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Peer Mediation Application

What is Peer Mediation? 


Mediation aims to assist parties to resolve their dispute through informal and confidential discourse in which a neutral third party, a mediator, assists the parties to reach a negotiated and mutually acceptable resolution/agreement.

Role of Mediator

The mediator is impartial and has no authoritative or decision making power. Nor does the mediator have any vested interest in the outcome. The mediator’s role is to manage the process and to facilitate dialogue between the parties so that they can identify the underlying causes of their dispute and ultimately find their own resolution.  The mediator’s role is non-judgmental and non-directive. The mediator is neither judge nor arbitrator and does not adjudicate or give decisions on the rights or wrongs of the actions of the parties.  The Mediator supports the parties in identifying their issues and needs and in exploring how those needs can be addressed and how they might come to agreement.

Fundamental Principles of Mediation

The fundamental principles of mediation are that it is a voluntary process, that confidentiality applies to the process, that the mediator is and remains impartial and neutral, that the parties have the right of self-determination and decide on their own solutions rather than having a solution imposed on them. The participants will treat each other and the process with respect.

Mediation is Private and Voluntary

Mediation will be conducted in private, and will be directly between the parties concerned, with the support of the mediator, who will act as an independent facilitator. Either party may withdraw from the process at any time by notifying the mediator in writing that they wish to do so.  Mediation is a voluntary process. Mediation cannot proceed if either of the parties objects to a mediation referral. Likewise each side may withdraw consent at any stage of the process and mediation will be terminated immediately.

Mediation Settlements

If the mediation process results in an agreement acceptable to both parties, the mediator will draw up a written record of the terms of the settlement for signature by the parties. A copy of the mediated settlement will be given to the parties and a copy will be retained by the mediator.

The Steps in Mediation Process:

  1. Opening Statements: During the opening statement part of the process, the mediator explains the role of the mediator and what the rest of the process will look like. The mediator affirms that mediation is a voluntary, confidential, and neutral process, defines and obtains agreement that the parties will follow certain ground rules during the mediation (e.g., no interrupting or name calling, the need for all parties to listen to each other and take notes, etc.).  The mediator also explains what a “caucus” is and when and how a caucus might be utilized in furthering the mediation process. (see full definition of Caucus in paragraph 5 below). During the opening statement and throughout the mediation process, the mediator affirms that the mediation is the parties’ process and that they will be designing the resolution. The mediator explains that the role of the mediator is to help the parties identify their problems and that the mediator does not represent either party (or the company) and will not impose a decision; rather, the mediator’s role is to help the parties formulate their own resolution of the dispute.3 One of the most important tenets of mediation is confidentiality, and the mediator will explain that “what happens in mediation stays in mediation” and cannot be used outside of the mediation process; in fact, most mediators require parties to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the start of the mediation. Mediators usually destroy their mediation notes at the conclusion of the mediation. 

  1. Identifying the Problem. The mediator and the parties will agree upon who will speak first (usually the complaining party). Each party will be given the opportunity to explain the nature of the dispute and how the dispute has affected them. Hearing the other party’s point of view can be difficult, but it is essential and a powerful way for one party to see how the other party views and has been impacted by the dispute. 

  1. Identifying the Issues and Agenda Setting. The mediator’s role is to help the parties identify the issues and the core problems surrounding the dispute; frame the issues and gain consensus on what the parties want and need to solve; and help set the agenda for the mediation. The parties together draft the agenda, which creates an anchor for the mediation and helps focus the parties on the issues that are important to resolving the dispute. 

  1. Finding Solutions. Step by step, the parties work through the agenda items and brainstorm solutions. Throughout this process the parties work to define what each party would like the other party to do (or not do) differently in the future. 

  1. Caucus (Optional). Caucus is a confidential, individual break-out session between the mediator and one of the parties. Caucusing can provide the opportunity for a party to share things they are not ready to or able to share with the other party. Caucuses are also a time when the mediator can build rapport with a party, discuss how the party feels the mediation is going, identify questions they would like answered by the other party, share concerns and ideas regarding the mediation, and discuss settlement offers. All matters discussed in a caucus are confidential unless the parties agree that the information can be revealed to the other party. 

  1. The Agreement. The Agreement should be written down, in plain English rather than legalese. It will detail the facts and objectives including the nature of the dispute. The Agreement will detail each point negotiated, and the promise or condition related to that point. It should be fair, balanced, and reviewed by each party before it is finalized and signed by the parties.

Types of Workplace Issues Where Mediation Can Really Help:

  • Problems between employees. 
  • Performance Issues.
  • Harassment Complaints. 
  • Termination.  

If you are interested in requesting Peer Mediation, please fill out the form below:  

Application for Peer Mediation

Section 1:  Person Requsting Mediation
Job Title:
Work Phone:
Section 2:  Person Requested to Mediate
Job Title:
Work Phone:

Section 3:

Are both parties to the mediation aware of this request?   Yes    No 

If "No", how would you like the other party to be informed of the request? 

  I, the requestor of mediation, will inform the party.

The assigned mediator will contact the party.  

Section 4:

Please provide a brief description of the issue(s) that you would like to address through mediation:

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Washington, DC 20003

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