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How mediation can help settle workplace disputes

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2022 | Business & Commercial Litigation

Most employees at Massachusetts businesses try to stay cordial and respectful. However, because everyone is human, it’s natural for disputes to arise on occasion. Mediation is one of the best ways to resolve such workplace issues.

The importance of quick intervention in disputes

When a workplace dispute arises, managers or supervisors should act quickly to intervene. The longer it takes to step in, the more likely it is that the problem will persist. Fast intervention could help to minimize the damage and hard feelings between the employees involved in the dispute.

The purpose of using mediation to settle such issues is to show that you’re neutral but want to see the employees reach a place where they can move on and work together in a positive manner. Avoiding long-lasting conflicts in the workplace is the key to ensuring a positive working environment.

In some situations, workplace mediation isn’t appropriate. If the situation involves bullying, harassment or discrimination, it won’t resolve things. In those cases, you might have to intervene in another way and inform the employer if the targeted employee hasn’t already done that.

Steps for workplace mediation

Workplace mediation means you should avoid meeting separately with the employees involved in the dispute. Doing this can risk taking sides. Instead, meet with them together to air out their sides of the issue, but don’t allow any arguments or interruptions. Make sure each person is thorough with their story so that you get all the information.

During the process, explain to the parties that you’re impartial and there to learn what happened so you can help them discuss the issue and come to a resolution. Encourage the employees to hear one another out and negotiate so they can reach a conclusion. Once they find a middle ground that works for both of them, you can have a written agreement drafted that they should sign.

Be positive throughout the mediation session or sessions. The goal is to encourage positivity and understanding. By the end of mediation, you should assure the parties that you have confidence in them and that they should be able to move forward.