What is the mediator's role
Mediators are not advocates for either party. They are independent people committed to the process of problem resolution. Mediators work with people to find solutions to the problem that will work for both parties.
Mediators come from a range of backgrounds. Among those employed by the Department of Labour are individuals:
- with extensive training in dispute resolution
- from both employer and employee backgrounds
- with an in-depth understanding of employment law
- with a clear picture of current trends in workplaces.
The mediator’s role is to:
- help people find the best way to resolve their problems
- encourage parties to identify the real issues
- help the parties explain those issues to each other
- identify points of agreement between the two parties
- help people find a way through their problem that may not seem immediately apparent
- work with people to find answers that reflect good faith and common sense
- provide an assessment of the risks of the problem escalating to the Employment Relations Authority
- seek a resolution that allows both parties to put the issues behind them.
Each employment relations problem is different. The process for each mediation will depend on the needs of the parties and the nature of the problem. Mediation services provide confidential processes where problems can be discussed, issues clarified and a conclusion reached that all those involved can accept.
Mediators can also:
- provide early assistance to parties with or without representatives being present
- make a written recommendation or decision with the agreement of the parties
- record settlements (including signing-off settlements reached outside mediation) so they become full and final and binding under the Employment Relation Act
- perform a range of legislative duties under the Employment Relations Act
- provide information to unions, to community groups and advisors, to employer organisations or employment law seminars.