Confidential mediation services are provided by the Ombudsperson. Mediation can be useful in a variety of circumstances when all parties agree to work together for a mediated solution to their conflict. The Ombudsperson will arrange meetings with the individuals involved separately first to determine the appropriateness of mediation. Mediation must always be voluntary; in other words, the parties must all wish to mediate the conflict without coercion from supervisors or others. Parties to mediation are asked to sign confidentiality agreements to protect the mediation process.
Mediation may be especially useful when relationships need to be repaired after an incident or after an investigation has occurred in the workplace. It is worthwhile if the parties anticipate they will have to work together in the future and can provide all concerned with a greater degree of comfort in an awkward or upsetting situation. The process gives the parties the chance to craft their own resolution of the dispute and can be empowering.
Mediations can be informal and are usually conducted in the Office of the Ombudsperson. Ground rules are developed by the parties to make sure the process is respectful and productive of a resolution.
The Ombudsperson has experience as a mediator and has completed numerous trainings in mediation processes. The Ombudsperson cannot refer visitors to outside mediators or attorneys. Please see the list in the Reading section for helpful books on mediation.