Equality and Diversity Mediation

What is equality and diversity mediation?

Equality and Diversity Mediation is when an independent third party, trained in mediation and equality and diversity, brings individuals and parties together to facilitate discussions about a dispute. The aim of our mediation is for all parties to reach a mutual agreement.

One of the many skills our mediator’s have is the ability to reality test or challenge parties’ assumptions or behaviours. When delivered correctly, this can allow individuals the opportunity to see different perspectives whilst reflecting on their own.

Allegations of discrimination and inequality can be some of the most difficult, complex and sensitive disputes. Our mediators provide a confidential open space for parties to understand an allegation of discrimination.

Centre for Resolution’s mediators are highly trained in mediation and equality and diversity.

When can our equality and diversity mediation be used?

Equality and Diversity Mediation can be used where issues have arisen due to any equality matter, whether you are a service provider, service user, workplace or a community group.

In 2010, the government introduced The Equality Act, which incorporated 116 separate pieces of legislation within one act. The act protects people who have a protected characteristic from discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying, just to name a few. The protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation.

If at any moment a person/s feel this act has been broken they may be within their rights to bring legal action to an individual or an organisation.

Allegations of discrimination are often difficult to prove especially when the dispute has arisen due to a break down in communication but an individual feels it was discrimination. It is also difficult to establish discrimination as often it’s about behaviours and the way in which behaviours are received by individuals.

Here are a few examples of equality and diversity mediations carried out by our mediation service.

Case Study One:

This dispute was between a vision impaired customer assistant and her senior manager. The organisation failed to make reasonable adjustments despite the advice of occupational health. They also did not understand how difficult it would be for the customer assistant to undertake her revised day-to-day activities. Due to this the customer assistant felt unable to explain her disability and how it made her feel to her colleagues.

The mediation helped the organisation understand the customer assistant’s disability and the impact on her work. The mediation allowed her to express how she felt, air her concerns, suggest on-going training for the organisation and provided her with a choice as to whether she should stay with the organisation or be financially compensated and potentially consider leaving her current job.

As a result of mediation and an open dialogue, the customer assistant was able to resume working in the company with adjustments. This ultimately restored her self-esteem and confidence.

Read more on Disability Mediation.

Case Study Two:

This case was concerning a sexual incident between a female and male colleague who shared the same office space. The male colleague after discussing it with his line manager felt that it may be a good idea to discuss this through mediation as he felt that there was wrong on both parts and wanted to develop a clearer understanding of how one another felt so they could establish boundaries in their working relationship.

The mediation allowed them to have an amicable conclusion and the process supported them in implementing a framework going forward.

Case Study Three:

This case study is between a service provider and a customer. This incident took place when she accessed her local supermarket and was wearing a hijab when one of the members of staff made a derogatory comment about the customer’s perceived religion.

After the customer made a complaint, the supermarket suggested mediation as a way of resolution and the customer agreed. During this process the customer was able to articulate how the incident made her feel. One of the outcomes of mediation was that all employees at the supermarket would attend Equality and Diversity Training.

Other ways discrimination may be experienced:

  • An employee not getting a promotion due to their ethnicity or religion
  • A male colleague being paid more than a female colleague for the same job
  • An employer showing more favourable treatment towards people of one religion over colleagues from another
  • Interviews not being given to job applicants because they are transgender or have a disability.

Benefits of utilising our mediation service

A benefit of Centre for Resolution’s mediation is that our process is flexible allowing parties to decide when mediation takes place, the duration of the session and when they wish to have breaks.

Using solicitors or entering into legal proceedings such as tribunals are often costly and usually take longer than mediation adding additional stress to the situation. The structure of our mediation prevents situations from becoming potentially inflamed or creating further frustration. Our service resolves issues quickly and sensitively.

Individuals feel empowered as they have control over the outcomes, the level at which they participate and the pace of the mediation. In comparison to other processes mediation provides a more effective resolution as individuals develop an understanding of one another’s perspective whilst working on solutions that are jointly formed.

Imposed outcomes often fail for example the courts or other disciplinary procedures making a decision off their findings without taking into account emotions. One of the benefits of equality and diversity mediation is individuals develop a shared understanding. This shared understanding often provides mutual learning as individuals have the opportunity to explain their point of view indicating why they felt something was discriminatory.

This form of dispute resolution can reduce and deescalate the amount of discrimination claims progressing into further disciplinaries or legal action.

Personal differences between two or more individuals, including customers and employees can lead to unproductive and toxic environments. Our mediation allows you to address issues and can prevent relationships, lives and careers from being destroyed.

In our experience equality and diversity mediation can positively shape culture by pointing out the pitfalls within an organisation. If individuals or parties don’t resolve all of their issues through mediation then the issues that are unresolved can still be taken forward into disciplinary or legal proceedings.

Mediation can also prevent negative media attention for all those involved.

How the process works

If you would like to use our mediation service you can email us, phone us or fill out the contact form below. One of our mediators will aim to contact you within 5 working days to find out more about the current situation. During this discussion u will be able to ask any questions you may have and the mediator will provide more clarity on how the process works whilst making sure the case is suitable for mediation. If after this call you feel the process is suitable and you would like to continue the mediator will then contact the other individual/s to see if they feel mediation would be suitable.

The mediator will then arrange a time to speak with all parties individually to form an agenda for the joint mediation. During the individual meetings a time and location will be discussed where it would be suitable for both people to meet for the joint mediation.

If for some reason a joint meeting is not suitable individuals can enter into Shuttle Mediation where parties are in separate rooms. The mediator will move between rooms to talk to each party separately.

Contact us for more information about Equality and Diversity Mediation.

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