What can you do if conflict is making your workplace a misery?

Posted on: 16th January, 2014

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

Longer hours and new roles are taking their toll on the Irish workforce, but coupled with constantly changing technology and job insecurity, many people are reaching breaking point. People are often made to feel they should be grateful to have a job, however, it is hard to appreciate having work if you’re involved in a conflict in your workplace.

If you are caught up in a dispute with a colleague or management, you are not alone.  All of the Government bodies dealing with work related issues have seen a huge increase in complaints over recent years. In these difficult times, when everyone is under greater pressure, minor issues can escalate into serious and damaging disputes if not resolved.

We spend an average of around 57 per cent of our lives at work so it’s important for our mental health and overall well-being that it’s a positive place to be. The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland has found that workplaces, which have good communications, respectful relations and healthy systems of work tend to get the best results in achieving a healthy and productive workforce. Whilst conflict can be an unavoidable and normal element of life, conflict that becomes destructive is one of the biggest avoidable costs in the workplace.

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees in the workplace. Under section 8 of the Act your employer is required to’prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk’.  Similarly, employees have a duty not to engage in improper behaviour, which would endanger the health, safety and welfare of themselves or the other employees. Employers should also have written grievance and disciplinary procedures which outline how issues will be dealt with when they arise. Whatever approach is used to handle workplace disputes, it needs to allow the people involved to resolve the issue and plan how they will engage in the future. (To find out more about employment rights visit www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment).

One of the options to address conflicts in the workplace is through mediation, which offers new possibilities by promoting understanding, building cohesion and focusing on the future rather than the past. No longer seen as an ‘alternative’ dispute resolution, mediation has become the preferred process for addressing conflict in successful organisations. Legislation due to be introduced in early 2014 will see many disputes diverted from the courts as the Government encourages and promotes the use of mediation.

So, what is mediation? Mediation is a voluntary process of conflict prevention and resolution that allows the parties an opportunity to address their issues in a confidential, private, and safe environment. Mediators are trained in conflict resolution skills and techniques and have the expertise needed to give people the best possible opportunity to resolve their disputes. Mediation is generally a much speedier process than more formal disciplinary or grievance procedures and can often be completed within a matter of days. Mediation provides an opportunity for more creative and innovative approaches to solving issues, that can lead to a solution which meets the needs of all those involved. Where an agreement is reached, this is kept confidential unless those involved choose otherwise, and it may be legally enforced.

If a mediation does not result in an agreement, the contents of the discussion remains confidential, and the those involved may take up, or return to, any alternative grievance procedure they choose, without the mediation affecting that procedure in any way. So it is a very low risk option.

There are many approaches to addressing workplace disputes and mediation can be requested by anyone concerned even if it is not given as an option in an employer’s existing procedures. Most importantly employees need to know they can take action before difficulties escalate, and find ways to secure a positive working environment.

Harriet Emerson and Rachel O’Sullivan are Certified Mediators at adjust. For more information call 087 650 8664, e-mail: info@adjust.ie or visit www.adjust.ie.

Latest News Articles:

Christmas on the beat
Clonakilty town aims to get snowed under with the return of the Clonakilty Christmas Express
On call for Christmas
Have your say in shaping the future of Clonakilty
Dursey Island project passes first phase in Failte Ireland’s Grant Scheme
Minister Ring visits superb rural initiatives in West Cork
West Cork farms celebrated at Milk Awards
Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence

Join us on Facebook

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
... See MoreSee Less

15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

TRADING THROUGH BREXIT - BREXIT BRIEFING SERIES LAUNCHED
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Simon Coveney T.D. is hosting a number of Brexit Breakfast Briefings in Cork in the coming weeks. The first in the series takes place on Monday, 4 December at the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 7:30am until 9am. Business owners, retailers and those involved in tourism in the region are invited to attend the free briefing, which will see Minister Coveney providing an update on Brexit negotiations, his insights and also practical ways to begin preparing for Brexit.

The Brexit Breakfast information events are free of charge and all are welcome to attend, however registration is required by emailing simon.coveney@oir.ie or call 021 4374200
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Keep an eye out for Croíúil Trad group
from Rosscarbery and the Munster Champions U-12 Ceili Band from Bandon, both performing on next weekend's The Late Late Toy Show, airing on Friday, December 1 on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Meet Santa and his elves, penguins and polar bears at Leapland, which returns to Leap Village on December 2. A magical experience for little ones who can visit from Mon-Fri 5pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 12pm-8pm. Call 087 7427016 for enquiries. ... See MoreSee Less

21st November, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top