What To Do Following A Workplace Dispute

Picture Credit: Waiting Outside Relief Station, Urbana, Ohio, Shahn, Ben, 1938

Although workplace conflicts can often be avoided through correct managerial practices (as mentioned in previous blogs) they are not always preventable, so it is fundamental an employer has the resources and skills to quickly resolve such a situation.

A dispute can take many forms, whether it be a conflict between two employees or a grievance with the manager. Regardless of the circumstances, however, workplace disputes can impact a businesses’ productivity and possibly, its reputation.

But if the situation is dealt with at an early stage, it can save the company time and money and stop the situation developing into a full-blown dispute.

Below, we’ve listed how an employer, manager or team leader should effectively handle a workplace dispute:

Determine the seriousness of the dispute

All workplace disputes are serious and should be dealt with accordingly and with the utmost integrity. When an employee raises a dispute, it is important to determine whether it should be dealt with in an informal or formal manner.

This will help identify whether or not a complaint or concern warrants a formal or full-scale investigation, or whether the issues can instead be addressed through less formal, mediated discussions between those involved.

An employer should then make sure they are aware of the company’s policies and procedures on dealing with such circumstances, reminding the involved parties that there can be no victimisation during, or as a result of, an investigation process.

Begin investigation

Once the investigation begins, employers must ensure they follow through on company compliance and internal procedures.

Managers should be aware and up to date on what policies and procedures are in place and how they should comply with them throughout the investigation to avoid any potential legal traps, such as not properly scoping the problem.

Therefore, it’s important companies have clear policies already in place, including a plan on how to respond to any complaints that arise from a workplace dispute.

Identify the core of the problem

Investigating the facts and understanding in detail the matter of concern, will allow the employer/manager to get a clearer picture of the involved parties’ views.

They should always pay close attention to the timeline of events and interview all relevant witnesses, while taking note of the facts, to ensure they have all the information required when it comes to settling the dispute.

Settling the dispute

Hopefully, by this point an employer will have enough evidence from the investigation to make their decision on whether the accused should be disciplined and, if so, which discipline is the most appropriate considering the circumstances.

Driving towards the goal of reconciling the parties involved and getting them working together again in an environment of respect and open communication should be the key focus.

Overall, if employers address workplace disputes promptly and consistently, it will reduce the risk of costly tribunal claims and prevent such situations from arising again.

If you have any concerns about a workplace dispute and how it might affect you, members of staff or the business as whole, please do get in touch with us via email at [email protected] or call 01386 751740.