Why Mediation is a Great Alternative to Employment Tribunals

July 6, 2023

The Problem with Employment Tribunals


If you have ever been involved in an employment dispute, you know that going to an employment tribunal can be expensive, time-consuming, and distracting. That's why more employers are turning to mediation as a better way to resolve disputes with their employees.

When a case goes to an employment tribunal, it can cost a lot of money. Solicitors can charge thousands of pounds just to handle a claim. On top of that, there is the time spent preparing a defence and any awards that may be given to the claimant. It's a big hassle.


What is Mediation?


Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that uses an independent third party to help both sides reach an agreement. The mediator is a trained professional who does not take sides or offer opinions. They're there to help find a solution that works for everyone.

Mediation is a much better approach than going to court because it's more constructive.Instead of trying to win, both sides work together to find a resolution.


The Benefits of Mediation


There are several benefits to choosing mediation over an employment tribunal. First,it's usually much cheaper. Mediation costs a fraction of what it would cost to defend a tribunal claim.

Second, mediation is faster. There's no backlog like there is with tribunals, so disputes can be resolved quickly. And because it's a collaborative process, the mediator can help parties to explore solutions that are more flexible than just a financial settlement.

Third, mediation is confidential. The result doesn't become public knowledge, unlike tribunal judgments which are published online. 

Lastly, mediation saves a lot of management time. According to a survey, employers spend an average of six days on a disciplinary case and five days on a grievance. Mediation can help resolve these issues more efficiently.


How Mediation Works


During mediation, the mediator doesn't advise either party. They remain impartial and encourage both sides to speak openly. It's important for both parties to have legal advice to understand the consequences of any agreement.

The process starts with each side providing a summary of their case. They agree on a venue and sign a mediation agreement that includes confidentiality. Then,each party goes to a separate room and the mediator moves between them, asking questions and gathering facts. 

There are some ground rules that must be agreed upon for mediation to work. These include confidentiality, recognising the mediator's impartiality, and agreeing to share costs. Any agreement reached is binding and enforceable by the courts.


The Importance of Openness


The mediator remains neutral and asks open-ended questions to help the parties find their own solutions. Sometimes, there's an open session where every one introduces themselves and explains what led to the mediation. Then, there are individual sessions where parties can disclose more information.

The goal is to find the best way forward while preserving relationships.


Preparation is Key


Just like you wouldn't go to court unprepared, you shouldn't go to mediation without preparation. Parties should have a position statement and evidence that outlines their case and offers a solution. 

Not all mediations lead to a settlement, but at least both parties will understand each other's positions and how far they're willing to go to find a resolution.Mediation can lead to creative solutions that wouldn't be possible in a tribunal.



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