Workplace and Equal Opportunity Mediation

Disputes at work come in many facets. But one topic that rises to the top in workplace disputes is communications. It can be a lack of communication, poor communication, a misunderstanding, assumptions that are not true, or actions taken by one party that another party feels are unfair.

Workplace disputes are generally informal, voluntary, and confidential and the process is overseen by a third party who is called a neutral or a mediator. For seven years, I have mediated workplace disputes for both the federal government and for a medium- sized municipality in the state of New Mexico. Mediators facilitate communications between disputants in a fair and impartial setting. Resolution occurs when parties, not the mediator, jointly agree on how they can work together more productively.

Employees can come into conflict with peers and with managers. If management doesn’t deal head on with workplace conflict, it can cause a breakdown in productivity and can cost an organization considerable sums of money. Job performances, job promotions, racial discrimination are examples of conflict that can be dealt with in mediation.

Equal opportunity laws impact the workplace. Most government funded organizations and medium to large private organizations have human resource staff to help employees understand their rights. Mediation is often the first step in an equal opportunity dispute. If it doesn’t get resolved at that level, it can move into fact-finding, equal opportunity hearings, and ultimately to the courtroom. As each step progresses it becomes time consuming and costly.

Well managed organizations with trained managers and human resource staff can provide invaluable support that can help reduce workplace conflict.

Confidentiality is of utmost importance in mediation and especially in workplace disputes. Most workers have to continue dealing with one another on a daily basis so it is important that mediators stress the need for confidentiality both during and after a mediation. It is not healthy for rumors to start at the water cooler over who said what during a mediation.

Workplace Mediation - Workplace Mediator serving New Mexico cities of Alamogordo, NM Albuquerque, NM Carlsbad, NM Clovis, NM Farmington, NM Hobbs, NM Las Cruces, NM Rio Rancho, NM Roswell, NM Santa Fe, NM