Workplace – Employee – Supervisor Disputes

Employee vs. Supervisor Complaints


Many large organisations have formal dispute resolution procedures and internal mechanisms for dealing with these kinds of complaints between supervisors and subordinates.

Unfortunately smaller businesses generally don’t have formal processes.  And smaller workforces often mean disputes move from “local” to affecting the whole workforce as team members may feel forced to “take sides”, causing even further disruption.

In some instances the complaint is in response to the initiation of a performance management process.  Likewise the response to a complaint may be that a Supervisor /Manager lodges a counter complaint against the employee for perceived non-performance.

How are complaints handled?

HR Departments would be the first point of call.  However, depending on the severity of complaint, and seniority difference of one of the parties, the other may perceive a lack of fairness and impartiality in the process.

External Investigation

Appointing an external investigator often brings its own set of problems.

While attempting to be perceived as fair/impartial, the investigation can be lengthy and disruptive to all concerned with loss of morale and an attendant lack of productivity.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Working cooperatively with all the parties, TasDisputesCentre can help resolve the dispute by:

  • Working with any relevant organisational policies to identify the most appropriate and cost effective process for your organisational situation.
  • Providing an impartial facilitator to assist parties identify issues of concern. (All TasDisputesCentre Mediators are bound by mediator standards which ensure impartiality)
  • Assisting management identify and address underlying issues around the initial complaint.
  • Assist parties to be clear about both expressed and unexpressed concerns.
  • Clarifying for all parties what the options are in relation to the issues.
  • Assisting the parties reach agreement on the best available solution/s.
  • Providing assistance to management and teams on effective communication strategies
  • Provide assistance to management on identifying how and why the issues arose initially.
  • Assisting the business with strategies to deal with future conflict/complaints.
  • Saving time in dealing with the issue.