Introduction to this document

Mediation policy

If you have a dispute with an employee, one option is for it to be resolved through mediation. Our mediation policy advises employees of the existence of mediation as a method of resolving workplace disputes.

Mediation defined

Mediation is an informal and confidential process in which an impartial third party mediator assists the parties involved in a dispute to try to reach a mutually agreeable solution, with a view to preserving the parties’ relationship. During the process, each party can speak openly about what has caused the disagreement and how they think it can best be resolved and concessions from each party may have to be given to enable the process to move forward. It is entirely voluntary and can only take place if both parties have agreed to it. Likewise, there isn’t a resolution unless both sides agree it.


Legal status

Whilst mediation isn’t in itself a legal process, following a successful mediation, the terms should be put into a formal signed, written agreement and this is then legally binding on the parties. If mediation fails, the discussions that took place during it are subject to the “without prejudice” rule, which means they remain confidential and cannot be used as evidence at employment tribunal. However, the very fact that mediation took place can be disclosed at tribunal. The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures encourages mediation to try to resolve workplace disputes, as it can be conducted in-house and is cost-effective, flexible, confidential and time-efficient. The process is also collaborative rather than adversarial, so that relationships can be rebuilt. It is ideal for resolving disciplinary issues (where you don’t want to institute formal procedures), grievances and working relationship breakdowns. Be aware though that the employee must still be employed, so it is of no use for resolving disputes with ex-employees.


Policy provisions

Our Mediation Policy advises employees of the existence of mediation, sets out what it is and when it can (and cannot) be used, defines the role of the mediator and confirms the employee’s responsibilities during mediation. It makes clear that it does not replace your formal disciplinary and grievance procedures and that you reserve the right to use these wherever it’s appropriate to do so. There’s no statutory right to be accompanied at mediation but do consider allowing the employee to bring a companion along for moral support. Our policy covers this.


mediation policy

01 Oct 2012
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