You may already be familiar with mediation, but Neil Groberg is often met with blank stares when he mentions mediation. While it is becoming more well known, the concept of mediation has not found full awareness, let alone acceptance, in our society’s vocabulary yet. But it can be the best solution to many sticky workplace issues.

To help you better understand and benefit from mediation, here are some frequently asked questions and answers:

Q. Why is Neil Groberg involved in mediation?
A. Because it works. Given his experience facilitating the resolution of disputes before they generate into litigation—and his knowledge of the adverse impact of lawsuit on both employers and employees—it was inevitable that he would also become a mediator.

Q. What is mediation?
A. In the mediation process, a neutral third-party helps both sides discuss all issues and negotiate an agreement to the dispute(s). This is usually done in a meeting where all the participants gather with the mediator at a designated time and place. The parties and the mediator sit down in person to discuss the dispute(s). They share ideas about how the conflict(s) can be resolved.

Often, creative solutions—and not just money—are at the center of a resolution. The mediator may also place the parties in different rooms and discuss the issues involved separately with the participants. A mediation session will quite often take the entire day and if a resolution is not forthcoming that day more meetings can be scheduled.

Q. Why mediation?
A. With lawsuits increasing and litigation costs soaring, more and more parties are recognizing the value of mediation instead of resorting to lawsuits to resolve disputes. The mediation process has helped employers and employees alike avoid excessive legal costs and the lengthy time court action takes. And with mediation, there is an outlet to voice grievances—and walk away with a sense that you have had your “day in court.” 

Q. What happens? Does everyone sit around yelling at each other with a referee in between? 
A. No. The mediator maintains professional decorum and often places the parties in different rooms in order to discuss the issues separately with them.

Q. Can you give a simple example of why mediation can be successful?
A. In mediation, creative solutions—not just money—are at the heart of a resolution. For example, imagine two people, each demanding the one orange in the room. The obvious solution would be for the two to cut the orange in half and share it. In mediation, however, it is discovered that party A wants just the outside peel for cooking and party B wants only the pulp to make juice. So they agree to share the “fruits” of their labor.

Q. What if mediation doesn’t work?
A. In the instances where mediation sessions have not succeeded, the parties have not lost their legal rights and can move on with further negotiations—another try at mediation and, if all else fails, arbitration or litigation.

Q. Why is mediation valuable for the workplace?
A. An employer cannot afford the time, work and expense that inevitably comes from litigation. (In fact, a lawsuit can conceivably put them out of business.) Neil Groberg has, for example, experienced lawsuits where the defense costs alone amount to over $1 million.

Current and former employees who believe they have been wronged can be extremely emotional and inclined to seek redress and revenge by suing their employers. They frequently, however, do not want to wait the years that litigation can take (three to five years is typical). And employees usually cannot afford the legal fees associated with litigation even if their attorney takes the matter on a contingency basis. So mediation often becomes a great outlet for all parties.

Q. How can I find out more information about mediation?
A. More information can be found at:

Q. Do you receive a mantra when you mediate? 

A. No.  You’re mixing it up with meditation. Similar spelling, but they’re not the same.  However, both can provide the stress relief you require—with or without a mantra!