Mediation - What to expect?Wednesday 1 May, 2019
Mediation is a process designed to help both parties find an acceptable resolution to their problems. The process is voluntary and allows parties to reach their own settlement through the help of an impartial mediator.
The process is also confidential, meaning whatever is discussed and agreed upon cannot be shared outside of the room unless those present agree otherwise.
What does the mediator do?
The mediator’s role is to guide the process for parties to safely discuss their concerns and work out a resolution that both can agree on. The mediator is also there to ensure the meeting stays focused and on track, whilst assisting the parties to see each other’s point of view.
If an agreement is reached, the mediator will write up the agreement as a Record of Settlement. Once the Record of Settlement has been signed by both parties and the mediator, it is legally binding.
Can I change my mind?
No. A Record of Settlement is final. If you have signed it you cannot then try and go to court. Make sure you are certain and clear about what you are agreeing to in the Record of Settlement, and that you are happy with it before you sign.
If you do not keep to the agreement in the Record of Settlement, the other party may apply to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to have the agreement enforced.
What happens if an agreement cannot be reached?
Agreement cannot always be reached during mediation. If this is the case, either party may file an application with the ERA for a determination (a decision) on the issues.