Acas chairman Rita Donaghy has called upon employers and employees to work together and resolve workplace disputes as early as possible.
Speaking at the Dispute Resolution and Workplace Mediation Summit, held in London earlier this week, she urged employers to seek ways of dealing with issues as they arise rather than waiting until they impact on the working environment.
Donaghy said: “With any relationship breakdown if the individuals stop talking, it often takes intervention from a third party to get communication back on track.
“Most people don’t like conflict which is why a mediator can help individuals focus on where things have gone wrong and possible ways of moving forward.
“It makes good business sense to have good working relationships. Disputes and disagreements at work are costly in time and money.”
Disputes lead to low morale and absence, and if unresolved to tribunal. In 2005/06 there were 109,712 applications to employment tribunals.