COVID-19: You can get information about the procedures for workplace disputes during COVID-19.
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 about employment rights enforcement.
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 WRC provides mediation as follows:
- Mediation in Employment Rights/Unequal Treatment and Discrimination Claims
- Mediation/Facilitation - Internal Workplace Issues.
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. The option of using the mediation service is available to you on the WRC online complaint form. If both parties are agreeable, a representative from the ERS contacts them by phone in order to resolve the dispute through mediation.
If you want a meditator to help resolve an internal workplace issue, complete the online mediation referral form. If no agreed solution is reached the mediator will assist the participants to decide how best to proceed. You can read more in our document on employment rights enforcement.
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.
How to apply
Employment Rights/Unequal Treatment and Discrimination Cases
If you are making a complaint about your employment rights to the WRC, you can select the mediation service option on the online complaint form. Both parties can arrive at a solution through agreement rather than through an investigation or hearing or formal decision. Mediation can either be provided by telephone or face to face.
Internal Workplace Issues
If you are experiencing an internal workplace issue, mediation is available to help fix workplace conflicts informally. Complete the online mediation referral form or post it using the address. You can also email the mediation service team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application should include the name and contact details of both parties, the number of people involved and a brief description of the problem. You can read more about the WRC mediation service on the WRC website.
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 to participate you can still apply for workplace mediation and the Mediation Service will try to get both parties to participate. As mediation is a voluntary process, participation cannot be enforced.
Where to apply