The University of Arizona logo

Informal Mediation FAQs

General Questions

Who can participate in informal mediation?

"Point of View," HR’s informal mediation program is available to all University employees, including non-benefits eligible employees and undergraduate and graduate student employees.

Who are the mediators?

The mediators are HR employees and University faculty, appointed professionals, and classified staff who have received mediation training.

Is the mediator going to make a decision about who is “right”?

No. The mediator will not take sides or act like a judge and make a determination about who is “right.” The mediator may explain University policies or procedures, but will do so from an objective perspective.

Can I be required to participate in informal mediation?

No. In order for informal mediation to take place, everyone must voluntarily agree to participate. Supervisors can refer employees to learn more information the program, but may not require employees to participate.

Is informal mediation confidential?

Yes, with two exceptions. Mediators must report allegations of discrimination and potential threats of harm to self or others.

About how long does a mediation session last?

A typical mediation session is 1-3 hours, depending on how complicated the issue is.

Where do the mediation sessions take place?

Most mediation sessions with take place in the University Services Building, where the main campus HR offices are located, or in a conference room at UAHS. If preferred, you can request a different location and HR can try to accommodate the request.

Do I need to bring anything to informal mediation?

No. You are not required to bring anything to mediation. The mediator will provide paper and pens for you to takes notes, but will ask that you turn the notes in to the mediator at the end of the session to help maintain confidentiality.

What will happen when I arrive for the mediation session?

First, the mediators will explain the process and ground rules for the session. Then, each participant will have the opportunity to express his or her perspective uninterrupted. The mediators will summarize what they hear to make sure they fully understand and ask clarifying questions. Next, the mediators will facilitate a conversation to identify each participant’s needs and interests. The mediators will then help the participants brainstorm possible solutions that will meet the participants’ needs and interests. If the participants agree on solutions, the mediators will summarize the agreements on a template form and provide a copy to each participant.

What are some examples of situations that employees might talk about during informal mediation?

  • Two faculty members are not on speaking terms because one faculty member believes the other faculty member said something disrespectful about her. Their lack of communication is impacting their ability to accomplish committee work and is creating tension in the rest of their department.
  • A newer employee has ideas about how to make the office more efficient. He has tried to raise his ideas with his supervisor, but his supervisor is extremely busy and tends to cut him off before he can explain. The employee has enjoyed working at the University, but does not feel valued and is seriously thinking about finding another job.

What happens if we can’t agree to anything during the mediation session?

If you and the other participant(s) aren’t able to come to any agreements during the mediation session, that’s OK. Our hope is that you’ll still find it beneficial to express your perspective and better understand the perspective of your colleague(s).

Are there situations that are not eligible for informal mediation?

Yes. Informal mediation will not be available in certain situations, at the discretion of HR, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Workplace Violence
  • Discrimination Complaints
  • Involuntary Terminations
  • Compensation
  • Promotion and Tenure
  • Active lawsuits or complaints against the University.
  • Complaints filed with the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (CAFT) or under UHAP 6.02 or the Staff Dispute Resolution Procedure.

What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

An arbitrator is similar to a judge. During arbitration, the arbitrator listens to testimony and reviews exhibits before making a decision about the case. During mediation, it is always up to the participants to decide if they want to commit to any agreements. The mediator never decides who is right or wrong or what the participants should do.

Who can I contact for more information?

Please contact the "Point of View" Program Manager at (520) 626-0850 or pointofview@email.arizona.edu.


Don't see your question? Ask it here.