A significant driver in the creation of workplace stress and psychological injuries arises through interpersonal conflict between employees when issues are not successfully resolved at an early stage. At times this will result in individuals moving fairly quickly to formal grievance procedures with claims of unacceptable behaviour. Whilst these provisions are indeed there for aggrieved employees to utilise, it is more often the case that if sufficient work and determination to resolve difficult issues was engaged in earlier in the process, a great deal of pain and suffering could have been avoided for all parties concerned.
Wherever possible, an early resolution of difficulties and conflict between staff is to be preferred by using a structured and systematic approach to managing the conflict. In the first instance the goal needs to be for the conflicting parties to attempt to address the issues themselves. If unresolved then support from another colleague, a Health and Safety Representative (HSR), a Union representative or an Equity Advisor can be obtained that may assist in resolving the issues. Should this not be successful then support and assistance from Human Resources (HR) could be obtained to assist with a degree of mediation and even independent mediation should that be deemed preferable. At all times through the process, staff are able to access the services of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider to talk things over with and to look at strategies that may be useful to bring about an early resolution of the conflict.
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715