What is the Mediation Program?
The New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights (NHCHR) provides a
voluntary mediation program to assist parties in reaching a satisfactory
mutual resolution to a complaint. It is an informal way of settling
disputes without going to court. In mediation, both parties sit down
face-to-face with a trained mediator. No judge is present. The mediator
helps you arrive at a solution.
Why would I want to mediate?
- Mediation Works. Mediation is a successful alternative in many human rights complaints. You can create a solution respectful of both parties.
- Mediation is Quicker. Working with a trained professional mediator is often less stressful. Though you may still have a lawyer, your dispute can often be settled in much less time, with no court costs.
- Mediation is Confidential. Mediation can preserve your privacy: there is no investigation prior to the mediation. The session is held in strict confidence.
- Mediation Agreements are Binding. The resolution, if accepted by both parties, is binding, just as a court judgment is.
How does the program work?
When a complaint is filed, both parties are notified of the mediation
option. If both sides agree and the claim is suitable for mediation, you
are referred to a mediator. You are asked to prepare a detailed
questionnaire and to sign an agreement to mediate. You may include any
other documentation you feel is necessary. Notice of the conference date
is sent to both parties with a fact sheet advising the parties of the
remedies available under relevant laws.
What disputes are often mediated?
Most suits can be resolved where the parties agree in good faith to
mediate and are not trying to establish right and wrong. Additional
factors which favor a successful mediation are:
- The parties are interested in a quick resolution and minimization of cost;
- The law on the issue is well-settled;
- The position of both parties have some merit.
Do I need to prepare to mediate?
Yes, preparation is important. Both parties need to be prepared to tell
what happened from their perspective and to identify the solutions they
seek. You should review the material sent regarding the legal remedies
for discrimination. You may want to seek legal advice to clarify issues.
The mediator will not advise as to any legal or tax issues.
What if mediation fails?
If you are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution, you may withdraw at
any time. Your complaint will be assigned for investigation or returned
to the investigator previously working on it. The mediator will have no
further involvement. Information conveyed during the mediation will be
unavailable to the investigators. There will be no penalty or advantage
from having used mediation.
How do I notify the commission I want to mediate?
Call the investigator assigned to the case, or the assistant director.
Ground Rules for a mediation conference...
At the mediation conference, both parties must agree to a basic set of ground rules including:
- Both parties have equal opportunity to share concerns and issues.
- An experienced, trained mediator will ask questions to gain clarification.
- Parties maintain mutual respect.
- The process is confidential.
- The conference is not for discovery, note taking is limited.
- The conference is not a forum for arguing the merits of the case.
- You may bring an advisor or representative.
Why does mediation work?
- Parties create their own agreement.
- Neither party is blamed.
- Each party negotiates the changes necessary to resolve the conflict.
- Facts, feelings and interests are communicated with the help of a trained, neutral mediator.