Mediation is a voluntary, informal, structured discussion that allows two or more individuals the opportunity to work through a variety of workplace issues and conflicts. Prior to the mediation, parties will meet individually with the mediator to discuss their concerns and learn about how to effectively engage in the mediation process. Participants in the mediation process will be asked to sign an Agreement to Mediate to help ensure that there is clarity about the expectations
Upon receipt of the mediation request, the Director of Conflict Resolution and Mediation Services will reach out to you to ask for further information and answer questions.
In most cases, the mediator will meet individually with each participant prior to the mediation to help prepare participants to effectively engage in the mediation.
At the scheduled mediation time, the mediator will sit down with both parties and facilitate a discussion. Each party will have the uninterrupted opportunity to share their concerns and perspectives. The mediator and participants will then ask questions to help better understand the issues and needs of each party.
After the issues and concerns have been identified, participants will brainstorm ideas for an effective resolution or next steps towards that goal.
If the parties can come to an agreement, it will be written down and signed by each party for future reference. The signed agreement is not a legal or binding contract, but simply a way to ensure that both parties are clear about what they have agreed to. The agreement shall not be used in any formal proceedings and the parties can re-enter mediation if the agreed upon actions do not come to fruition or do not resolve the issues.
If the parties cannot come to an agreement, they may proceed with other formal or informal channels.
Even if no agreement is reached, the process of mediation still can be an effective way to build trust and understanding and improve the relationship.
UM System Collective Rules & Regulations 600.040 allows for parties to engage in mediation as follows:
Conflict Resolution. The Parties may choose to engage in Conflict Resolution at any time during the Equity Resolution Process. The decision of the Parties to engage in Conflict Resolution must be voluntary, informed, and in writing. The Parties are not required to engage in Conflict Resolution as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right. The Parties are not required to waive their right to an investigation of a Complaint or a right to a hearing. It is not necessary to pursue Conflict Resolution prior to pursuing the Administrative or Hearing Panel Resolution Process and either Party can stop the Conflict Resolution Process at any time and request either the Administrative Resolution Process or Hearing Panel Resolution Process. Conflict Resolution is never available to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed or engaged in sexual misconduct with a student. Upon receiving a request for Conflict Resolution, the Equity Officer will determine if Conflict Resolution is appropriate based on the willingness of the Parties, the nature of the conduct at issue and the susceptibility of the conduct to Conflict Resolution.
In Conflict Resolution, which includes mediation or facilitated dialogue, a neutral facilitator will foster dialogue with the Parties to an effective resolution, if possible. The Complainant’s and the Respondent’s Equity Support Person may attend the Conflict Resolution meeting. The Parties will abide by the terms of the agreed upon resolution. Failure to abide by the terms of the agreed upon resolution may be referred to the Equity Officer for review and referral to the appropriate University Process for discipline or sanctions. The Equity Officer will keep records of any Conflict Resolution that is reached.
In the event the Parties are unable to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, the matter will be referred back to the Administrative or Hearing Panel Resolution process. The content of the Parties’ discussion during the Conflict Resolution Process will be kept confidential in the event the matter proceeds to the Administrative or Hearing Panel Resolution processes. The Parties’ agreement to participate in, refusal to participate in, or termination of participation in Conflict Resolution shall not be factors in any subsequent decisions regarding whether a policy violation occurred.
Among the resolutions which may be reached at this stage (or at any point prior to a finding through Administrative or Hearing Panel Resolution), the Respondent may voluntarily request to permanently separate from the University of Missouri System. If the Equity Officer accepts the Respondent’s proposal, the Respondent must sign a Voluntary Permanent Separation and General Release agreement to effectuate their separation and terminate the Equity Resolution process.
You are entitled to have your union representative be present at the mediation, but you must speak for yourself.
In some cases, you may request an advisor to accompany you to the mediation, if the other party in the issue agrees to participate under those conditions. This may be helpful in situations where there is a big power imbalance.
Retaliation is strictly prohibited under current employment practices. There will be no retaliation against UMSL staff and faculty who request mediation or participate in mediation. If you believe you have been retaliated against for requesting or participating in mediation, contact any of the following: