04 Aug What is involved in the mediation stage prior to the Human Rights Tribunal hearing?
When trying to resolve a discrimination complaint in the workplace through the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, there is the opportunity to settle before advancing to a hearing. The parties involved have a chance to settle through a process called mediation.
Mediation is a voluntary process where a mediator tries to help a Complainant and Respondent resolve the issue as they see fit. If a settlement agreement is made, it is finalized and signed by both parties and the Tribunal records the resolved issue. If mediation fails, the parties proceed to the Tribunal hearing where the complaint is heard in front of the Tribunal Members.
Further, mediation is strictly confidential. This means that the settlement, discussion, mediation briefs, and possible solutions made between parties will not be shared. If the complaint is not resolved during mediation, these documents cannot be disclosed to Tribunal Members or used in the Tribunal hearing.
The mediator is an impartial Tribunal Member who has the responsibility of guiding the conversation between parties and ensuring that the discussion remains cordial. The mediator is not present to provide a solution, only to maintain an atmosphere where a solution between the Complainant and Respondent can be reached.
Who is involved in this process?
The two main players in the mediation process are the Complainant and the Respondent. They are the parties that were involved in the reported discrimination claim and are attempting to resolve the problem. The Complainant is the party who claims they have been treated in a discriminatory manner, and the Respondent is the party who has allegedly been discriminatory against the Complainant. Both parties may have legal representation present during mediation.
The mediation stage may involve more people than solely the Complainant, Respondent, and their representation. Both the Complainant and Respondent may bring a person that supports them, for example, a family member to make the process easier. There is also the opportunity for both parties to request persons who may have experience with this same type of issue who could provide an alternate approach or different resolutions that may be valuable to the parties involved.
If the parties prefer, the mediation process can also be between just the mediator, Complainant, and Respondent.
What do the parties bring to the mediation meeting?
Each party has the responsibility of drawing up a mediation brief and bringing this document to the meeting. A mediation brief is a confidential document that includes a summary and potential solutions to resolve the problem. Specifically, the Complainant is responsible for drawing up a mediation brief that includes the facts of the situation and solutions they are comfortable with, whereas the Respondent provides a version of the facts, their perspective on the complaint, and possible solutions.
If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace and would like to pursue a complaint, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.