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Harmonious workplace relationships are essential to optimum business efficiency. Even minor problems can develop into grievances or disputes. This is true of issues involving individuals or groups, from the factory floor to executive tower-blocks.

Such conflicts might result in the following situations arising:

  • Long standing working relationships can be spoiled within days, and can remain damaged forever.

  • External bodies such as unions and solicitors might become involved in an effort to address the issues.

  • Other employees might become involved, and formal human resource intervention is often required.


A mediator will consider the issues in dispute between an employer and an employee, and assist the parties to find a resolution. Using mediation to try to resolve problems may help the participants to:

  • Avoid the stress, and potential costs of going to an Employment Tribunal.

  • Reach a solution on their own terms. 

  • Obtain a better understanding of the issues.

  • Reach a settlement which will include matters that will not be considered in an Employment Tribunal judgement.


Other advantages of using the mediation process include the following:

  • Court proceedings can be very expensive and take many years to conclude. The options at court might also be limited with parties at the mercy of a judge to what result is awarded. With mediation, however, the participants are the architects of the solution and can create a result that is beneficial to both parties in a way that a court could not.

  • As you are able to mediate at any time in a dispute, your problem can be over faster and more cost effectively than if you went to court.

  • The mediation process is 'without prejudice'. Therefore, if a settlement is not reached litigation may continue without the participants having any concerns about having disclosed anything during the mediation that the other could later use in court.

  • Mediation is very flexible. It can take place at any time. It is arranged at a venue convenient to the participants, who generally will each have their own room as well as a separate room for joint meetings.

  • Mediation can avoid the dissatisfaction and uncertainty often experienced in court or at arbitration where parties must accept the judgement or award made.

  • Mediation is entirely confidential to the participants.

  • Mediation is voluntary. Either of the participants may withdraw at any time.

  • Control of the mediation process lies with the participants.

  • Both parties share the cost of mediation which will vary depending on the complexity and value of the claims.


Mediation is a voluntary process and non-binding; however, once a solution is reached it is advisable for the participants to prepare a signed written agreement which will form a binding and enforceable outcome to the process.

Mediation is an effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court or Tribunal. Should the participants, however, in the unlikely event, fail to reach a settlement through mediation then their rights to make an Employment Tribunal claim will be unaffected.

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