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Workplace arguments happen; they are often an unavoidable byproduct of an even marginally social workplace. How employment disputes are handled is very important to workplace morale, efficiency, and even the reputation of the workplace. Creating good programs for employment dispute resolution is a part of nearly every successful venture. Following some basic tips for employment dispute resolution can help get a program to improve workplace relationships and communication off the ground.
Creating a clear chain of command for employment dispute resolution can help keep individual issues at the right level of management. An argument about a failure to order more paper clips, for instance, is probably much farther down the chain of command than an allegation that of wrongful termination. Some experts suggest that employees need to know that, while every effort should be made to work out a dispute between the primary parties first, the next person on the employment dispute resolution chain of command is both ready and willing to listen should direct resolution fail.
Employment dispute resolution usually involves a conflict that a subordinate employee has with a management-level employee. This may be over terms of employment, such as agreements on overtime pay or maximum hours worked. It may also include issues of wrongful termination, sexual or physical harassment, and disagreements over family leave. Most experts agree that it is to the benefit of the employer to resolve these disputes quickly and fairly, rather than deal with court cases down the line.
If the employee in question is open to negotiation, it can save all involved a lot of trouble. Negotiation can be difficult for all involved; long-time coworkers can find themselves on opposite sides of a battlefield, each trying to get things out of the other. When negotiating with employees, do not agree to anything illegal simply to get them to end the issue. On the other hand, employers and employees should take into consideration what a court case would cost and factor that into their bargaining position. Both sides should keep in mind that negotiation is often the easiest of all possible types of employment dispute resolution and do their utmost to work out a mutually acceptable deal.
One tactic used for employment dispute resolution is mediation. This is a type of alternative dispute resolution sometimes employed in legal cases, but that can also be done on an informal basis with all parties consent. In mediation, a neutral third party fosters communication between the principle parties in the hopes of reaching an equitable solution. The neutrality of the mediator is critical; if an employee feels that a company is seeking mediation with an ally, he or she may simply decide to go to court and ask for damages for negotiating in bad faith.
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