Got a complaint about a co-worker?
Three things to be aware of;
Most job descriptions don’t state that ‘you can choose who you want to work with’. If you don’t want to work with someone the employer is not obliged to move you or them, or change working arrangements to accommodate your preferences. When you are engaged by an employer they expect that you come to them with a level of skill at working with a range of diverse people who may have different personalities, self-expressions, beliefs and value systems, language, education and cultural backgrounds. If you don’t like someone at work, it doesn’t automatically follow that you have a valid complaint that the employer will entertain, investigate or intervene in. It must be serious enough to warrant their intervention otherwise it could become a performance matter. Furthermore, constant complaining about person you don’t like might give rise to a complaint against you. If you are considering raising a formal complaint against a co-worker there are three things that you need to be aware of;
- 1. Raising a complaint about someone at work may attract a process that you didn’t intend to invoke or will have any control of.
- 2. Raising a complaint may draw attention to your capacity and skills (or lack thereof) to deal with low level conflict (where the incidents you complain about don’t breach any internal or external policies or regulations).
- 3. Further if the complaints are frivolous or vexatious it may expose you to the risk of attracting a counter complaint.
- Raising a complaint may permanently impact your relationship with the person that you are complaining about and damage your and their career opportunities. Just because you have put your version of events to your employer does not mean that the employer will automatically agree with your version. Other staff may be interviewed. This process can be stressful on all parties involved and may still result in you having to work directly with each other. Try using informal options, such as workplace mediations, to resolve any concerns in the workplace (unless the behaviour complained about would constitute misconduct or serious misconduct which should be reported immediately) prior to escalating the complaint and/or invoking formal interventions. Talk to us to find out how we can support you conduct a workplace mediation or facilitated discussion. Written by Principal Evolve Workplaces – Anna Faoagali