Grievance Mediation:
an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Grievance mediation is one of the most popular and fastest alternative mechanisms used in resolving employment disputes and grievances. On some occasions mediation can also be included as a voluntary step in conventional grievance arbitration or expedited arbitration.

A grievance can occur when there is an allegation, by either an employee, union, or management, of misinterpretation or misapplication of one or more of the terms of a collective agreement. A dispute can occur when there is an official disagreement between an employer and an employee (or union) over issues that usually relate to employee rights.

What Is Mediation?

In grievance and dispute mediation, the term 'mediation' refers to the process in which a trained, neutral third party, the mediator, assist the disputing parties in reaching a mutually agreed upon settlement of their grievance or dispute.

Why Use Grievance Mediation?

Here are some of the main benefits of using grievance mediation to resolve your business or employment disputes and grievances:

  • It is a voluntary process in which the parties agree to using mediation.
  • Since it is voluntary, either party is free to abandon the mediation process prior to a settlement being reached.
  • Once a settlement is mutually reached both parties come away satisfied. There is no court imposed decision which may leave one party dissatisfied.
  • Mediation is very efficient in settling disputes. The success rate for settlements reached in mediated disputes is extremely high with about 9 out of 10 cases settled successfully.
  • Faster resolution of grievances (within months) when compared to litigation through the courts (which could take years).
  • Mediation is inexpensive, being far less expensive than litigation through the courts.
  • It is less adversarial than litigation- in mediation the focus is on resolving the issues rather than on winning. It is a win-win solution and not a win-lose solution.
  • Provides the disputing parties with a learning experience which they can consider using in future disputes.
  • Confidentiality can be maintained with proceedings held in private. No disclosure made to the public.
  • The mediator does not have any power to impose a settlement on the parties.
  • At the end of the mediation the parties come away with an agreed settlement.
  • Mediation can be used in virtually all employment related disputes and grievances including, wage disputes, and termination of employment grievances.

Choosing a Mediator

For choosing a mediator, here are some of the characteristics you will find in a good mediator:

  • maintains firm professional control over proceedings
  • remain neutral and impartial throughout the process
  • treats all parties equal
  • has advanced communication skills
  • shows patience when listening to each party
  • asking the relevant questions for clarification
  • identifies the core problems
  • gets the parties to focus on the core problems without letting their prejudices or emotions getting in the way
  • maintains the respect of the parties and gets the parties to respect each others point of view
  • keeps the parties' power play in check
  • considers all possible solutions
  • has excellent knowledge on the legal implications of the issues being dealt with.

Related Pages

For more on grievance mediation, see:

The Mediation Process

To get in contact with an Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist or Mediator in your area contact us.