Case Study – Workplace 1

Party 1 - Robin

Robin is the deputy manager of a busy office with ten members of staff, John his manager had been in place for three years when the department only initally had three members of staff. There has been a lot to learn and in the last twelve months the department has grown from three to ten. Robin has just appointed a deputy as he is under pressure from his boss to 'deliver'. He has had a 'run in' with Sarah over her time keeping and has now noticed that she spends a lot of time gossiping with Jane and her work is not up to scratch.

Party 2 - Sarah

Sarah has worked for the company since she left school with a spell off to have her children. She had always enjoyed her job and she and Robin had always got on well working alongside each other, she has now seen Robin promoted to deputy manager.

She admitted that she had been late the last couple of mornings but she had worked late to make it up but there was no need for Robin to fly off at her and now everything she did seemed to be wrong.


The mediators saw Robin and Sarah separately to establish what was going on from their perspective.

Robin felt that Sarah did not respect him and was always trying to undermine him in front of other staff. He felt that her time keeping set a bad example and every time he came into the office she was nattering with Jane. Robin was not happy with the standard of Sarah's work which had deteriorated recently and he was having to double check what she had done. In some ways he felt intimidated by Sarah who had been there as long as he had and did know the job well but seemed to delight in showing him up. He had spoken to HR about perhaps moving Sarah and they had suggested mediation. He felt that Sarah was souring the office and he wanted to have a happy working environment for every one.

Sarah was fed up with work and was considering leaving. Robin seemed to be always on at her she had never had any problems with him before he was promoted. She had been doing this job since she left school and knew it like the back of her hand. She might have been late a couple of mornings but her daughter had just moved back home having split up with her boyfriend and was suffering from depression. Sarah was desperately trying to get her daughter (Jenny) to go to work and pull herself together, however, her rallying of Jenny had made her late for work. She was finding it difficult to cope with Jenny's depression and did not want people at work to know that Jenny was depressed. She had confided in Jane whose husband had suffered in the past with depression.

The mediators established what could be shared with each party and brought them together for a face to face. After setting the scene they empowered each side to explain to the other what they wanted and why they thought their relationship had broken down. They both accepted that they could have dealt with the situation differently and that there was actually quite a lot of mutual respect for each other. They ironed out their issues and drew up an agreement on how they would manage in the future.