One of things that I do on a regular basis at Tracy Jones Mediation is assist divorcing parents with effective and yet reasonable ways to agree on and pay for many of the additional children’s expenses associated with raising children. These expenses often include such topics as the following: Healthcare, Childcare, School/Activities Expenses, etc. As formal child support is often only intended to address housing, food and typical clothing; it is important to address as many of the other expenses associated with raising children during the divorce mediation process. so that unexpected events do not present further conflict at a later point. My aim during divorce mediation is to provide a clear and yet specific structure regarding how parents would go about dividing these expenses when getting divorced.
First, we start with healthcare and divide this into “reasonable and necessary” which is the terminology that the health insurance companies. Then we discuss how the parents will pay for children's healthcare premiums as well as all out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, etc.. Lastly, we address elective healthcare expenses such as braces.
Next, we discuss how the parents will pay for employment-related childcare. While this is an expected expense divorcing parents are often left with a vague sense of how much each parent is expected to pay. Consequently, during divorce mediation we will address childcare as relevant to each parent’s employment schedule and the costs incurred. As long as each parent’s income is relatively similar, this cost is often a 50% financial responsibility for each parent. However, if there is a significant difference between the incomes of the two parents, this expense can be divided in a different percentage or even exclusively paid for by one part.
Lastly, we address ongoing or recurring expenses associated with school, activities, etc. as well as more random and/or one-time expenses during divorce mediation. The typical approach here is that we establish a threshold under which each parent will be responsible for any expenses that they incur on behalf of the children. Then, anything above this threshold would be divided in a pre-determined percentage (something that the parents would agree upon ahead of time) as long as they had a mutual agreement ahead of time to incur this cost.
My aim during divorce mediation and when negotiating children's expenses is to allow individuals to mediate the divorce process as affordably and quickly as possible ensuring their children are not caught in the middle and further permit both child and parent to move on with their lives as establish normalcy as quickly as possible.
Workplace bullying is a serious problem for both employees and organizations with twenty-three million Americans experiencing some form of workplace bullying within their professional work history (Seagriff, 2010). The "phenomenon of workplace bullying" has become epidemic in the workplace and organizations are now considering the potential of integrating facilitative mediation into an organization's structure and culture in order to resolve the interpersonal conflict that results from workplace bullying (Seagriff, 2010).
Workplace bullying has been defined as "repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee or a group of employees, with an intent to intimidate and create a risk to the health and safety of the employee(s)" (Seagriff, 2010). Unfortunately, as the author indicated, bullying can be manifested through non-status harassment, or discrimination, innuendo, humiliation, harming another's reputation and credibility, intimidation, and malicious isolation. If an organization ignores bullying long enough, the conflict between the bully and the person being bullied may escalate, impacting the entire workplace and placing the organization at risk of threats of litigation and workplace interpersonal stress. Seagriff (2010) recognized other effects of workplace bullying including increased sick leave, unemployment insurance claims and workers' compensation claims.
A facilitative model of mediation is often considered an effective method of mediation in the workplace environment. The facilitative model is designed to overcome conflict through active listening and the sharing of emotions. As a facilitator, the mediator promotes the flow of information between the parties, and assists them in understanding the conflict, encouraging them to closely probe the factors that led to the dispute. Therefore, as Seagriff (2010) argued, it is the mediator's role to help each person get past their feelings and beliefs about the other person. As a facilitator, the mediator is responsible to establish the pathways of communication so that the separate individuals or groups can overcome the barriers established by the conflict and explore and understand the underlying issues negatively effecting their communication.
Seagriff, B. L. (2010). Keep your lunch money: Alleviating workplace bullying with mediation. Ohio State Journal On Dispute Resolution, 25(2), 575-602.
When conflict develops between people at work, it is often necessary for management to intervene in order to assist parties to resolve their differences in an amicable manner. Various factors can influence whether and how a manager becomes involved in resolving a conflict. For instance, research suggests that managers who possess transformative leadership qualities may be more likely to initiate constructive efforts to resolve conflict (Saeed et al. 2014). The cultural expectations can also help determine whether employees will directly request managerial assistance to help resolve conflicts or whether managers will initiate the intervention themselves (Kozan, Ergin, & Varoglu 2014). However, often times, frontline managers, regardless of the environment, are increasingly expected to play an active role in the resolution of conflict at work (Teague & Roche, 2012).
