Publication:

On 28th May 2021 an online mediation session took place on MS TEAMS. We dealt with the burning issues of workplace contract violation (an alleged breach of contract) which had happened between employees and employers of a hypothetical supermarket retail chain outlets. The two parties (employees v employers) were in dispute over claims of health damage of employees due to physical exertion caused by lifting heavy boxes and pellets of goods and allegedly unfair dismissal of employees due to Covid-19 health crisis and economic slowdown caused by Coronavirus pandemic.

The cases boiled down to claims of compensation and damages demanded by employees on the grounds of job contract violation / breach of contract by the employer. The cases were presented by both parties involved and satisfactory solutions were needed: to achieve this we explored several options during the negotiations stage. Both parties recognized the problems at hand and accepted the need to find an amicable solution, without the need of taking the case to court. 

Both parties had legitimate grounds for a court case, but instead, chose to offer creative solutions and accepted the need for a compromise. Notably, employers aimed at the win-win outcome, rather than a maximum profit and zero liability. It must be said that despite the sometimes-dramatic scenarios of real life drama presented by employees, they were able to see beyond their personal grievance and negative feelings and worked towards reaching a reasonable consensus.

All cases were amicably reconciled and in most cases a compromise was reached. Not all aggrieved parties of employees immediately achieved all their goals as stated in the original claims, but most of them reached a partial success and were reasonably satisfied.

Our negotiations favoured a compromise between the claimants and the defendants without the necessity of taking further legal steps at an employment tribunal or in the court of law. This, indeed, was the purpose of mediation between the parties of the dispute and proved the effectiveness of mediation as a way of resolving conflicts in the workplace.

Mediation has proven to be a low-cost alternative to a lengthy and complex court case: there was no need for court case formal proceedings nor payment of exorbitant lawyers’ fee; it has saved time as a single one-hour session was required to reach an agreement and has resulted in a mutually satisfactory outcome of a workplace dispute. We are therefore looking forward to seeing more cases solved by mediation procedures in real life.