In line with Section 39 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) may be in a position to offer a mediation service in certain cases to facilitate the resolution of complaints/disputes where possible at an early stage and without recourse to adjudication. The ability of the WRC to offer mediation will depend on a number of factors including the availability of resources. Complaints/disputes may only be referred for mediation with the agreement of both parties to the complaint/dispute.
Mediation seeks to arrive at a solution through an agreement between the parties, rather than through an investigation or hearing or formal decision. The Mediation Officer empowers the parties to negotiate their own agreement on a clear and informed basis, should each party wish to do so. The process is voluntary and either party may terminate it at any stage.
Mediation can take the form of telephone conferences with the parties, face-to-face mediation conferences/meetings or such other means as the Mediation Officer considers appropriate.
All communications by a Mediation Officer with the parties and all records and notes held for the purposes of resolving any matter are confidential and cannot be disclosed in any subsequent hearing or investigation process or in proceedings before a court (other than proceedings in respect of a contravention of the terms of a resolution agreed during the mediation conference).
Where a complaint/dispute is resolved, whether by mediation or otherwise, the Mediation Officer will record in writing the terms of the resolution, the parties will be asked to sign that record and the record of resolution will be given to the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission. A copy will also be given to each party.
The terms of a resolution are binding on the parties and if either party contravenes these terms, the contravention will be actionable in any court of competent jurisdiction.
The terms of a resolution may not be disclosed by a Mediation Officer or by either party in any proceedings before a court (other than proceedings in respect of the contravention of the terms of the resolution).
Where a complaint/dispute is not resolved, the Mediation Officer will notify the parties to the complaint or dispute and the Director General of the WRC in writing of that fact. The Director General will then refer the complaint or dispute concerned for adjudication by an Adjudication Officer.
A Workplace Relations Complaints eForm is available on the Refer a Dispute/Make a Complaint page.