Developing a dispute resolution process

Unresolved workplace disputes cost your business money. Potential costs include legal expenses, lost productivity, staff turnover, lost business relationships and a damaged business reputation.

Developing a clear conflict resolution process will help your business avoid unnecessary conflict and prevent unavoidable conflict from escalating.

Best practice in dispute resolution

The Fair Work Ombudsman's effective dispute resolution guide describes best practice principles for developing your business's dispute resolution process.

The guide recommends pursuing dispute resolution outcomes that are:

  • quick - the issues should be resolved quickly rather than allowing them to escalate through inaction
  • fair - all relevant parties should be consulted so that all sides of the story are taken into account
  • handled sensitively - disputes should, where possible, be resolved in a confidential way to minimise impact on other employees
  • transparent - the procedure should be clear to every employee.

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution

If you are unable to resolve a workplace conflict, there are trained professionals who can advise and assist you.

The Queensland Government's dispute resolution centres have trained mediators to help everyone involved in a workplace dispute reach a satisfying settlement.

Mediation sessions are usually attended by 2 mediators who act as impartial third parties. Their role is to make sure all people involved in the dispute get the chance to make their point.

Dispute resolution centres can also help your workplace develop systems that actively prevent or manage conflict.

The Queensland Law Society also has a range of mediation and alternative dispute resolution services. Here, you can find a mediator accredited under the National Mediator Approval and Practice Standards 2007.

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