A form of legal procedure and tool for settling a variety of workplace conflicts is state employment mediation. In most cases, mediation entails the involvement of an impartial third person who will facilitate discussion between the disputing parties. The mediator’s job is to facilitate communication between the parties so they might perhaps resolve their differences.
This typically involves a dispute between an employer and an employee in the context of employment law (as when the case involves employment discrimination). Conflicts between coworkers occasionally necessitate mediation, such as when there has been harassment.
How Does State Employment Mediation Work?
The majority of the time, a governmental agency for employment rights steps in to mediate workplace disputes. After the complaint is submitted, the agency investigates it. This investigation may include mediation as part of it. Consequently, the mediator is frequently an official from the state employment agency.
The parties are encouraged to share their accounts of the conflict with one another during mediation. They ought to recall specifics, dates, witnesses, and other pertinent data that can shed light on what actually transpired.
The parties are urged to have a constructive discussion about these issues that will help them come to a resolution. By posing questions to the parties and promoting conversation, the mediator aids in this.
A transcript of the remarks and findings made during the employment mediation session is possible. This is a written account of the conversation that is frequently offered as proof in court.
In some situations, the parties’ employment issues can be resolved only through mediation. An attorney or other person may mediate private litigation instead of a state-run organization.
What Distinguishes Mediation from Litigation?
“Binding arbitration” is another alternative dispute resolution method that people have in some civil matters. In a binding arbitration, the arbitrator hears the arguments from both sides and then makes a ruling that is binding on both parties. In a sense, the arbitrator serves as a judge.
Numerous methods exist for courts to compel parties to mediate disputes. Depending on the type of law and the judge in question, this varies greatly. Some divorce and child custody agreements stipulate that both parties must attend mediation if there is a breach. Some judges in this situation might uphold the settlement and direct the parties to mediation. Mediation is typically a decision the parties make for themselves to avoid going to court.
Does the State Require Employment Mediation?
State employment mediation is often optional and simply recommended. The parties are not compelled to participate in mediation if they are unable or unwilling to work together. Alternative options may be sought instead, such as continuing the agency’s investigation or starting a legal case in a court of law.
Conflicts involving discrimination, harassment, wage/hour/overtime disputes, union disputes, and wrongful termination are frequently recommended for mediation.
What Must I Do If I Am Involved in a Conflict at Work?
You can do numerous actions if you are involved in a workplace conflict to try and find a solution. Although you might be instructed to get in touch with your local HR representative, it can be challenging if you disagree with a more senior employee.
If you’re unsure of what to do, seek advice from a workplace conflict attorney.
Go Over the Employee Handbook
You should study your employee handbook if you haven’t already. Employee handbooks often describe the company’s rules and procedures and how they relate to various work-related themes.
Employee handbooks commonly contain the following information:
- Attendance policies
- Sexual harassment policies
- Alcohol and drug use policies
- Salaries and any bonus-related information
- Health, medical, and sick leave benefits
- How and where to file complaints with the company
Policies and procedures should be included in an employee handbook to safeguard both employees and the company. Every policy should be consistently applied and in accordance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws.
How to Approach Your Employer About the Conflict at Work
Direct communication with your boss is frequently a quick approach to settling a working conflict. If engaging with your employer directly is unsuccessful, speak with an employment law attorney.
Be sure to read all pertinent information regarding the policies and procedures of your company before bringing up your concerns with your boss. Before expressing your concerns, it’s a good idea to get all the details in writing. Inform your employer of the issue and provide a summary of the facts in your complaint.
It will be helpful if you already have a potential outcome or solution in mind, such as being transferred to a different office area or switching shifts so you do not cross paths with the other individual. You have a better chance of successfully resolving the issue quickly if you can bring a practical solution as opposed to just a problem.
Try to resolve the issue amicably before the conversation comes to an end, if at all possible. If you and your employer cannot agree, you might want to speak with an attorney for more advice.
Guidelines for Reacting to Disciplinary Actions
Anyone facing disciplinary action would do better to respond than simply react. It is very simple to react strongly to anything like a write-up, especially if you believe it to be inaccurate or to contain information that has been taken out of context. Do it professionally if you want to contest a disciplinary action taken against you.
When given a write-up, let your employer know if you don’t agree with its ideas. Remain composed, stick to the truth, and be forthright. It could be possible to talk about the situation right away without making a formal complaint.
It’s acceptable to notify your employer that you disagree and to submit a rebuttal the next day if you feel sensitive and don’t want to talk about it immediately.
Make sure to compile all relevant information and supporting proof for your argument. Examine your calendars, emails, and anything else that can help you defend yourself and show that you are not at blame. If at all feasible, track down any witnesses who can support your case and request that they produce a letter of support to go with your rebuttal.
Don’t hesitate to question vague statements if the write-up is associated with a performance review. Ask for specific examples. For instance, if your manager says, “You’re just not trying hard enough.”
If they cannot be more explicit, note it in your remark. If you are accused of not meeting company expectations, back up your claims with evidence. Explain each idea and, if you can, cite examples.
In some businesses, failing to sign a write-up could result in further disciplinary action. Request time for a rebuttal if you disagree with the disciplinary action, or simply sign the document with a note stating you do not concur with its recommendations.
Does State Employment Mediation Require Legal Representation?
In most cases, state employment mediation calls for the representation and support of an experienced workplace lawyer.
You can get the advice you need to manage mediation appropriately and successfully from your attorney. Additionally, your attorney will be able to represent you in formal court procedures if your case needs additional consideration.