Conflict in the workplace occurs from time to time and can have a serious impact on operations leading to a reduction in productivity, absences from work and a general level of unhappiness.
The University provides staff with guidelines on conduct in the workplace. The guidelines contain information on creating a supportive work environment and managing complaints and grievances.
The University has established a pool of trained mediators to provide a mediation service for any University based conflicts and grievances. These mediators have completed a 6-day Mediator training program equivalent to those offered by LEADR, IAMA, Centrecare and Relationships Australia.
The mediation service provided is based on the co-mediation model, as used by the Citizen's Advice Bureau. Two mediators facilitate the mediation process enabling gender balance to occur and the mediators to maintain neutrality.
"Mediation is a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a dispute resolution practitioner (the mediator), identify the disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement. The mediator has no advisory or determinative role in regard to the content of the dispute or the outcome of its resolution, but may advise on or determine the process of mediation whereby resolution is attempted."
National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC)
Mediation helps open and improve communication assisting the flow of information between the participants. It also assists in rebuilding trust in order to continue the working relationship between those involved. Mediation may also highlight assumptions and help clear up misunderstandings.
Mediators are impartial who guide the parties through a process which gives each party the opportunity to be heard by the other and to assist the parties in arriving at possible options and evaluating the available alternatives.
The University's Mediation Service is accessible by all members of the University Community by simply contacting either:
The University's group of co-mediators will be notified and generally, the co-mediators will volunteer their services depending on their own commitments.
In some instances, co-mediators will exclude themselves from a specific mediation due to their position within the University (for example, where the mediator works in the same school or business unit as the parties).
All aspects of mediation are confidential from what is discussed in the individual pre-mediation sessions through to the mediation sessions. All participants in mediation, including support persons, need to respect the confidential nature of discussions.
Mediators will not offer advice at any stage of the mediation process to either party. It is your decision as to whether you agree to any proposal put forward by the other party or generated during the joint session(s). The role of the Mediators is to assist the parties in reaching a resolution.
An essential element of mediation is that both parties are willing participants. Mediation is not appropriate if one of the parties to the dispute does not agree to the process.
Before commencing mediation, the two co-mediators involved will meet individually with each party. From this meeting, the co-mediators are able to better assess whether the dispute is suitable or ready for mediation.
The pre-mediation meeting provides each party an opportunity to raise any queries on the process and discuss their expectations going into the initial mediation session with both of the co-mediators.
Arrangements for conducting the joint mediation sessions will also be discussed to ensure these are held at a mutually convenient time and location for all involved.
For the mediators, the pre-mediation sessions provides them with the opportunity to know and understand the dispute before proceeding with the joint mediation session(s).
The joint mediation sessions involve bringing both parties together to discuss and explore the issues relating to the grievance or dispute. The role of the co-mediators is to provide a process that leads to the parties to reach an agreement developed by the parties and which satisfies both parties.
During the mediation, private sessions may or may not occur. Private sessions provides each party with an opportunity to discuss any concerns privately with the co-mediators as the mediation progresses. What is discussed in private sessions will not be raised by either mediator during the joint mediation sessions.
If agreed by both parties, each party may be able to be accompanied by a support person in the mediation but that person is not able to participate in the mediation.