Employers shy away from workplace mediation

Two-thirds of employers have never used mediation to settle workplace disputes, research has found.

Research by law firm Dundas & Wilson (D&W) found only 36% of HR professionals had used the tactic to tackle conflict at work. This follows plans announced by the government to expand the conciliation capacity of dispute resolution service Acas with £37m of extra funding.

“A lot of employment tribunals could be avoided if both sides would sit down and address the issue instead of simply locking horns so early in the process, so it’s disappointing that so few employers consider mediation in the early stages of a dispute,” said Eilidh Wiseman, head of employment law at D&W.

For those who had used mediation, 60% of the 136 respondents said the flexibility of the process was the key advantage. These include the range of options available – compared to a tribunal where outcomes tend to be financial – and the ability to use them at any time in a dispute.

“HR professionals clearly value flexibility, and for mediation to continue to offer full advantage, that level of choice should extend to the mediation marketplace,” Wiseman added.

In this clip employment lawyer Chris Mordue, partner at Pinsent Masons, says that in order to encourage the use of mediation it helps if it is flagged up in your grievance procedure as a possible option.



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