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How do I handle employee conflicts in my business?

As a Pennsylvania employer, planning for what could happen in the future is always a good idea to protect your business. One such plan you need is how to handle employment disputes. Situations can vary, so your approach should be based on the situation at hand. For example, if the conflict is between two employees, it should be handled differently than conflict between you and an employee. In addition, harassment or discrimination issues should be handled differently than other employment disputes.

In most non-discrimination and harassment conflicts, according to the Balance, you should approach employee conflict in a neutral way. You do not want to come across as favoring one person over another. Make it clear you are not going to allow yelling or fighting during the mediation process. You should encourage both people to explain their side of the issue. Encourage them to calmly discuss what happened and what they would like to do to resolve it.

If the matter involves harassment or discrimination you need to follow your handbook guidelines, this includes making reporting and investigation as confidential as possible and ensuring there is no retaliation against a reporting or cooperating employee.  If you don't have a handbook policy you should follow government guidelines and consult an attorney.

A legal representative or someone from human resources should sit in on the meeting. Somone who would best understand the policies and other regulations that may come into play and be able to provide valuable input.

You should never avoid or ignore a conflict in your workplace. It is disruptive to everyone. Even if only two people are actively involved in the situation, others will still take notice and it could affect productivity in the whole company. Always address the situation as soon as you become aware of it. 

The attorneys at Kisner Law Firm can review and revise handbook policies to help prevent employee conflicts, as well as providing advice when such conflicts do arise.

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Kisner Law Firm, LLC
Gulf Tower
707 Grant St., Suite 2646
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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Phone: 412-208-4263
Fax: 412-235-6704

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