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Dispute resolution in the workplace

Disputes in the workplace can be damaging for everybody involved, so they should be resolved quickly and fairly.

Our Dispute Resolution Centres have trained skilled mediators to help everyone involved in a workplace dispute—managers, employees and unions—reach a mutually agreed settlement.

Difference between facilitation and mediation

Mediation usually involves disputes between individuals or an individual and an organisation.

In contrast, facilitation usually involves large-scale disputes with several parties, an organisation, a department or an entire community.

Facilitation can also help manage a situation to prevent future disputes. Organisations may use facilitation if they’re discussing major changes and need a neutral facilitator to guide the discussion.

Read more about facilitation.

Disputes suitable for mediation

All kinds of workplace disputes are suitable for mediation, such as conflict:

  • between two or more workers
  • involving entire workplaces
  • between management and employees.

We may also be able to help following formal management action to resolve a grievance. The formal resolution of a complaint doesn’t always lead to the end of workplace conflict.

Our mediators

Mediators don’t have to be experts in industrial law. They don’t represent one side or the other, as solicitors do, or judge how the dispute should be resolved.

They act impartially to clarify issues, keep discussion on course and ensure that all sides have the chance to speak. When participants reach an agreement, mediators put it in writing so that everyone is clear about its terms. There are usually two mediators present.

Mediators receive training that is practical and comprehensive, and teaches respect for people’s right to have a say in issues that affect their lives. It enables mediators to deal successfully with a wide range of matters.

Find out more about training for mediators.

Benefits of our mediation service

There are several benefits of our mediation over in-house mediation:

  • neutrality—mediators are neutral and impartial
  • confidentiality—the discussion can be free and frank
  • privilege—no information disclosed during the mediation or documents prepared for it can be used as evidence in court.

The law includes these protections in case mediation fails to resolve the dispute. Either party can then take further action without the mediation affecting the outcome.

If an agreement is made legally binding, only the agreement itself can later be used as evidence.

Arranging mediation

Usually a manager or human resource management unit contacts a Dispute Resolution Centre either instead of starting a formal complaint process or because an investigation hasn’t been concluded satisfactorily.

Employees can contact us directly to start mediation rather than use a more formal process, such as using organisational grievance procedures or lodging a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland.

Contact a Dispute Resolution Centre near you to discuss your particular needs.

Last updated
31 July 2014

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