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New year, new job - resolving workplace conflict

View profile for Shay Winstanley
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With 2024 right around the corner, employees and employers alike may be looking to leave ongoing workplace issues in 2023 or address any issues that have been ongoing but left unattended throughout the year. This guide sets out top tips for how to deal with workplace conflict and different ways of resolving ongoing disputes.


It is always advised that employees and employers should attempt to resolve conflicts informally in the first instance, but this is not always possible. The grievance process allows employees to raise their complaints or concerns formally and an employer is then obligated to deal with the matter as such.

Every employer should have a grievance procedure that allows an employee to raise their concerns. Where a written policy is not available, an employer should follow the ACAS Code of Practice for grievance procedures. An employee will be expected set out their complaints in writing and the employer should look to discuss this further with the employee in a meeting before going away to investigate the concerns raised. The employer should then produce a written outcome letter confirming whether they uphold or reject the points raised by the employee in the grievance.

If an employee is still unhappy with the outcome, they should be entitled to appeal the decision, which would include setting out their reasons for appeal in writing and a similar process taking place by way of a meeting to discuss this further, consideration and investigation of the appeal and a written outcome confirming the decision.

How solicitors can assist through this process

Where an employee has exhausted the grievance procedure and feels that they have still not received a satisfactory resolution, they may feel that they have no other option but to resign from their position. This could give rise to a claim for a constructive unfair dismissal, amongst other claims such as discrimination and whistleblowing depending on the circumstances.

In order to make a claim for constructive unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal, an employee must take the step to resign from their position and cite the reasons why. This can often leave employees facing financial loss.

However, solicitors can often assist with matters before it becomes necessary to resign from employment. We can also assist whilst employees are in employment but feel like they have no option but to leave the role. In these circumstances, we can make attempts to approach the employer to negotiate a settlement agreement. Settlement agreements are legally binding documents in which an employee may receive payment of compensation, notice pay, and holidays accrued to date in return for an exit from their employment and signing up to contractual terms such as confidentiality and a waiver of employment rights.

Achieving a settlement agreement can mean obtaining compensation without the time and stress involved in pursuing a matter to employment tribunal. It also means that employees do not need leap into financial difficulty when resigning without new employment on the horizon. Instead they can leave employment with financial coverage to allow them to find a new role without financial pressures.

This can often be a mutually beneficial agreement as an employer would benefit from the resolution of a conflict without the need to incur further costs in defending a potential claim in the employment tribunal.

If you feel that you need further advice, guidance, or assistance in resolving a workplace conflict or a negotiation of an exit from your current employment. Please do contact our employment law specialists for a further discussion on 01616 966 229.