Three Ways to Handle Employee Disputes

The United States is a fast-growing country. It has numerous workers, amounting to over 152 million people, and these workers work in different industries and have different roles. Even with the vast number of people in the workforce, employee disputes are bound to happen. These disputes can be over work hours, job duties, pay, or other things.

When an employee dispute happens, it’s essential to handle it correctly. After all, if the issue isn’t resolved properly, it could lead to more problems down the road. Not to mention, it could damage your company’s reputation. So the first thing you need to know is why these disputes happen. Here are some of them.

Improper Treatment

Improper treatment of employees occasionally happens in the workplace, especially for more prominent companies. It’s hard to have eyes everywhere, and some of your managers might mistreat employees. It’s also likely that you might be doing it without knowing about it.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal organization that’s responsible for investigating complaints about discrimination in the workplace. According to them, there were over 90,000 charges of discrimination in 2018. Out of those charges, race discrimination was the most common.

This improper treatment could be verbal or physical abuse. It could also happen if an employee isn’t given the proper resources to do their job or if they’re not being compensated fairly. In addition, improper treatment usually leads to low morale and high turnover rates.

Interpersonal Conflict

Interpersonal conflict is bound to happen in any workplace. After all, people have different personalities, and not everyone will get along. This type of conflict usually happens between co-workers but could also occur between employees and their managers.

This conflict could be over something small, like someone taking too long in the break room or not doing their fair share of work. Or, it could be over something more significant, like someone being promoted over another person.

Either way, it’s essential to take care of these disputes quickly. If you don’t, they’ll only worsen and could lead to violence.

An employee being harassed by employer

Unfortunately, harassment still happens in many workplaces today. It could be sexual harassment, racial harassment, or any other type of harassment. According to a report by the EEOC, there were over 12,000 charges of workplace harassment in 2018. Out of those charges, sexual harassment was the most common.

This type of harassment usually happens when there’s a power imbalance. For example, a manager might harass an employee because they have the power to fire them. Or, an older employee might harass a younger one because they think they can get away with it.

Either way, it’s essential to take these claims seriously. Not only is it illegal, but it could also lead to a hostile work environment.

Unfair Labor Practices

Unfair labor practices are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). These practices usually happen when employers try to prevent employees from organizing or joining unions. However, they can also occur when employers interfere with employees’ rights protected under the NLRA.

Some examples of unfair labor practices include:

  • Interfering with employees’ rights to form a union
  • Discriminating against employees who are part of a union
  • Firing employees who engage in protected activities

You could be fined or even jailed if you’re caught engaging in any of these practices.

Now that you know the main reasons for employee disputes, it’s time to understand how to handle them. Your first option is mediation.


If your employee has problems with your company or another employee, it might be better to seek mediation. A proper judicial arbitration mediation service can help resolve the dispute without going to court.

This type of mediation is confidential and usually less expensive and faster than going to court. It’s also an excellent option to keep the dispute out of the public eye.

Talking With The Employee

Some employee v. employee problems can be dealt with by talking with the employee. However, you must speak to them in private, so they don’t feel like they’re being attacked. You should also avoid using any accusatory language.

Instead, try to find out what happened from their perspective. Once you know all the facts, you can decide on a fair resolution for both parties.


If the problem is more serious, you might need to conduct an investigation. For example, it’s usually the case for workplace harassment claims. You should have a written policy outlining how to achieve these investigations.

The investigation should be fair and objective. You should also talk to all parties involved and any witnesses. Once the investigation is complete, you can take the appropriate disciplinary action.

This might include firing the offender or giving them a warning. It all depends on the severity of the offense and your company’s policies.

Final Thoughts

Employee disputes are unfortunately common in the workplace. However, there are ways to handle them effectively. Following the options above can resolve the dispute quickly and efficiently.

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