Person of trust and mediation service

Aurélie de Francesco, person of trust and mediator © Alain Herzog 2022 EPFL

Aurélie de Francesco, person of trust and mediator © Alain Herzog 2022 EPFL

The person of trusted and mediation service is part of EPFL’s desire to protect the health of its community members. EPFL has a zero tolerance policy for all inappropriate and harassing behaviors that take place within the institution.

For whom?

The service is intended for people who experience personal (stress, burnout, demotivation, anxiety, isolation, fear, etc.) or relational difficulties (communication problems, lack of understanding, tensions, conflicts, moral harassment or mobbing, sexual harassment, discrimination, threat, violence, etc.) at EPFL.

The mission of the person of trust designated by EPFL is to provide confidential support to EPFL staff employees (including PhD candidates) and students seeking advice and, if necessary, to take measures at their request.


The person of trust is a professional in the management of work and legal issues, experienced in the academic context. She is therefore familiar with the different situations you may encounter (conflicts, harassment, etc.). She uses different tools to do so: systemic and strategic analysis, mediation and coaching methods, among others.

She has the full support of the EPFL Direction to handle cases independently and confidentially.


The Person of Trust will be able to support you in a practical, effective and realistic way.

She intervenes:

  • in response to a direct request by any EPFL employee or student
  • in strict confidence, being subject to professional secrecy
  • independently and outside line management as she is external to EPFL


The person of trust is at your disposal to:

  • listen to you and let you express your concerns
  • analyze possible means of action with you and their possible consequences in your situation (also informing you of other services provided by EPFL)
  • encourage you to actively defend yourself and set limits
  • help you understand the reasons behind the situation you are confronted to
  • inform you about available legal remedies, their terms and possible repercussions (without performing an in-depth legal analysis though)
  • determine with you the best solution to your situation
  • process any request for intervention, especially if you feel that you are being disrespected, confronted with a latent, manifest or incipient conflict, or a victim of injustice or inappropriate behavior, discrimination, mobbing or harassment
  • contribute to improving relationships within the EPFL community

The person of trust may also offer mediation to the parties. Mediation is a voluntary and joint process requiring the express consent of all parties involved.

Mediation is a process to create and repair interpersonal ties and to resolve conflicts, in which an impartial, neutral and independent third party helps the parties involved to improve their relationship or resolve a disagreement or conflict.

The mediator intervenes in strict confidence.

Mediation may be carried out by the person of trust if the parties so desire or by another mediator of their choice.

The mediator may be commissioned directly by a party, by Human Resources, by a manager or by any other person concerned by the problem.

Mediation process

The mediator and the parties initially conclude a mediation agreement setting out the objectives of and rules governing the mediation, including the obligation to keep the mediation process strictly confidential.

The mediator then guides the parties in their exchanges, hearing the parties first individually, and then together.

The mediator may, subject to the prior express agreement of the parties, obtain any relevant information to understand the situation and/or hear any person involved. The mediator may even suggest extending the mediation to other parties if necessary.

Successful mediation ends with a mediation agreement. The mediator keeps this agreement confidential and provides the person who has appointed him/her only with the information which the parties have agreed to disclose, if any.

If mediation fails, the mediator meets with the parties individually to review the circumstances and direct them to the competent persons and/or departments. The mediator naturally remains entirely neutral and impartial throughout these discussions.

Conflicts management

Beyond mediation, the Person of Trust can also offer you alternative conflicts management solutions.

Not only does the person of trust support employees and students in dealing with the issues they are facing at EPFL, but she also contributes to creating a better work and study environment and studying for them.

She supports the Direction of EPFL in its global prevention and conflicts management strategy.

In that respect, she informs the Direction of EPFL about her activity and identified trends of issues in her annual activity report (while always respecting full confidentiality and anonymity of cases and people).

That permits the Direction of EPFL to be informed of existing issues and remediate accordingly.


Aurélie de Francesco

Person of trust, SBA mediator and conflict resolution specialist, accredited by the Swiss Chamber of Commercial Mediation, lawyer, member of the Commission of Mediation of the Vaud Bar Association.

Available upon appointment. The Person of trust will adapt her timetible according to your needs.

E-mail [email protected]

Tel. 079 248 14 10

EPFL Office CM 1642

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