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Get discrimination mediation

If you feel that you have been discriminated against because of who you are, you don’t have to put up with it. Mediation is one of the ways that you can try to sort things out.

Mediation can be The Mediator
a practical alternative to going to court or to a tribunal. In mediation, a third party – the ‘mediator’ – helps both sides work out an agreement by helping them work out what their issues are and what their options are, and then using those options to work out an agreement.

The mediator won’t ever take sides. The parties with the dispute, and not the mediator, decide whether they can resolve things and what the outcome should be – the mediator just guides them along in the process.

If you have been discriminated against, mediation may have advantages over going to court or a tribunal:

  • It can be much less complicated and much cheaper than going to court - and can sort out the problem faster
  • It gives you a chance to talk things over with the other party in a neutral setting, with the mediator helping to keep you on track Should I take action?
  • It leaves you with the option of staying in the same job if that’s what you want – going to a tribunal can be more stressful and you are much less likely to remain working for the same people afterwards
  • You can give it a try and if it doesn’t work, you are still able to go to court or a tribunal (but you would need to make sure that you meet the strict deadlines in order to do so)
  • You are not restricted to the outcomes of a court could order – you may want an apology, a change in policy, compensation, or an agreement that you can return to work.

However, both parties have to agree to mediation in order to use it – you wont be able to use mediation if the person you feel has discriminated against you doesn’t agree to it. Some people say mediation agreements are not fair to both sides, if one side is more outspoken than the other. And mediation is not a legally binding process so the other party can not be forced to stick to the agreement – but if both parties have agreed an outcome that they think will work, they are more likely to stick to it!

On the next few pages are some examples of where mediation has been successfully used to resolve discrimination issues. Paula was able to sort things out after she felt that her boss had treated her unfairly because she was pregnant. Beatrice felt that her local council was discriminating against wheelchair users, as her local library was not accessible by wheelchair - she was able to use mediation to reach an outcome that benefited not only herself, but all wheelchair users wishing to use the library. And Mark was very pleased to resolve the problem he encountered through mediation when he tried to use his local supermarket with his guide dog and was turned away. Read on to hear their stories.

Emma Buckley
April 2010

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About 'Is that discrimination?'

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'Is that discrimination?' is supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity – PROGRESS 2007–2013. The information on these pages covers England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For more information see About 'Is that discrimination?'.

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