This confidential service gives employees and employers in dispute with each other an opportunity to work with a mediator to find a mutually agreed solution to the problem. Workplace mediation is a voluntary process which needs to have both sides agreeing to participate and to work towards a solution to the problem.
If no agreed solution is reached, other ways of resolving the issues will have to be used. In that situation the mediator will assist the participants to decide how best to proceed. You can read more in our document on employment rights enforcement.
Early Resolution Service: If you have made a complaint about your employment rights, and you are willing to engage in mediation, in certain cases you may be offered the Early Resolution Service (ERS) which is part of the Mediation Service. If both parties are agreeable, the ERS contacts them by phone in order to resolve the dispute through mediation.
Why use workplace mediation?
The advantage of using workplace mediation is that it allows a problem to be resolved informally, by ensuring that all the sides are heard. As they work together to solve the problem, the resolution of it is in the control of the participants. Where they are committed to a mutually agreed solution it is likely to be more effective and last longer. Also, as workplace mediation is used before the issue is referred for adjudication.
The type of situations that are dealt with by the Mediation Service include:
- Where there are personal differences or people have problems working together
- Where a working relationship has broken down
- Where issues have arisen from a grievance and disciplinary procedure
- Where there are industrial relations issues that have not been referred through statutory dispute resolution processes.
The Mediation Service operates according to the following principles:
- It is a voluntary process, all parties must agree to participate.
- Anyone who wishes to withdraw from it may do so at any stage.
- The whole process is confidential unless the parties agree otherwise
- It is fast and starts as soon as everyone is available
- The mediator is impartial
- Its focus is to find a solution to the dispute which is agreeable to all parties and which will work.
The aim of the process is to allow each person involved in the dispute the opportunity to be heard and to work with the other party to reach a solution. It is a flexible process which may involve joint meetings or meetings with the mediator alone, depending on the particular situation.
You can find more information in these frequently
asked questions about workplace mediation.
How to apply
It is best if both parties apply jointly for workplace mediation. Mediation is most effective where both parties agree to participate. If one party does not agree the Mediation Service will work to get both parties to attend but as it is a voluntary process, participation can not be enforced.
Applications should be made in writing to the Mediation Service of the Workplace Relations Commission using the online mediation referral form or by post using the address below. The application should include the name and contact details of both parties, the number of people involved and a brief description of the problem.
Where to apply