Many investigatory complaints and employee claims start out as a work relationship gone sour. Relationships can quickly go awry when people make assumptions. Someone comes in sullen and someone else assumes their co-worker is angry with them for discussing an idea in the team meeting the day before. But the situation may not have had anything to do with the staff meeting at all or even work.

I’ve often seen a series of assumptions leading the parties to mediation. A pre-mediation session between the mediator and each party gives the mediator a sense of whether mediation is a possible tool to address workplace conflict and to see where assumptions are being made.

It is the mediator’s role to slow down the process so that the parties can discuss their beliefs about what has happened and how it has affected them. When parties are able to talk openly about what is bothering them and if they are willing to commit to hearing the other party, the underlying issues impeding the relationship can be dispelled, shifting the focus of the relationship to one of resolution.

Mediation can be done at any time in the process but the earlier the better. If you are interested in learning more about mediation, please contact SWHRC.

Magdalena Vigil-Tullar

Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar


Phone: 505-270-7494 | Email:

PO Box 14274 | Albuquerque, NM 87191

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