What’s a manager to do when faced with conflicting accounts of an argument between employees? An important part of that answer is to resolve the conflict quickly, before it spreads like a cancer through your organization.
That’s what happened after an argument erupted between two top managers in Hillsborough County, Florida’s Fleet Department. It began with a dispute over usage of a fleet car and blew up in a series of conflicts resulting in one manager’s firing and a federal sexual discrimination case.
HR investigated the incidents, but the issue came down to two conflicting stories. The department put the male manager involved on suspension and later asked him to apologize. When he refused, the county fired him. Then he filed an EEOC suit alleging an “extremely hostile work environment” in which female managers are “constantly disciplining males.”
Advice: It helps to set civility rules in the workplace that apply to everyone, male and female, management and line employees. You may even consider bringing in experts to train everyone in . There’s a right way to resolve conflict and a wrong way. Teach the right way, and punish those who insist on bullying.
- Develop, implement and publicize policies that encourage employees to report harassment
- Make sure bosses tell employees how to report harassment
- Divided court may mean trouble for employers
- Are we on the hook for seasonal employees' unemployment compensation claims?
- When investigating sexual harassment, consider all the evidence--including nonsexual threats