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Workplace disputes provide fertile ground for intense emotional conflict. While the #MeToo movement has focused attention on workplace harassment and the psychological impact of sexual misconduct, many other types of workplace disputes generate emotional turmoil. Discrimination and termination claims, allegations of pay disparity and even claims of unpaid wages often are impacted by strong emotions.

When employees and employers turn to a mediator to help resolve their legal disputes, they bring not only evidence and arguments, but emotional reactions that are definitely not “one size fits all.” Workplace conflict that leads to anxiety and depression in one employee may promote anger and outrage in another. Nor are individuals identically resilient. The same experience that engenders a long-term traumatic reaction within one individual may give rise to only mild discomfort within another. Co-workers or supervisors accused of misconduct will also have intense, but not identical, reactions. Deciding whether or how to address varied emotions that stand in the way of resolution often is a key to a successful mediation.

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