In today’s world mediation is the new treading mechanism of the legal system. Mediation is a branch of Alternative Dispute Resolution also popularly known as ADR. It is an important segment as it helps in reducing the burden on courts and meets the needs of our dynamic society more effectively. It is cost-efficient and less time-consuming as it averts the intervention of courts. Mediation is fast growing and a preferable method of resolution in multiple countries in recent times due to its speedy level of settlement. Mediation encourages the participation of parties and directs them towards a better resolution; the clients consider different aspects and avenues for agreement and engage actively with the mediator and the other party. The influence of mediation has evolved to be so grand that now it has also become a mandatory subject in most law schools. Mediation is more of a private and flexible setting than litigation.
Effectiveness of Mediation in Workplace Disputes
Litigation leaves the people at their workplace with bitter and tarnished relations with long-standing disputes, consuming time, energy, and large sums of money. In an organization, it is of prime importance to maintain confidentiality and reputation which is usually exploited by court trials. Today we have various alternatives for such resolve which was initially realized in the 1970s. Mediation is a painless approach with good communication and requires a degree of trust.
Mediation is a great source of knowledge for both the parties, it sets a realistic point of view of the whole dispute and checks all the misunderstanding between the clients. The mediator plays the role of a neutral third party who tries to encourage and console them to evaluate and rectify their respective cases by educating them of potential risks and liabilities in their position.
The policies and procedures to be covered in an employment dispute are lengthy and involve a thorough investigation. It involves a detailed consideration of facts and evidence, mediation settles these formal grievances, reduces the level of stress which can be escalated through litigation, and improves the relationship between individuals in an organization. The mediation process improves communication and addresses unreasonable claims and expectations which are usually instigated by emotional mindsets in a workplace dispute. People tend to be rigid with their case and avoid having a face to face interaction with the other party. Mediation allows the parties to indulge in an honest conversation to clear the air between them and slowly move towards rebuilding their relationship. An honest conversation between the parties and the mediator can lead to favorable outcomes for the company with
increased staff loyalty and improved productivity. An example of the effectiveness of mediation in a workplace dispute is the case of Farm Assist Ltd v. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs 1, it can be seen that the mediation agreement uses the concepts of confidentiality, privilege and without prejudice, communication to describe the status of the information provided in relation to mediation. It is necessary to consider these concepts and evaluate how far they give the mediator and the parties’ rights or impose obligations upon them.
Role of the Mediator
Mediators are often asked to assist the dispute between two parties which is broken down due to different behavioural patterns towards one another. Mediation allows both parties to hear and discuss their grievances in an enclosed and safe environment and to further seek a way to settle the situation. Mediation is considered a win-win solution in an employment dispute. Parties often opt to resolve employment disputes through mediation to ensure confidentiality and reduce the expense inherent in litigation. The mediator’s job is to simply strike a neutral balance between both parties while the parties have complete control over the dispute and its settlement. The mediator actively promotes a mutually acceptable settlement.
Mediation has taken its course in dispute resolution in various types of cases; it has become a necessity to have a strong ground of mediators with in-depth knowledge of the risks and advantages of a case. In a process of mediation, none of the clients are judged and biased towards what is right and what must be done. Mediation only moderates between the parties to avoid ill will and influence favourable situations to both. It is a step to discuss and
overcome every clause of dispute in a calm and confidential agreement. This mechanism has been around us for years now but has been realized only recently. Litigation for workplace disputes on the other hand inevitably involves extensive means of time and money which would only lead to an escalated loss to the organization. It would disrupt the workplace environment being entangled with stress and courtroom procedures. Mediation is a great pathway to overcome such hardships and prevent courtroom agitations to fasten the level of settlement and enhance formal relationships. It must not only be considered as an alternative but must be taken as an initial necessity to encounter the needs of the modern-day world.
Ms. Hajra Fathima
A 4th-year law student at M.S Ramaiah College of Law, Bangalore,
Intern with the ADR Wing of Prerna Foundation.