Mediation can be a great way to resolve a business or real estate dispute. The litigation process is often expensive, time consuming and can leave you stressed and unhappy.
When you choose mediation to resolve your dispute, you potentially save time and money. You also have a much higher chance of preserving your professional relationship with the other party.
A mediator’s role
Mediation involves a meeting, or series of meetings, between you, the other party and a mediator. You may have an attorney with you if you prefer.
Your mediator should always treat everyone with respect, courtesy and professionalism. They should be fair to both parties and not engage in unethical or abusive conduct.
But how do you know if your mediator is acting unethically and overstepping their bounds? It can be hard to tell.
A mediator’s actions can be clear or subtle
Some abusive or unethical behavior is obvious, such as if your mediator yells, calls you names or clearly tries to bully you into a resolution you are not happy with.
However, sometimes the mediator’s words or actions might be more subtle. You may leave your mediation with a resolution to your dispute, but with a nagging feeling that the mediator wasn’t on your side. You could also begin to feel this way during the mediation itself.
A mediator should not make you feel like you are being coerced into a certain resolution, ignore your positions or appear biased toward one side or another.
How to handle unethical behavior during a mediation
If you feel this way during your mediation, you should try speaking with the mediator privately about their behavior. Always be respectful and politely tell them you feel like their attitude is hindering the process.
Your mediator may have been unaware of their behavior and take immediate corrective action.
Ending the mediation is an option
However, remember that you have no legal obligation to participate in the mediation. If your mediator’s conduct does not improve after your discussion, you can end the mediation.
Most mediators are excellent in their roles and do a great job of helping resolve disputes. You should still pay close attention to your mediator’s behavior to make sure you are receiving fair treatment.