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Personality Clashes

What can be done if employees just cannot get on?

Given that many employees spend most of their time with their colleagues, close friendships and long lasting relationships can be formed, which can be a real boost for morale in the workplace. Unsurprisingly however, the same set of circumstances can give rise to personality clashes.

Personality Clashes

There are countless occasions when an employee, who performs perfectly well at their day-to-day job, just does not get along with one or two of their colleagues.

Whilst most of the time, this does not become a wider issues that impacts on the employment relationship.  What can be done in circumstances where an employee’s personality clashes with everyone else?

If an employee finds themselves working with someone that they personally find abrasive, or difficult, for whatever reason, the first step is to essentially follow the steps set out in their employer’s Grievance Policy. This normally starts off with an informal discussion with the colleague in question to try and resolve the issues. If not resolved via an informal process, then an employee may wish to raise a formal grievance.

Where a complaint or grievance is raised that relates to a clash of personalities, like with any grievance, it should be taken seriously. The matter may well be something that could be resolved fairly easily, if they are dealt with at an early stage.

The steps that an employer can take include to try and resolve a dispute or clash between employees:

  • Arranging a (formal or informal) workplace mediation to try and resolve the issues
  • Moving one of the employees to a different team, department, or even a different bank of desks so that their contact is limited, but taking care that it does not appear to be ‘punishment’. Moving employees can itself be fraught with difficulties.
  • Changing one or both of the employee’s work patterns so that they do not have to work together.

If the personality clash or dispute cannot be easily resolved, it may well amount to a fair reason for bringing employment to a conclusion.  Employers will need to establish that they followed a fair procedure and that they acted reasonably by treating the conduct as a reason for dismissal (such as “some other substantial reason” or “misconduct”).

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