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Investigating Employee Conflicts: The Basics

Companies face risk when employee conflicts arise so prompt investigations are critical.

Posted by Timothy Dimoff on June 5th, 2015

Employee conflict can happen in any business, large or small. It can range from a disagreement over a work project, to a more serious conflict between employees due to work or personal issues.

All employee conflict must be taken seriously and dealt with immediately. When management learns of any workplace conflict, an investigation is warranted in order to learn the details and the issues that preceded the conflict and caused it. It is also important to learn if management knew about the issues before the conflict and what steps were taken in the past to resolve the issues. Begin this investigation immediately upon learning or the conflict.

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Getting Started

When investigating an employee conflict, first you must learn the basic information related to the situation, including:

  • names and positions of each employee involved in the conflict
  • location of the events
  • what caused the events
  • when they happened
  • any other relevant information

Be sure to always document any information, facts, videos, etc. that you garner in your investigation.

Talk to Everyone

Before taking any additional actions, see if you can help resolve the issues and conflicts
Interview all parties concerned, as well as any witnesses. Determine if any company policies were violated and if company policy procedures were followed. Do this by asking pertinent questions of all parties involved and all witnesses. Again, be sure to document everything! You may need this later for law enforcement or legal actions.

Before taking any additional actions, see if you can help resolve the issues and conflicts. Talk with each party concerned and ask them what it would take to resolve the issues, including what actions they can take to resolve the issues.

Assess Security Risks

Also be aware of any threats or possible damage to your premises or to other employees. If the conflict escalated into a physical fight, there could be serious damage or bodily harm done.

Don’t ignore the possibility of retaliation by one or more of the parties involved. You must resolve the conflict in order to prevent further problems.

Timothy Dimoff
Timothy Dimoff

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues.
He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University.

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