Crucial Facts About Workplace Conflict


Facts We All Need to Know

The modern workplace is a complex arena to navigate. No decision can be made – or defended – based simply on “experience” or “intuition” to “the way it has always been done”. All managers and union representatives need to be aware of the ever changing legal landscape regarding workplace harassment, safety and human rights. What makes this difficult is that all too often, these complex legal requirements do not appear, on their face, to be reconcilable. For example how does one accommodate an individual’s specific disability in a manner that ensures workplace safety? Managers must know how to make decisions that effectively meet these competing legal obligations.

Workplace Decisions Will be Scrutinized

Every decision (including negotiated agreements between unions and management) has the potential to be scrutinized on two fronts: first, is the decision consistent, in substance, with current laws and legislation; and second, has the decision been made and communicated in a manner that is equally consistent with legal requirements? Decisions that are incorrect in substance (that is, they are “wrong”!) – or decisions implemented and communicated in a disrespectful manner – may expose the overall organization to significant liability.

In order to respond effectively to the legal expectations of the modern workplace, management and supervisors must know how to make, implement and communicate decisions in an accurate and respectful manner. Simply put – following a fair and proper decision-making process will lead to evidence-based and legally defensible decisions. This will go a long way in reducing informal workplace conflict and formal grievances, increasing overall morale and boosting productivity.


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