brought in to work with Larry and Steven. During the mediation, Larry explains his reasons for bringing the grievance, misunderstandings are cleared up, and the two of them agree a way of working together in the future.

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