Cognition is the process through which the human mind screens various thoughts in order to organize one's perception of events that are occurring in the environment (McFarlane, 2006). It is critical for workplace mediators to convey to their employees a thorough understanding of their perspectives and assist them in making a determination of the facts of the conflict and the key issues. In addition, individuals should perceive that their manager understands what matters to them. Cloke and Goldsmith (2005) emphasized the importance of workplace mediators and managers creating questions to encourage individuals to share information. These series of questions and pro-active behavior may be reflected onto the employee that the manager is interested in what they are thinking and perceiving, and is interested in knowing more about the situation they are experiencing.
Cloke, K., & Goldsmith,J. (2005). Resolving conflicts at work: Eight strategies for everyone on the job. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Kozan, M. K., Ergin, C., & Varoglu, D. (2007). Third party intervention strategies of managers in subordinates’ conflicts in Turkey. International Journal of Conflict Management 18(2), 128–147.
McFarlane, C. (2006). Knowledge, learning and development: A post-rationalist approach. Progress in Development Studies 6 (4),: 287–305
Saeed, T., S. Almas, M. Anis-ul-Haq, & Niazi, G. (2014). Leadership styles: Relationship with conflict management styles. International Journal of Conflict Management 25 (3), 214–225
Teague, P., & Roche, W.K. (2012). Line managers and the management of workplace conflict: Evidence from Ireland. Human Resource Management Journal 22 (3): 235–251
A psychologically healthy and safe workplace has been defined as one in which there is organizational support for the physical, social, personal and developmental needs of employees (Kelloway & Day, 2005). However, we know that conflict can occur anywhere at work-the water jug, the boardroom, the elevator, and even at that office holiday function. On the contrary, the workplace relationship is something needed and often just occurs and can refer to all interpersonal relationships at work ranging from supervisor/subordinate to romantic (Sias, 2009). Unfortunately, the presence of workplace interpersonal conflict is frequently identified as a source of stress which, in some circumstances, may lead to a workers' compensation claim and increased psychological injury. Conflict in the workplace can result in damaged relationships, loss of productivity and lack of job satisfaction (Kidder, 2007).
Various theories exist for why employees experience stress in the workplace but most recognize that it is associated with either the work environment or job factors as opposed to individual personalities (Dollard & Knott, 2004). Unfortunately, many employees fail to report or even address the stressful situation (Caulfield, Chang, Dollard, & Elshaug, 2004). It is often the fear of confrontation and talking about conflict that workers typically avoid as the process is stressful, and some may even interpret it as a form of :social suicide.”
Workplace relationship conflict can vary from minor disagreements between co-workers to aggression and organizational violence; it may be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional, but all conflict will be characterized by negative emotions (Kidder, 2007). In order to overcome these negative emotions both parties must feel validated and that there "voice" is being heard while relinquishing power and any negative behavior and attitudes.
Caulfield, N., Chang, D., Dollard, M., & Elshaug, C. (2004). A review of occupational stress
interventions in Australia. International Journal of Stress Management, 11, 149–166
Dollard, M., & Knott, V. (2004). Incorporating psychosocial issues into our conceptual
models of OHS. Journal of Occupational Health and Safety Australia New Zealand, 20,
Kelloway, E.K., & Day, A.L. (2005). Building healthy workplaces: What we know so far.
Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 37, 223–235
Kidder, D.L. (2007). Restorative justice: Not “rights”, but the right way to heal relationships
at work. International Journal of Conflict Management, 18, 4–22
Sias, P.M. (2009). Organizing relationships: Traditional and emerging perspectives on workplace
relationships. Thousand Oaks: Sage
Although estimates vary, a recent report suggested that 9% of the population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual (Gates, 2010). LGBT individuals often incur prejudice and discrimination in the workplace as a result of their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, this discrimination against LGBT individuals is often based upon negative stereotypes, religious interpretations, and irrational fears of contracting AIDS (Chung, 2001). In the United States, for example,
LGBT individuals may be the only group who continue to face legalized discrimination
in the workplace. As a result of the many challenges that LGBT people face in their early careers, the vocationcal behavior of LGBT individuals may be significantly from that of their heterosexual counterparts (Datti, 2009). Hetherington (1991) found that the personal and
environmental factors influencing career decisions among LGBT people are quite opposite
as those of the heterosexual population. For example, LGBT individuals
have to consider workplace discrimination and coping strategies in their career
choice (Chung, Williams, & Dispenza, 2009).
LGBT people may cope with discrimination by selecting work environments that are LGBT friendly (employer choice), by proactive identity management (work adjustment), or by attempting to manage the discrimination by quitting, remaining silent, seeking social support, and facilitating confrontation. (Chung, 2001). Clearly, both workplace discrimination and coping strategies have important implications for the vocational behavior, career achievement, and psychological well-being of LGBT individuals (Ragins, 2004).
