Employment law advice in Wimbledon, South West London, Epsom and Surrey
Workplace disputes and employee issues
Unfortunately, if you are an employer, workplace disputes and issues with employees are unavoidable. We spend a significant amount of time with our co-workers and inevitably there will be disagreements, about how tasks are carried out and delivered, and other issues.
While your business may strive for a dispute-zero workplace (by providing your employees with high-level training, for example) it is important to have a plan in place for when such problems do arise. This can vary from an informal conversation to the process of a formal procedure.
It is important to try to spot potential areas of dispute as early as possible – an informal conversation can halt a potentially greater issue arising later down the line. If, for example, an employee is regularly late to the office, it may be best to endeavour to get to the root of the issue, and perhaps a flexible working solution might solve this. As well as avoiding matters escalating, it can help to foster a better working environment.
What are your policies?
Sometimes matters cannot be dealt informally, and that is when a company should be able to rely on their policies and procedures. In order for these to be effective, a company should ensure that they are kept up-to-date. There is no one size fits all answer as to how often these policies should be reviewed – it will depend for example on whether there have been significant changes in the size of the company or in the law.
However, we would recommend an annual review of your Staff Handbook. If there have been no significant changes since the last review was carried out, then it is likely to be short and cost-effective process, ensuring your business is up-to-date with the most recent guidance and legislation.
Here are some commonly asked questions we receive about workplace disputes and employee issues:
There are many different ways to deal with issues when they arise. A response should be tailored to the specific issue or dispute and our expert team can help to assess how to start dealing with such a problem.
Currently, an employer must deal with requests from workers that have have been employed for 26 weeks or more, in a reasonable manner. You should assess the advantages and disadvantages of the request, hold a meeting with an employee and offer them a chance to appeal should they not be satisfied with the outcome.
There are updates to the law that will come into force on 6 April 2024 that will mean that all employees can make a flexible working application from their first day of employment with a company.
If, for example, an employee goes through a disciplinary process, then they should be told that they can appeal a decision once it is made and informed how long they have to do this.
If at all possible, an appeal process should be led by someone who was not part of the initial decision.