• Nicola Lewis, London Mediation Works

When the going gets tough...


Interesting to catch the tail end of an interview on the radio today. A woman was being asked about her experience after she had her first child and the impact of that change in her personal life in the workplace. She said she had been passed over for a promotion because they were concerned about her level of commitment now she had a baby.

Do these things still happen today in the workplace? I have experienced good employers who focus a lot of energy on treating their employees well and fairly in every respect. Yet it takes only one rogue comment from someone, a misinterpretation of an event in the workplace or a failure perhaps to deal with a performance issue in a timely manner. And then a woman may perceive that a series of events is simple discrimination on the basis of her sex or the fact that she is a working mother.

When asked what she did, the woman in the interview said she moved on to a more friendly working environment and she urged other women to do the same.

For me, this is the wrong answer. What better way to deal with things than have a mediated conversation which enables any miscommunications to be ironed out? Confidentially and in a way that resolves the issue. Or, if there has been discrimination, for that to be redressed and for that employer to take steps to make sure that such events don't happen again.

And instead of talking about moving jobs, you will be talking about how the conversation enabled you to keep your job, reminding your employer of your right to work in an equitable environment, possibly advancing the rights of those who work with you to enjoy the benefits arising out of your conversation too.

Win,win.

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