Workplace Disputes

Cortree Specializes in Disability Dispute Resolution

There are a number of different reasons that you might find yourself in the middle of a workplace dispute. However, these challenges can be even more frustrating for people with disabilities, facing barriers that coworkers may not even be aware of.

People with disabilities are often a minority in the workplace. This can add a layer of complexity to dispute resolution. You may be striving to be seen as a peer or an equal, and at the same time balancing when and how to disclose an accommodation need.   

Without the proper knowledge and understanding, small miscommunications can become bigger problems, with a negative impact on team dynamics and your own performance. In these types of scenarios, mediation can help to find common ground with your coworkers, and reach a place where everyone accepts the end results.

When you require mediation for workplace disputes involving people with disabilities, Cortree is here to help.

A young white female in a yellow shirt, in a wheelchair, stares off to the left in a modern workplace.

What are Some Common Workplace Disputes People with Disabilities Must Face?

One common workplace dispute people with disabilities often face revolves around use of language and behaviour that demonstrates a lack of awareness and understanding of the lived experience of disability. 

A lack of education or understanding of unconscious bias and ableism could be at the root of this type of problem. Ensuring disability is part of your diversity, equity and inclusion strategy is an important proactive step in avoiding workplace disputes around language and behaviour.

Another common issue is  workplace disputes around reasonable accommodation. Some coworkers may see accommodations as “special treatment” rather than workplace adjustments put in place in order to help the employee succeed at the job they were hired to do. Companies who want to be successful in hiring and retaining employees with disabilities need to look at the structure and culture of an organization through a disability lens. The built environment and tools are important in accommodations, but these are likely not going to succeed if management practices aren’t taken into consideration. Training for managers is key to success for both the employer and the employee.

Why Should I Use Mediation?


The reality is that sometimes we just don’t see eye-to-eye with other people, but we still have to work with them. Unresolved workplace disputes can become toxic. If you and the other people involved in the disagreement can’t reach resolution, it may be time to consider mediation.


Mediators don’t take sides, offer legal advice or lay blame in workplace disputes. We act as a neutral  third party to help everyone understand the situation and develop an agreement together.


Through confidential discussions and a non-judgmental atmosphere, each person involved in the dispute has the opportunity to share their feelings without fear of repercussion.


In many cases, hearing both sides of a disagreement in a calm environment is the best first step towards reaching a resolution.

African American male and young red-headed female having an argument in a creative workplace.

How Will the Mediation Process Work?

We use a three stage-confidential mediation process. First, each party has the chance first to meet separately with the mediator to explain their own view of the conflict, their concerns and needs.

This gives each person the opportunity to share their perspective, without the other being present. For people with disabilities, discussing workplace disputes separately may give them the chance to decide how to articulate their issues more clearly. This way, when they do sit down together, it’s easier to share their feelings.

Once the mediator has done this, all parties will arrange a time to sit down together (virtually) and discuss the issue. They’ll each be given the chance to share their thoughts in turn, while the other sits and listens respectfully.

After each person has had a chance to share their side of the disagreement, the mediator will begin to facilitate honest discussions. The goal is always for the people involved in the workplace dispute to find common ground and create their own solutions.

Some Potential Resolutions to Workplace Disputes

Sometimes, all that’s required to start finding common ground in a workplace dispute is access to training that will help facilitate a better understanding of the barriers facing people with disabilities.

No matter what the dispute, the goal is always to find common ground where everyone involved can live with the end result. Typically, this means reaching a compromise in some form. Mediation isn’t about trying to force anyone in the workplace dispute to concede, but rather for them to reach the conclusion on their own that changing their perspective is best for everyone involved.

Woman speaking on video call with diverse colleagues conducting an online briefing

Why Choose Cortree?

We’re Experts in Facilitating Resolutions for Disputes Around Disabilities 

Our team of expert mediators have a unique range of skills, because of our experience with people in the disability community.

We have a history of helping to provide people with disabilities resolutions for disputes in their workplaces. These give us the practical experience we need to be able to facilitate healthy discussion in tense situations, as well as guide people towards solutions based on education, respect and civil discussion.

If you’ve got a disability, and you’re experiencing a workplace dispute, let us help you. Reach out and tell us a little bit about the situation. We can offer educational resources that might be able to help, as well as mediation and coaching services if you believe your dispute could benefit from a mediator.