Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Making the case for mediation

The new ACAS Guide to Discipline and Grievance strongly urges that employers and employees should seek mediation wherever informal approaches have not worked in a dispute involving individual employees. Members may wish to use mediation or may find pressure put on them to resort to it.

It is important to note that ACAS, while encouraging mediation in general, also makes it clear that certain situations do not lend themselves to mediation. An Employment Tribunal is likely, though not certain, to follow this guidance.

The cases that ACAS considers unsuitable for mediation are where:

  • it is used as a first resort - because people should be encouraged to speak to each other and talk to their manager before they seek a solution via mediation

  • it is used by a manager to avoid their managerial responsibilities

  • a decision about right or wrong is needed, for example where there is possible criminal activity

  • the individual bringing a discrimination or harassment case wants it investigated

  • the parties do not have the power to settle the issue

  • one side is completely intransigent and using mediation will only raise unrealistic expectations of a positive outcome

For more information about mediation see the ACAS website at www.acas.org.uk

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