Even though conflicts don’t always resolve at mediation, it is far from true to say that those efforts don’t yield value! Parties who earnestly engage will walk away with more than they came with – be it a better understanding of facts or participants, a clearer sense of next steps, or even just a better rapport with the party sitting across from them.
At a recent mediation, a present employer-employee relationship was positive in every respect except how to reasonably accommodate the employee’s sensitivity to the office’s climate. Accommodation options involved competing issues of health and comfort concerns by all affected.
The mediation provided a concentrated, methodical approach to dissecting the respective issues to balance – some realized and some simply feared – and identified resources that had not been contemplated before. The parties left with very practical alternatives to explore.
Just as importantly, the parties gained a fresh perspective on how the degree of their prior efforts and conclusions might be judicially viewed. In this case, this involved a thoughtful look at the basis for their respective impasse-causing confidences: the extent to which the interactive dialogue had been utilized, sincerely; reliability on matter of fact beliefs of entitlement; and whether these could satisfy the reasonableness standard.
In other words, the parties left with a far more objective take on their obstacles, a vision of how a less-than-ideal resolution could be legally mandated and, through that lens, a sense of such an option actually being manageable.