Here are some questions we
are frequently asked by people who are considering mediation but aren't
sure if it's right for them. If you have a question we haven't answered,
please contact us.
is a process whereby the people involved in a dispute or disagreement agree
to bring in a neutral outside person skilled at problem-solving to help
them attempt to resolve the problem.
is a legal proceeding whereby the people involved in a dispute or disagreement
appear before a Board of Arbitration or a single arbitrator who will hand
down a final and binding decision in the matter.
feel that I have been wronged and think I have a really great case. I'm
really looking forward to having my "day in court". Why should I bother
arbitration, the issue is decided on the basis of, who is right or wrong
legally. A number of factors can affect the outcome of a case at arbitration
- do you have a legal entitlement to what you are seeking? - and even with
a seemingly iron clad case, you cannot be 100% sure that you are going
to get what you are looking for. Mediation provides you with an opportunity
to work towards a settlement that addresses your concerns. If you aren't
able to arrive at a settlement, you can still proceed to arbitration.
feel really strongly about my side of this case. Why should I consider
feelings are not a factor that will be considered at the hearing. A compromise
may get you a settlement you can live with and that addresses your interests
and concerns. A hearing will get you a win/lose outcome. If you lose, you
get nothing and, because there is no appeal procedure, you are stuck with
the decision, like it or not.
I have my day in court and lose, can I still try mediation?
is quite unlikely that the other party, who will have at this point, spent
considerable money and time fighting it out with you and winning, will
be willing to mediate.
heard that mediators just throw their weight around and lean on people
to get them to give in. Is this true? Is it what you guys do?
all have their own "style". No doubt, there are some out there who engage
in this type of "muscle mediation". This is not our style. While it is
only fair that the mediator alert you to aspects of your case which may
be problematic at the hearing stage, arm twisting is not something that
we believe is necessary or appropriate in this setting.
would I set up a mediation meeting?
the other party to the dispute is agreeable to mediation, contact us by
phone, fax or email and provide the following information: The names of
the parties (employer and union), the date on which you would like to hold
the meeting, the location where the meeting is to be held and the time
you want to get started.
parties are free to have whoever they want present at the meeting. Each
side would choose its representatives ensuring that people whose input
will be required or whose approval is needed for a settlement are present
or can be reached during the day.
should I bring?
whatever information or materials you feel are necessary to have a full
and frank review of the issue.
exactly does the mediator do?
the mediator will meet with the parties in separate rooms. This allows
for candid and open discussion and avoids the likelihood of tempers flaring.
The mediator will initially speak to both sides to get a sense of what
the issue is and what each side's perspective is on the issue, what happened,
what the positions of the parties are, what you are seeking, what either
side may be willing to do to settle. Following that, s/he will go back
and forth between the two rooms discussing possibilities for resolution
and addressing concerns. If a settlement is reached, s/he will write up
the terms of settlement and get each side to sign off.
agreeing to mediation work against me if we end up at an arbitration hearing?
The mediation meeting is agreed to on the basis that it will not prejudice
either party if the issue ends up in a hearing. Everything that is discussed
is discussed on the understanding that it is in confidence and will not
be used as an admission of guilt or liability. If you end up at a hearing,
it will be as if the mediation meeting never took place.
a settlement is being discussed, do we/I have to make up my mind right
then and there?
is best that you be prepared to sign off on a settlement at the meeting.
Depending on the circumstances, it does sometimes happen that either or
both parties need time to consider or consult with others, however, this
should be worked out at the meeting and usually a time frame is established
by which the settlement must be signed off.
I be forced to agree to something that I really don't feel comfortable
At mediation, no one can be compelled to agree to something they really
don't want. If you are an employee represented by a union, however, you
should know that in most cases, the union does have the authority to settle
a grievance on a basis that is acceptable to it.
happens if we are not able to settle?
party having carriage of the grievance is free to proceed to arbitration
if it chooses to do so.
people who use mediators just become dependent on them?
find that the opposite tends to be the case. As people become accustomed
to problem solving and resolving their own issues, they are more inclined
to do it themselves.