“His style was very low key but effective in assisting the parties to see that a compromise was in their mutual best interest.”
“Mr. Ford was extremely professional and worked hard to resolve the dispute between the parties. Highly recommended.”
“Mr. Ford was an excellent mediator. I would and have recommended him to other attorneys in other cases.”
“In our employment dispute, in which I represented the employer, Mr. Ford did a very good job in assessing the personality of the plaintiff, and in making the plaintiff feel that she was getting the benefit of a fair proceeding. Without Mr. Ford's help, the plaintiff would likely have not agreed to a settlement.”
Professional Mediation Services
For the most part, my practice focuses on conflict internal to organizations. HR managers ask me to mediate disputes between employees, and also to mediate post-investigation or post-hearing.
I also mediate employment discrimination disputes where attorneys represent parties and the employment relationship has been or is danger of being severed.
Why mediation makes sense
For those who need convincing, I offer some reasons to mediate.
Firstly, it saves money. In 2010, the RAND Institute for Civil Justice estimated that it cost, on average, $150,000 to defend an employment discrimination lawsuit in the United States. But the costs of poorly managed conflict are not limited to the legal costs that are incurred when your organization has to defend itself in court. When a conflict drags on and on, and ensnares more and more bystanders, the amount of time spent is staggering. To find out just how staggering, estimate the time spent by each individual employee affected by the conflict, and then multiply this time by each person’s salary!
Add to this the indirect costs of absenteeism, staff turnover, restructuring of the workflow to accommodate conflicts, health costs, theft and sabotage, and – not unimportantly – lower productivity, and you will begin to get to the real cost of poorly managed conflict. The bottom line is that conflict costs money, and for the most part, unless it shows up as legal fees, that cost is not being measured.
A second reason to use mediation is a practical one. HR managers need a variety of tools to get their job done. Mediation is one such tool. It should not replace the fact-finding investigation or hearing, but it needs to be added to the HR toolbox. Investigations are required to determine whether there has been a law or policy violation and what to do about it. Mediations are required to resolve conflict, especially when an important ongoing relationship is in trouble.
Beyond cost savings and pragmatism, there are myriad other good reasons to consider mediation in your organization. Mediation as a process has a lot of integrity. It values self-determination, is respectful of the need for privacy and confidentiality, and promotes voluntary participation. This means that participants in a mediation have high levels of control in a safe process. Although success is never guaranteed, mediation results in a mutually acceptable resolution most of the time (in over eighty percent of cases). Mediation is therefore hopeful and helps to chart a better future. It increases the possibility of lasting peace through sincere reconciliation.
Conflict is a call to explore ourselves, including our levels of self-awareness or consciousness, and our emotional maturity. Mediation often creates the space for profound insights which frequently lead to shifts in perception, learning and growth. And, if HR managers assume a mediation stance and support both their managers and their employees to work out their own conflicts, without taking sides, they avoid the perception that HR is simply a biased arm of management.
Finally, mediation can be used to resolve a wide range of situations. As an early intervention, it can be effective to address trust and identity issues in relationships before a conflict spins out of control. At the other extreme, as the legal profession has found, mediation can be used effectively to resolve employment lawsuits that have turned workplaces into veritable war zones.