Why mediation encourages more honesty and better results

Such an important part of the mediation process is to trust the mediator… 

One of my most recent mediations involved a potential sexual discrimination claim, with an employee who was unhappy at work and the way she perceived she was treated, and an employer who was unhappy with the employee’s performance. 

The employee wanted changes to her working conditions, or would consider issuing Employment Tribunal proceedings. But the employer would not meet the requested change and intended to defend any Tribunal proceedings.

Sensibly they agreed to mediate at an early stage to try to resolve the issues. 

At mediation, their initial positions were maintained in the first open session.  However, once we went into private sessions, held with each party individually, the employee admitted that they actually didn’t enjoy the job, or even that industry and was actually looking for a new career.  Separately, the employer told me they no longer wanted the employee to work with them.  It became clear that both had desired outcomes that coincided with each other’s. 

By being open with me, I was then able to explore settlements that could be in the interests of both parties. 

Throughout months of legal wrangling prior to mediation, neither party had wanted to reveal their true preference for fear of compromising their position or ‘putting their foot in it’.  Neither party wanted to be the first to show their hand.

By having the assurance of the mediator’s confidentiality and revealing their true preferred results, they were able to come to an agreement that suited each other.

This was achieved in a single 3-hour mediation session, and is likely to have avoided around £10,000 of non-recoverable costs, and up to a year’s worth of Tribunal proceedings.   

Click on the link to read the full case example.