If workplace mobbing was performed by an employee or a group of employees, a procedure for protection from workplace harassment at the level of the employer is mandatory – it is a phase that precedes the court procedure.
In that situation, the victim of mobbing is directly addressing the individual who is the mobber, with the aim to resolve the dispute amicably. The employee’s request is then forwarded to the employer.
The employer’s obligation is to offer mediation as a possibility to resolve the dispute. In order for the whole procedure to be implemented in accordance with the Law, it is best to provide clear guidelines and steps which all participants in the proceeding have to adhere to, by adopting a Rulebook on protection from workplace harassment. If there is no such Rulebook, you can easily overlook some of the key responsibilities.
A mediator should be a person of trust for both parties in the dispute – the mediator does not represent any of the parties, but mediates between them, with the aim of finding the best solution for both parties.
The mediator may suggest a possible way to resolve the dispute to the parties, but they have no power to force the parties to act in any way.
The process of mediation at the employer may be resolved by:
- the parties concluding a written agreement– which includes measures directed towards stopping the behavior which represents harassment, i.e., excluding the possibility of continuing the harassment,
- the mediator may decide that the process of mediation is ceasedsince further proceeding is not justified, or
- any of the disputing parties may declare that they are giving upa further proceeding.
It is particularly important to deliver the notification on a failed dispute regarding protection from workplace harassment to the employee since the properness and lawfulness of the performed procedure depend on this.
Regarding the mediation procedure, it is important to know that there is an additional obligation on you as an employer – if the mediation procedure fails, and there is a reasonable doubt that the harassment of an employee had indeed occurred. In that situation, you are obliged to initiate a procedure for determining the responsibility of the accused employee for non-compliance with work discipline, i.e. violation of work obligation, which should be defined by an adequate employer’s policy.