Most people think of sacking or disciplinary action as a very high-conflict situation that ends with a bitter court battle. It is true that litigation, the traditional method of resolving employer work place issues, often proceeds this way. There is, however, a method that helps employers avoid much of the anger and resentment associated with a traditional tribunal.
That method is called mediation. Mediation gives the individuals control over their own separation, rather than turning everything over to a judge. With the assistance of a neutral mediator, those involved can explore and discuss issues and come to a resolution that suits both of them. The Work Place Law Department at Employerworkplacelaw.com offers mediation services to employers in England, Wales and throughout the UK.
Our mediation service can also be conducted in French
Our London solicitors are trained as mediators and are skilled at facilitating dialogue and negotiations. We do not provide legal advice when acting as mediators. Rather, we suggest possible resolutions to issues and then prepare settlement documents for the employer, who can then take the agreement to their respective solicitors for finalisation.
Understanding the Mediation Process
Mediation begins with each party independently attending an initial interview to ascertain if mediation is appropriate. One party or the other may be unsure about whether mediation is right for him or her, so questions will be raised and concerns addressed. If those involved agrees to participate in mediation, the mediator will let the employer and employee know what to expect. Further meetings will be scheduled and may work on communication issues, renew arrangements, exchange financial information and consider the options.
If we reach a settlement, then the mediator will draft documents outlining the agreement. Each party will take those documents to his or her respective solicitor, who can submit it to the court for final approval. If a settlement is not reached, then the matter goes to court. Mediation discussions, with the exception of financial disclosures, cannot be discussed in court.
The Importance of Independent Advice
An integral part of work place law mediation is the requirement that each party seeks independent advice on issues as they are being dealt with. Possible advisor’s include mortgage brokers, if there is a possibility of getting/transferring a mortgage, financial advisor’s who can give advice on the transfer of pensions, a conveyance in relation to the sale of the family home and, of course, a solicitor.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)
As of the 6th April 2011, most people making an application about money to the Court will have to meet with a mediator and consider whether their case is suitable for mediation. The meeting is called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This does not apply to the disciplinary process, which can be initiated regardless.
At the meeting, the mediator will discuss the process and see whether both parties are prepared to go through with mediation. If the answer is no, the mediator will sign a document confirming those involved attendance and allowing the employer to go to court. If the answer is yes, then the employer can continue with that mediator or choose a different one.