A neutral discussion of her situation helps a stressed manager find a viable alternative to an industrial tribunal
Robert Angel was working as a change consultant for a company when he discovered that a senior manager on long-term sick leave was considering taking her employer to an industrial tribunal.
"She believed the way she had been treated by colleagues had caused and then exacerbated her stress-based illness," he says.
"Matters had reached a complete stand-off, not helped by the fact that the company had not followed its own procedures. She wasn't willing to negotiate with HR, who she felt were being aggressive and partial.
"However, she desperately wanted her job back, and also compensation for pay that had been docked. She was in a bad way, an emotional wreck really, and very bitter.
"I proposed bringing in a mediator, and we had several meetings to discuss how to find a managed, part-time 'return to work' scenario. This was difficult, because relationships had broken down with her team.
"Having an outside person who was a very good listener was critical. The mediator was able to suggest ways of investigating outside work opportunities that, because they came from someone independent, she was willing to try.
"I persuaded the company to pay her salary while she worked part-time with a not-for-profit organisation. Eventually she recovered sufficiently to apply for a full-time job elsewhere.
"Without mediation, she would have gone to tribunal, and the stress would have been horrendous for her. It would have been bad for the company too, if it had lost the case under the Disability Discrimination Act."
Names and some details of the mediation have been changed