Chung, Y.B. (2001). Work discrimination and coping strategies: Conceptual frameworks for
counseling lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. Career Development Quarterly, 50, 33-44
Chung, Y.B., Williams, W., & Dispenza, F. (2009). Validating work discrimination and coping
strategy models for sexual minorities. The Career Development Quarterly, 58, 162-170
Datti, P. A. (2009). Applying social learning theory of career decision making to gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transgender, and questioning young adults. Career Development Quarterly, 58,
Gates, G. J. (2010). Sexual minorities in the 2008 general social survey: Coming out and demographic characteristics. The Williams Institute. Retrieved from http://www2.law.ucla.edu/
Hetherington, C. (1991). Life planning and career counseling with gay and lesbian students. In N. J. Evans & V. A. Walls (Eds.), Beyond tolerance: Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals on campus (pp. 131-146). Alexandria, VA: American College Personnel Association
Ragins, B. R. (2004). Sexual orientation in the workplace: The unique work and career
experiences of gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers. Research in Personnel Human
Resources Management, 23, 35-120
Community mediation often involves cases involving interpersonal conflicts such as neighbor disputes, family disputes, and small business disputes. The significant benefit of community mediation is often viewed as the promotion of social justice in which all "citizens, despite their differences, have an equal chance and unlimited access to civil freedom resources and institutions” (Bloemers, 2003, p. 21).
Community mediation processes have received much favorable reception. Much of the evaluation of community mediation literature focuses on agreement rate and participant satisfaction with the process, and most report a high level of satisfaction ( Clarke, Valente, and Mace, 1992) as well as resolution rates ranging from 70–80 percent (Hedeen, 2004).
The findings of a study by Charkoudian (2010) indicated that people who use mediation are more likely to stop using police or court resources in the period following mediation compared to those in conflict who did not use mediation. Moreover, those who had not used police and court resources prior to the mediation were less likely to use these resources in the months following the mediation, compared to those who did not use mediation.
However, just as other types of mediation, many participants are not looking for the mutual understanding that forms the basis of mediators’ transformative aspirations. Some are actually "seeking mediation for the exact opposite: a controlled environment with a formalized process and strangers observing that will insulate them from delving into the emotional or psychological content of their conflict" (Pincock, 2013, p.23). Thus, the aspirations of the mediator must also be controlled in order to allow those seeking mediation to discover and understand their true intention.
Bloemers, W. (2003). Ethics and social justice. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang,
Charkoudian, L. (2010). Giving police and courts a break: The effect of community mediation on decreasing the use of police and court resources. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 28 (2), 141-155.
Clarke, S. H., Valente, E., Jr., & Mace, R. R. (1992). Mediation of interpersonal disputes:
An evaluation of north carolina’s programs. Chapel Hill: Institute of Government,
University of North Carolina,
Hedeen, T. (2004). The evolution and evaluation of community mediation: Limited
research suggests unlimited progress. Conflict Resolution Quarterly
22 (1–2), 101–133
Pincock, H. (2013). Does mediation make us better? Exploring the
capacity-building potential of community mediation.Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31 (1), 3-30
The goal of workplace mediation is often to solve workplace conflict and even reintegrate employees after a leave of absence (Bollen & Euwema, 2103). Workplace mediation can also address such issues as sexual harassment in the workplace, discrimination, and workplace bullying. The role of the workplace mediator is not to prescribe an agreement or specific outcome. Rather to facilitate open communication and implement a facilitate method of mutual understanding between both parties.
Mediation is significantly beneficial in the workplace setting as workplace conflict rarely requires a legal remedy. Instead, the consensual approach of mediation allows each party to search for a long lasting and positive solution. The open nature of mediation also searches for underlying emotions and concerns and even expectations which provide an essence of transparency.
According to Bollen and Euwema (2013), employers may choose mediation for the following reasons:
1. To maintain a relationship,
2. Solve conflicts in an efficient and cost effective manner,
3. Prevent or restrict detrimental effects of conflict,
4. Contribute to the employees well being; and
5. Help create a problem-solving organizational culture.
Furthermore, workplace mediation research has shown that workplace mediation is considered most fair when both parties believe that the mediation is impartial and each person is treated with respect.
Bollen, K., & Euwema, M. (2013). Workplace mediation: An underdeveloped research area. Negotiation Journal, 29(3), 329-353.