Why should I become a corporate secretary?

Does that sound familiar to you?

Ms. Mitschek is the secretary of the managing director, Mr. Kramer, in a small, medium-sized company. One day she finds out on her monthly pay slip that her salary has been reduced by € 200. After consultation with the financial administration, which is carried out by the wife of the managing director, it is said that the latter has instructed her to save this amount again. It had been paid to her for a year and a half, but not as a salary increase, but as a reward for taking over the financial accounting. Now she, Ms. Kramer, is there for that and the work no longer has to be done by Ms. Mitschek. This also meant that the reason for the above-standard payment was no longer applicable and the reduction in the salary by around € 200 was justified. Ms. Mitschek is so upset about this event that her daily work suffers greatly from it.

At the suggestion of the HR department, which becomes aware of the discrepancies between him and his secretary through the complaints of the manager, a mediation takes place between the two. In the first discussion it turns out that the reduction of the 200, - € is only the tip of the iceberg. Ms. Mitschek has felt overwhelmed by her boss's orders for a long time. Only shortly before closing time did he hand over 60-page paperwork to be done "still today", or orders that had to go out yesterday. Mr. Kramer, on the other hand, complains about Ms. Mitschek's unwillingness to work overtime when it's urgent, her inability to use the computer and the inadequate formulation of many a job.

The further course of the mediation shows that Ms. Mitschek does not refuse to work overtime. However, this must be plannable for her, as she often looks after her two-year-old granddaughter after work when her daughter is working. But she wouldn't mind doing the work before actually starting work. She admits that she has difficulties using the computer. However, she would very much like to attend further training courses, which, however, has not been possible so far. She did the formulation of the orders to the best of her knowledge and belief, but most of the time she lacked the technical knowledge, which Mr. Kramer could not seriously expect from her. Thereupon Mr. Kramer admits that his time management has not been the best so far and that he will try to improve here. With the option of starting work earlier - which is of course remunerated separately - the bottlenecks could certainly be overcome. The time for the computer course will be agreed upon with the other secretaries in the house. And as far as the formulation of the assignments was concerned, it had only just become clear to him that he had passed a task on to Ms. Mitschek that actually did not actually fall within her area of ​​responsibility. He had entrusted this to an employee who was repeatedly unable to do so and wanted to make up for this deficiency through Ms. Mitschek. But that is of course the wrong way - rather, he must finally seek a conversation with the employee.

As a result, it was agreed that the controversial salary increase should remain in place for the time being, but will be offset against the collectively agreed salary increase in the following years.

When is mediation applicable in the world of work?

Many different types of conflicts are conceivable in the world of work. Comparisons have shown that mediation can be used sensibly in all areas.

At iindividual legal disputes,the include all conflicts between employer (trainer) and employee (trainee), these are:

- Conflicts about theEstablishment of an employment / apprenticeship relationship:The employer's right to information and information, the employee's right to refuse to ask questions

- conflictsin the existing employment / apprenticeship relationship:Conflicts about the employee's behavior or performance:

* Unreported incapacity for work

* Unauthorized vacation extensions

* Unexcused late arrival

* Warnings

* Pay and classification disputes

* Lawsuits for overtime pay

* Conflicts related to the introduction of group work and restructuring

- Conflicts about thecompletionof an employment / apprenticeship relationship: protection against dismissal; Publication of working papers; Certificate formulations.

- conflictsafter dissolutionan employment / apprenticeship relationship.

Disputes between workers: discrimination,mobbing: Various attacks on the personal rights of employees, e.g. racist attacks, cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.

- Conflicts between groups and departments.

Collective law disputes:

- Conflicts betweenEmployer and works councile.g. about the material resources of the works council, questions about the assumption of costs for works council work, involvement of the works council (in particular conflicts over procedures for the approval of personnel measures, the drafting of works agreements on the basis of § 87 BetrVG and finally the establishment of arbitration boards. )

- disputes betweenWorks council and employees:Dissatisfaction of individual employees with the work of the works council elected by them

- disputes betweenWorks council members:Disputes between the works council and the union, e.g. when concluding deteriorating works agreements and uncoupling the company from the collective agreement

- disputes betweenEmployers' associations and unions, e.g. in case of collective bargaining disputes

When does mediation help?

In the case of conflicts that are related to personal incompatibilities, mediation is more effective in the initial phase than after it has escalated. This is especially true in cases that are perceived as bullying. Once a certain intensity level has been exceeded, the end is often already mapped out: the victim's exclusion from their work environment or even from their entire working life.

Why should I choose mediation as an employer or employee?



Labor court negotiation
(Section 54 ArbGG)


In-house mediation can be set in motion quickly and can quickly lead to a result.

From the filing of a lawsuit to the oral compromise negotiation is a in big citiesPeriod of up to 6 monthselapsed during which the employee is usually no longer employed in the company.


It offers confidentiality.

The labor court process ispublic: In certain matters (e.g. in cases of sexual harassment in the workplace) the public is a disadvantage for both sides that should not be underestimated.


The entire "operation" system can be taken into account in mediations. Others who are not directly involved are also involved. Superiors / employers get an early insight into disrupted cooperation.

Negotiations of goodness only ever refer to individuals. The conflict is isolated and viewed at the end of its escalation.

Conflict adequacy of the solution

Practical and "unusual" solutions can be found (e.g. an apology from the employer).

A quality procedure, like the subsequent disputed procedure, is based exclusively onClaimsraised by the plaintiff. These are legal claims with aspecific, established legal consequence.

As a result, all those involved in the quality negotiation also rely on legal norms. The actual conflict of interest is no longer disclosed and usually remains unprocessed.

Due to the complexity and confusion of labor law, also due to the strongly judicial interpretation, this arises for both sidesgreat uncertainty about the outcomeof litigation.

No formalism

Those affected are given the opportunity to express their complaint quickly and informally.

There is the usual judicial form requirement.


The procedure is cheaper.


Professional conflict management

Mediation processes are led by a trained mediator and take place in a neutral area in a pleasant atmosphere.

So far, judges at labor courts have hardly been trained in negotiation, non-violent communication or the use of mediative elements.

The mercy trial takes place in the courtroom with its intimidating interior design. The judge wears a robe. The seating arrangement corresponds to that of a disputed negotiation.


Each proceeding is given the time that the parties need to resolve their conflict.

The goodwill negotiation is underTime pressurecarried out. On average, around 10 issues are terminated in a quality appointment.


Bernd M. Wittschier, Conflicted and sewn up, Gabler-Verlag 1998

Christina Lenz / Andreas Müller, Business mediation, settlement without court, mi-Verlag 2000