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A guide to manage disputes.

Published September 15, 2015 Author: servian

No two workplaces are the same. Employers manage teams that are brought together, perhaps not by choice, and sometimes disputes between colleagues can arise.

So, what can employers do when there is an employee dispute?

Put a stop to it

If employee’s are disrupting the everyday productivity of the workplace, this needs to stop. Employers need to be wary, toxic employees can be contagious. Stress spreads stress and this can be detrimental to the culture of the workplace. Employers need to be conscious and keep an eye out for disputes whether they are big or small.

Find the facts

Employers need to fact find. What was the dispute in relation to? Was it to do with workload or a particular work project? Getting to the bottom of the dispute can highlight immediately what needs to change in order to please both parties and resolve the situation.

Conduct meetings

It is important to provide equal opportunity to each person or persons involved,  and provide opportunity for them to explain their view. Ensure that you invite each party to a meeting where they have an opportunity to recount the situation. Most people would rather avoid a tricky conversation if they can, but this unwillingness to tackle issues head-on can leave them with potentially negative consequences. A stand-out employee will confront a difficult situation with tact and timeliness, rather than run from such a challenge.

The benefits of initiating a difficult conversation can be huge. While bringing up tough situation with a colleague or manager can be awkward, you can take action to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.


Request a mediation meeting. Mediation is a strong tool to ensure that the correct steps are taken to find a positive outcome. Compromising and learning the reasons behind each person’s views really help to clear the air between the employee’s and help mend the relationship. Poor relations between employee’s can fester, with the potential to have a detrimental impact on the business, as well as the physical and mental welfare of all employees.

Staying solutions-focused, respectful and open to alternative perspectives will not only help you resolve problems and deliver results but also make a positive impression with your manager. Visit Michael Page for more tips on navigating office politics in the modern workplace.


Ask any witnesses to come forward. If the dispute involved significant wrong doing, or if the dispute involved a breach in the employment contract or business policy, this is serious and could result in summery dismissal (immediate). Witnesses can help to add to the details of the dispute and, if required, build a case to support the dismissal. See our guide on dismissal and termination for more information.

Incident report

Document every detail. Employers need to fill out an incident report for any wrong doings. By putting the specifics of the dispute in writing, employers can support their actions and submit this as evidence if the need arises. In addition, should a dispute happen again or if the dispute is legally escalated, the employer will have supporting evidence to draw back on.

In order to manage disputes in the workplace, every employer should show their commitment to policies and procedures in each and every incident. By doing so an employer can ensure their team dedicates themselves to meeting the expectations of the business. If you are an employer and would like to implement such policies and procedures to help avoid workplace disputes, call Employsure today on 1300 651 415.

Employsure can also assist employers who are struggling with existing employee disputes. If you require expert advice to get through any employment dispute, we are ready to take your call.

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