Workplace disputes are often referred to mediators by the employing organisation itself and often funded by it.
The employer may have a certain outcome in mind, so the mediator will ensure they understand and respect his/her impartiality and independence. Equally, it is important the employee participants trust mediators and they are not seen to be “doing the work of the employer”.
Secondly, the interaction with grievance and disciplinary procedures can be critical. Ideally, difficult matters would be addressed before they ever reached this stage. When employees are required to engage in mediation as an outcome from such procedures, the extent to which mediation remains a truly voluntary process may need to be addressed. Even if participation is a requirement, no-one should say, agree or do anything in mediation other than voluntarily.