Our specialist employment law solicitors can help you use mediation to resolve disputes with your employees. You can mediate with an employee before a claim reaches the Employment Tribunal or civil courts, or even at an early stage in the proceedings.
Mediation is a flexible, voluntary and confidential form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It involves a neutral third-party who helps you and your employees negotiate a resolution to your dispute.
Mediation concentrates on helping both sides move from entrenched positions to finding a resolution. You and your employees are responsible for achieving a solution. The mediator manages or facilitates the mediation process and if the parties cannot reach agreement, the mediator does not impose any outcome or settlement.
Contact our employment lawyers online or call us on 0808 271 2602 to find out more about how mediation could work for your business.
How does mediation work in employment disputes?
In the employment context there are a number of options, including:
- ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) may help you reach a settlement in a number of different ways, including conciliation, mediation and arbitration
- Negotiating a settlement agreement directly with an employee
- Private mediation with an employee and a neutral third party
- Judicial mediation by an employment judge may also be an option if an employee has already issued a claim.
What are the advantages of mediation?
There are a number of advantages to mediating a dispute rather than litigating:
- Disputes are stressful, time consuming, and a drain on financial resources for both parties. Mediation can help resolve disputes more quickly and cheaply than litigation.
- It can maintain and repair relationships by focusing on finding a solution rather than allocating blame. This is particularly helpful where the employment relationship is continuing.
- Mediation gives both parties control and can be an empowering experience, particularly for employees. This contrasts with litigation where the parties may often feel the outcome is out of their control.
- It allows creative solutions. Settlements concluded at mediation can include a variety of non-financial elements which the courts and tribunals have no jurisdiction to order. Common examples are apologies, agreed references and agreed announcements.
When is mediation appropriate? Are there any situations when mediation isn’t an option?
Mediation is not always the appropriate way to manage a dispute. You might decide not to mediate if:
- You want to show your employees that you follow correct procedures with an official decision from an employment tribunal
- Line management should manage the dispute as part of their standard responsibilities
- The employee is showing no willingness to compromise and wants their day in court
- An employee’s mental health makes mediation inappropriate.
If you’re unsure whether mediation is right for you, our lawyers will get to know your situation and advise what’s best.
How can Irwin Mitchell help?
Our solicitors will always consider if mediation is the right approach for your employment dispute, whether it’s still internal or if tribunal proceedings have already started. We’ll support you through the entire process to help you achieve the best outcome for your business. If mediation isn’t right for you, we’ll advise on other options such as arbitration or litigation too.
Our employment law team is recognised as leaders in their field by independent legal directories such as Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. We regularly help businesses of all sizes with employment disputes, from family-run SMEs to nationally renowned corporations.
We also have a wealth of sector-specific knowledge and expertise so whatever industry you work in, we can provide legal advice that’s tailored to your exact business needs.
Call us on 0808 271 2602 or contact us online to find out more about how we can help you with employment law mediation.