Mediator's Diary: Impartiality

From the notes of a mediator in a time of pandemic.

Any coincidences with people's events are accidental, the case is compiled by several different ones.

She felt anger and resentment flood her as she read what was written. She could not believe that in such a reputable company, in the 21st century, one could think in such a misogynistic way. As a mother of two who parted ways with her well-paid job because her employer explained that she was no longer wanted in his company because she had to stay home with the children while they studied online, Jeanne was particularly sensitive. She read the lawyer's message again - she still couldn't believe he had written it.

"This client is in a special condition and her hormones have obviously messed with her brain. Colleagues visited her three times to pick up the appliance, but she returned them each time. She acted like crazy. We can't deal with this woman, she must transport the fridge by herself. "

She wondered how to continue this mediation, as one side embodied exactly those men she hated since she was fired from her job, to put it bluntly, because she is a woman and it was up to her to continue her life and family. To leave a mother with two children and a man who is in the process of looking for a job, without a living, in this pandemic and economic crisis! “Nasty man! Probably the same one is opposite in the online chat, on the part of the merchant. Why can’t I work online, as in all normal companies. No, I, have to come to the office, because it is safe. The employees are tested regularly, as an office manager, I have to be there every day. 20 young girls are waiting for my position and the boss cannot keep a person who is not personally present there. But what are my options when all students are home-school? Life is unfair to women and that's it!”-she was thinking reflecting on the unpleasant conversation she had with her boss.

After the first wave of anger and indignation, she realized that she was not the client, but the mediator and should not allow herself to side or impersonate with in any of the parties, and should not judge the personalities of the participants in the procedure, and respect the principle of IMPARTIALITY. She collected her composure and wrote to the lawyer:

"Thank you for being actively involved in this procedure. This is very important for the process. I am sorry that your colleagues have wasted their time, their schedule is probably busy and such visits are extremely unwanted and disrupt the rhythm of service. I will discuss the situation with your client and write again.

Jeanne wrote to the complainant: “Hello again. The trader claims that his colleagues came to you several times to get the refrigerator, but you did not let them into the house. This is why they insist that you arrange the transport of the damaged appliance back. What do you propose to do to get out of this situation with its return?

She didn’t not close the complaint screen, leaving it open in case any of the parties wrote something and went to see why one of the children couldn’t enter zoom. When she returned to the computer, she saw the answer of the complainant.

"I apologized for bringing them back. Without prior notice, they came at noon. That's when I usual breastfeed, and I was home alone, and there's no one to open the door for them. My husband has been in Burgas for a whole week, on a business trip. There was no way to cancel it, because we live on his earnings only. There was no way I could open with naked breast. And I had to give them plastic shoe covers, a mask, a disinfectant. I have a baby, not everyone can just get into this pandemic. I asked them several times to call me at least 30 minutes earlier, but they didn't get it. I explained to them that I was breastfeeding at that time. There is no way to drive the refrigerator by myself or arrange transport. I'm alone, as I explained, and I need a refrigerator because I have to store milk somewhere.

Jeanne immediately explained to the lawyer that there had been several requests from her to agree in advance upon the date and the hour of visit.

The next day she saw the message from him:

"I did not know that she had asked them to agree on an exact time, due to her specific commitments there. They told me that they had explained to her that they would come at noon, but they could not specify the time because they had other addresses and could not be sure exactly how long they would be with her. I asked the customer service manager to call her in person and specify when it would be convenient for her and he has already done so. Tomorrow we will take the refrigerator from her at 09:30 so that she can do her women's work on schedule. We will inspect it and if there is a factory defect, we will replace it with a new one. I hope this finally satisfies her. "

She swallowed nervously, but this time she wasn't as angry as the day before. The lawyer obviously has no way to know that breastfeeding is not a woman's whim, but the need of a little child who cannot survive without this act, and that the only person who can do it is the mother, and no one asks her if she wants to, or she desires a career, to solve business cases, not to sit at home to explain math problems, or to breastfeed every 3 hours a day.

The next day Jeanne read what the client wrote. "Thank you for your cooperation. We agreed in advance with a very kind gentleman. Their people came, took the fridge by 5 o'clock and returned a new one, which is already working.

Jeanne asked her if she would buy from the same company again. The lady answered immediately, yes, because she already knew that even if there was a problem, the company would eventually take care of a dispute and get the job done.

With the next message, the mediator thanked the lawyer for the cooperation and the job well done. In response, she sensed that he was flattered, but somehow a "thank you" and a postscript had come off the keys on his keyboard, that he hoped to work with her again next time, because only she understood the internal dynamics and processes, especially in disputes with customers who did not know what they wanted.

Jeanne marked the case as successfully completed. She sensed that she, too, was flattered by his words. But what's wrong with her, did the lockdown twisted her somehow? She promised not to allow herself to be so emotional in mediation. She started searching in Google about the meaning of the word synecdoche. Her eldest daughter was in 7th grade and would have a end-of-year-trial-exam. She wanted to make a tea, but saw that a second consumer complaint had been filed at the NAIS online mediation center. It’s necessary to react quickly to put out the fire of discontent among the parties. Tea and synecdoche would wait. She had first confirm that she agreed to conduct the mediation procedure.

Author: Online Mediator

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Published on 20.04.2021 Back to news