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How an employment dispute is handled greatly depends on the issue and whether a person has a complaint or is addressing the complaint. Individuals who feel that they have been wronged should, in most cases, submit their complaints through the proper chain of command. People in supervisory or management roles should act on their responsibility to address complaints in accordance with company policies and the law.
An employment dispute can arise at any stage of a professional relationship. If the problem develops during the hiring stage, a person should be very careful about her approach if she plans to take a position with the company. For example, an applicant may be told that she will be offered a position with a certain salary and benefits. The actual written offer that she receives may have terms that are less favorable. If she still wishes to work with the company, it is best for her to employ professional negotiation skills.
It is also best in this instance, and in most instances, for a person to attempt to address her issue with the individual with whom she has the problem. It is not always necessary to involve other people. Sometimes a problem can be solved where it began. If it is necessary to involve other individuals, it is important to follow the chain of command. It can reflect poorly on the person with the problem and her immediate supervisors if complaints are lodged at the highest level without following the proper channels.
In some instances, an employment dispute may be a legal matter, such as in the case of discrimination. There are often government authorities and processes designed to handle such matters. Even in these cases, it is usually best to inform the employer of the issue before contacting the authorities. This gives the employer a fair warning that a problem exists and that someone wants it addressed. Here again, the employment dispute may be the result of the actions of one individual and may be able to be handled internally to the satisfaction of the complainant.
When it is necessary to get authorities involved, there are often strict procedures to follow. A person filing an official complaint should be sure to acquaint herself with the process first so that he can ensure that he handles the matter properly. It may even be wise to speak with an attorney if the matter is complex or has the possibility to lead to a lawsuit.
An individual who is presented with an employment dispute that needs to be addressed should do so with the utmost professionalism. First and foremost, this means that the problem should not be ignored or covered up. If there are company policies regarding the issue, these should be respected and the proper steps should be taken to resolve the problem.
If the employment dispute has legal implications, it may be best to speak with the company’s legal advisor before taking any action. In any case, a person with an obligation to address a problem should never consider defying the law or a written policy to protect her employer or any employee within the organization. To show that she has taken the proper steps, it is always best for her to maintain detailed records.