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  • Ed

Employment, wolves and training in mediation

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) which was only incepted to mediate financial complaints in November this year has seen 310 complaints per day (an increased in 47% from it’s three predecessor schemes) which deals with bank and insurer complaints.

Chief Ombudsman David Locke and CEO said "We want to make sure that members of the public know where to go for help when they have a financial complaint they can’t resolve directly with their financial firm…Systemic issues are identified in a complaint or several complaints, and have an effect on people beyond the parties to a complaint. Because of this, we take our responsibility to identify and investigate systemic issues very seriously. Financial firms should be in no doubt that we will be referring and reporting these to the appropriate regulator”

Thanks to reading my children Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness I have a distinct love of the grey wolf, but I’ve yet to find one involved in one of my mediations.

Not so for Francine Madden wildlife mediator. The return of the American gray wolf to Washington state and its positive impact on the flora and forna of the state was welcomed by naturalists just over ten years ago. The return of the wold was disliked in equal measure by the cattle farmers whose concern for their live stock is readily understandable.

Madden’s skills identified where there was a crossover of interest and after 200 days and thousands of hours on the phone she was able to get the conservationists and ranchers to agree that non-lethal methods would be used by the ranchers and only when the wolves were preying on livestock (as opposed to being merely in the area).

Over (down?) in Maine the attorney general is looking to recruit more volunteers for consumer mediations.

Training will allow the volunteer mediators to deal with landlord and tenant as well as sale of goods and dodgy repair work.

Meanwhile at the other end of the personal mediation spectrum Jenna Oakley who was 15 when the crimes she is charged with were committed is having her case sent to mediation.

She is charged with being complicit in murder of her step mother Rhonda Oakley and theft of a vehicle.

Jessica Buck, Oakley’s public defender has set out that the case is planned for mediation between the prosecuting attorney Richie Bottoms “… [County Circuit Court Judge Darren Peckler] was in agreement to allow us to use the courtroom and adjacent rooms for the mediation and we have secured a mediator.”

Oakley is being tried as an adult despite being a minor at the time of the offence. No further details are available about the mediation but it’s more evidence of the serious issues that can be dealt with appropriately by mediation.

Singer, songwriter Ciara Princess Harris who has a 4 year old son (Future Junior) with her ex, Future (Nayvadius DeMum Wilburn) has asked the court to force mediation in respect of contact arrangements as the travel involved for Future Junior is tiring the poor child out.

The travel involved is cross country flights to contact sessions which (according to papers filed by Ciara) have failed to proceed on nearly 50% of the time.

Whilst money may buy you many things it clearly doesn’t ease the tensions in family life. Ciara’s complaint that the absent parent cancels things at last minute or fails to turn up seems horribly familiar to those cases I work on.

In other musical mediation news the US Boston Symphony Orchestra is heading to mediation with flutist Elizabeth Rowe who is arguing for equal pay with principal oboe player John Ferrillo. Rowe has said of the test case “Money is the one thing that we can look to measure people’s value in an organization…You look at the number of women that graduate from conservatories and then you look at the number of women in the top leadership positions in orchestras, and it’s not 50-50 still. Women need to see equality, and they need to see fairness in order to believe that that’s possible.”

Obviously if the case settles by mediation is won’t set a precedent for those wishing to rely upon Massachusetts’s new anti-discrimination laws but that it is the choice of those taking part and shouldn’t necessarily influence Rowe’s decision on whether to settle her claim through mediation.

In other employment mediation news former executive director of Community Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County, Liz O’Dell, has now settled her case against CMH.

O’Dell alleged breach of contract and interference with her whistle blower rights and damage to her career when she was dismissed by CMH for allegedly asking lawyers to draft papers without the board’s approval.

Following a mediation she has settled her case for just over $200,000 representing one year’s wage and her legal costs.

And finally this week, Air New Zealand is continuing its efforts to resolve by mediation the dispute it has with employees who are members of the Aviation and Marine Engineers Association (AMEA) and E Tū.

Strikes are expected to occur over the Christmas period if no resolution is achieved.

There are so many cases which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter (which isn’t bound to the CIC) in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighborhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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