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Why Mediating Workplace Disputes Works

When it comes to handling workplace disputes, few tools are as effective in generating satisfactory resolution as mediation. Co-workers are able to address their issues non-confrontationally, because of its informal and voluntary nature. Whether the disputes are between supervisors and subordinates or co-workers at the same level, mediation is appropriate for all employees, whatever position they may have. It also works well for issues that occur in union and non-union settings.

Workplace mediation is beneficial for a variety of reasons. The mutually satisfactory and easily enforceable resolutions that it generates are a testament to its efficiency. In addition, the process also helps to repair broken relationships and provide closure when someone feels betrayed or hurt by the actions of another by fostering mutual respect and improving communication.

Workplace mediation differs from other types of mediation because the end goal is two-fold. With workplace mediation, disputing parties are better able to move forward in their professional relationship because its goal is not only to resolve the specific problem at hand, but to also repair the overall relationship between them. At the very core of workplace mediation is communication. Both parties stand to gain a better and expanded understanding of the issue if the mediator handling the case is experienced and skilled enough to make them view the problems through the eyes of their opposition.

Most workplace disputes can be resolved within a single day if everyone involved agree to undergo mediation. The process typically includes an initial consultation that allows the mediator to gain an overview of the issue, individual meetings with each of the parties involved, and a joint meeting that includes the face-to-face mediation session. Once an agreement is reached, it is put into writing and a follow-up meeting is scheduled to evaluate the resolution.

Workplace mediation is effective in a variety of situations, including:

Sexual Harassment

Miscommunication often lies at the heart of most hostile work environment complaints. Mediation allows both sides to discuss the events and come to a resolution of how to treat one another in the future.

Employee Disputes

Most co-workers often function as a team, and interpersonal differences can hinder this. When this happens, mediation can help employees to create an effective plan for future interactions by providing an opportunity to discuss their views in a controlled, yet relaxed, setting.

Deteriorating Performance

When employees undergo through personal or professional changes that negatively affects work performance, mediation helps them and their supervisor to address and discuss these changes. Setting goals for the future becomes easier if it is done in a forum that does not foster defensive feelings or a combative atmosphere.


Mediation can help both the employer and employee come to terms regarding the severance especially if that employee is terminated for reasons that could lead to litigation. Without hard feelings, both parties get to move forward quickly and amicably.

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