How to act in harassment situations
3. Processing harassment cases in organisations
3.5. Discussion between the parties
A discussion between the parties may, in a best-case scenario, help with the resolution the situation and increase the parties’ understanding of each other’s perspectives. However, such a discussion should not be arranged if the person arranging it is not a competent mediator. In addition to this, discussions and mediations are not suitable for all harassment situations. For instance, long-term bullying requires strong expertise to deal with the situation, while organisations cannot get into investigating suspected criminal activity.
You can use this outline as support:
- Prepare for the discussion:
- Ensure that the meeting is held in a quiet place and that you have reserved enough time for processing the matter.
- Ensure that both parties know about the common rules of the discussion in advance and are ready to commit to them.
- The discussion is confidential. It is not discussed with external parties.
- The goal is to help the parties understand each other better and to support them with finding solutions. The discussion is not meant for continuing the conflict.
- The mediator does not provide ready-made solutions or hand out sanctions to either party. Their role in the discussion is that of an impartial facilitator.
- Participation is voluntary, and the discussion may be cut short if the parties so wish.
- The mediator hands out turns to speak. The other party should not be interrupted. All discussion must be civil.
- If needed, both parties may bring one support person with them. However, it is important to clearly define the support person’s role. They may be present but may not participate in the discussion or comment on it.
- What happened?
- How did it feel? What did you think of what happened?
- Who have been affected by what happened and how?
- What would be a good solution to the situation?