Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

14 February 2022



You are a 45-year-old female mediator with a background in human resources and are about to be appointed to mediate a dispute that has broken out within a leading London based PR/Marketing firm with offices in Leeds, Belfast and New York. Facts will emerge as the mediation proceeds but this much is known as you accept the appointment.

The Company is prominent, successful and on a growth curve. Harry is 34 and works in the new business development department. He is popular, good at his work, likes the company and sees a long-term future. He is happily married to a headteacher at a Putney based Primary School. They have two children. He is in dispute with the Human Resources director – Olivia.

Olivia has been with the firm since the early days. She is also aged 45 and has presided over a growth in the number of employees from 25 to 360. There are plans for the Company to go public. Olivia has been in a long relationship with Angela. They are a couple and have exchanged marriage vows. They have two children – both adopted from the same local authority. They have wanted a third child. Their relationship has run into difficulties. Angela is a Programme Controller with a leading TV station.

Harry has confided to his wife that Olivia has made compromising suggestions to him which he has resisted. He feels his refusal to respond positively explains why – after a good start within the company – his career has stalled and promotion opportunities have passed him by. He could leave and look elsewhere but he feels blameless and wants to stay.

The dispute has become known to the CEO. He recognises the potentially inflammatory nature of the dispute and the damage that would be done to the Company’s progress if the problem became a public issue with media looking for salacious gossip – just as the Company commences promotion of its ‘Going Public’ initiative.

An initial step is to clarify the source of your appointment. Who are the parties? – Harry and Olivia or Harry and the Company? You decide to inform the three parties that you will meet with each of them – but separately.




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