Mediation Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mediation?
Mediation is when two (or more) people who are involved in a dispute voluntarily sit down with a neutral third party, the mediator, and try to work out a mutually acceptable solution. The mediator is not a judge or arbitrator and will not be making a ruling at the end of the session. The mediator will facilitate a discussion between the parties to assist in looking for mutually acceptable solutions to the work-related issues in dispute. Mediation is a place where people in conflict can come together informally in a safe, neutral environment to work towards a common agreement in a voluntary and confidential process. Either party can withdraw or choose not to participate at any time.
It is very important that the parties know that what is discussed in the mediation session is confidential. No tape recordings are made, no court reporter will be present and no attorneys will be allowed to attend the mediation session. The mediator will not reveal anything discussed during the mediation to anyone other than the participants.
When Might Mediation Be Used?
A few examples of when mediation might be utilized would include, but not be limited to the following:
- Disagreement over a salary adjustment
- Performance evaluation
- Promotion & tenure issues
- Work place dispute
- Instances of alleged harassment or discrimination that do not meet the legal standard for such but which include real or perceived problems requiring resolution.
Mediation can be very effective in these situations because the parties are, more than likely, going to have to continue to work together on a day-to-day basis. Thus, there is a mutually beneficial incentive to improve and continue a relationship and to explore ways to prevent conflicts from arising in the future.
Who Can Request Mediation?
Mediation is available to all faculty and unclassified professionals. Employee Relations & Training within K-State’s Human Resources department can assist mediation requests for classified employees at K-State.
How Can Mediation Be Requested?
Simply contact the Mediation Coordinator, Terrie McCants at firstname.lastname@example.org or 2-1477 and let her know you are interested in exploring mediation.
When Can Mediation Be Requested?
Mediation can be requested at any point in the process of informal facilitation, appeal, grievance or litigation.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
K-State's mediation program is free. The University will pay for the fees for mediation unless an outside complaint or lawsuit has been filed.
Who Are The Mediators?
The parties select their mediator for the session from a list of professionals developed by a faculty senate & the office of the Provost. All of the mediators on the list are state approved & certified mediators, drawn from a list maintained by the Office of Judicial Administration out of Topeka.
What Does The Mediation Coordinator Do?
The Mediation Coordinator assists the parties involved in understanding the mediation process, and helps them make a determination as to whether the situation is suitable for mediation and if mediation is the most appropriate dispute resolution option at K-State to attempt to resolve the particular dispute. The coordinator also helps the requesting party make contact with others at K-State if it appears another avenue is more appropriate.
After the requesting party has expressed a desire to pursue the matter through mediation, the coordinator contacts the other involved parties, explains the mediation process and briefly summarizes what will occur in the actual mediation session. The coordinator secures the signatures necessary on the Agreement to Mediate, arranges for the selected mediator to travel to Manhattan to facilitate the session, and arranges for a neutral & private location for the mediation session to be held.
Even if the parties decide not to pursue the situation through mediation, conversations with the coordinator will be considered a part of the mediation process and bound by confidentiality.
What If Mediation Doesn’t Work?
Mediation can be requested at any point in the appeal or grievance process. If an agreement is not reached, other grievance options are still available to the parties, including filing a formal grievance or pursuing appropriate legal options.
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