Where cooperation takes place, conflicts can arise. Not only in the working relationship between employer and employee but also between employees themselves, in teams, within boards, legal entities or shareholders. All too often cooperation problems arise in employee participation processes.

Mediation is an alternative way of resolving conflicts. An independent mediator who acts as a process facilitator strives to resolve conflicts quickly. Mediation has since played an important role within labor law. Not only can parties themselves propose to resolve a dispute through mediation, mediation is also used on a regular basis through a court or after a referral from a health and safety doctor. The purpose of mediation is that the parties themselves resolve the dispute with the intervention of an independent mediator. Every solution can be discussed. For example, agreements can be made to improve collaboration, restore working relationships, or agreements can be made to end collaboration.

Despite the fact that managements within companies sometimes react cautiously to a proposal for mediation, a recent study by Utrecht University at the end of 2018 has shown that it is mainly the quick results in the business market that are decisive for opting for mediation.  Incidentally, employees often have some cold water fear. The Montaigne Center for the Rule of Law and Justice questioned companies, lawyers and judges about their motives for making use of mediation.

The main reasons given were: speed and clarity that counts as a plus in mediation. Reasons not to opt for mediation often have to do with resistance from one or both parties or simply uneasiness. A party who believes that more pressure can be put on the other party through the courts is less willing to take the first step towards mediation. But legal proceedings can take a long time, and are accompanied by uncertainty. With mediation you quickly try to resolve the dispute. Despite the fact that mediation is not a panacea and success depends on the willingness of the parties to reach a compromise, it appears that those who have once used business mediation continue to do so more often.

Is mediation also something for you? Please contact Alexandra Hock, she is a registered mediator.