Most of us spend the greater part of our waking hours at work. With the number of hours we spend, it is only a matter of time that differences will erupt, and conflicts between co-workers will arise. It is inevitable. So, how we deal with disputes at the workplace, and how we resolve them, becomes all the more important. Getting it wrong, could spell disaster, and possibly result in:
- disruption, distraction, financial and emotional costs to the business
- strained relationships, stress, and loss of productivity
- injury, and high turnover of employees
Unfortunately, by default, most parties escalate matters by bringing their disputes to Court (such as, wrongful termination, non-payment of salary, or non-compete disputes). Litigation is risky, stressful, time-consuming and costly. Companies often go to Court without really understanding the full consequences of litigation, the costs involved and the harmful effects it will have on the existing business – such as, the loss of opportunities due to time spent on court proceedings, and the effect of litigation on the company’s reputation.
Workplace and employment disputes arise out of relationships. There are many issues that need to be addressed other than just legal ones. Such cases are, therefore, better resolved by way of Mediation (instead of going to Court). The many advantages of Mediation include:
- Faster, and less costly – Most mediation are completed within a day.
- Confidential, and less stressful – Mediation sessions are private (i.e. not opened to the public or the press, unlike Court), and less formal than Court proceedings.
- The mediator is neutral and not a judge – The parties have full control over the outcome. They decide. In contrast, if the matter goes to trial, it is the Judge who will decide (and the parties will have to live with it, whether they like it or not).
- The involvement of a skilful mediator will greatly increase the chances of a resolution by helping parties to communicate more openly and address their respective concerns – It allows parties the opportunity to be heard and to be understood.
- Mediation is flexible and creative – Non-legal solutions are available to parties, such as, job modification, training, letters of reference, letters of apology, new channels of communication, or new process (such remedies are not available in Court actions).