Fracas Dust Up Punches and Workplace Mediation - Marcia Mediation

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Work is work.

Basic Human Emotions  are










Others don’t make the “basic “ . They include





An emotion can be defined as

“a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort”.


In an ideal world emotions have no place in the work-place. Unless and until robots replace humans in the workplace forward thinking employers will recognise that emotions will arise in the workplace and will have systems in place to deal with them


It appears that the Jeremy Clarkson “fracas” in which it is alleged a punch was landed in the direction of an un-expecting producer happened at a hotel restaurant, late at night, when no one had eaten and everyone is tired and hungry after a full day’s filming. Sound familiar?

What emotions will surface when the lethal combination of fatigue and hunger are combined? This is not hard to answer.

There may or may not have been the consumption of alcohol. It is not uncommon to have a relaxing drink after a day’s work. But combine that with the combustible mix, well the inevitable combustion would have just occurred sooner rather than later and may have been more powerful. By all accounts this one was not that bad.


Of course, these “dust ups” (another name for a “fracas”, apparently) will often happen outside work, for example at the Christmas party and smart employers will have strict codes of conduct and guidance and indeed inhibitors for such occurrences. Smart employers will know when emotions are likely to run high and will have coping systems in place.


Marcia Mediation advises business owners to have written policies in place identifying where heightened emotions are likely and putting safeguards in place to control them. If your employees are likely to be tired and hungry, feed them. If they are likely to drink too much, control the drink. When things become volatile, separate the individuals and provide some breathing space.

And when words are said that should not have been said, or when punches have been landed that should not have been landed it may be too late. Particularly if the incident was between senior staff and was witnessed by those more junior. If that was not the case, mediate the dispute. Mediation allows the individuals to reflect, feedback, look at it from the other perspective and reconnect with common goals, for example in the case of Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC, the continued success of Top Gear , profitable for those that make it, enjoyed by millions across the globe who watch it.

And move forward.

Michael Lister

[email protected]