Every workplace operates with important ethics and values that employees always have to live by. It is always important to remember that your coworkers also have their perceptions on a range of topics and also have different patterns in carrying out work-related tasks. So do well to respect their choices because there’s a need to be professional and avoid problems that can range from petty verbal brawls which are easily forgotten to serious long-term disputes. Let us know ‘When a coworker filed a complaint against me?’.
In a situation where an issue escalates and a coworker decides to file a complaint against you to the management, you have to do well to be calm and follow due process. The complaint might be a false accusation or a formal grievance against you which could be over something relatively minor.
When a coworker filed a complaint against you?
In a workplace, a grievance is a formal complaint statement or accusation that some of the company values and policies are being violated. Whenever a coworker files a complaint or grievance against you to the management, either a true or false accusation. The management must offer you the choice to continue in the grievance process. When it begins, try to resist the urge to lash out against your coworker. Although you would be angry about the situation, losing your temper will only heat things. There are possible reasons why a co-worker can file a complaint against you like:
- When you have done something wrong that creates an unsafe and unhealthy working environment.
- When you make a remark which might be offensive about a coworker’s gender, age, religion, ethnicity, or disability.
- When you may have revealed your pay and benefits that could stir up jealousy or anger in a coworker.
- A situation where you are a dominating type and have behaviors that seem threatening like a loud voice, and a weird glare.
- When you and a coworker don’t get along they see most decisions that you make as retaliatory.
- When you have been accused of stealing a coworker’s property or the company’s time or assets.
- When you have exhibited certain types of attitudes and utterances in other languages that were seen as deceptive or passive-aggressive
What to do when a coworker files a complaint against you?
It is very important how you handle yourself in a situation like this because you would always come across your accuser at work so try as much as possible to avoid any unwanted contact but be a good team player and try to assist in the investigation of the complaint. You are being professional when:
- You think about your coworker’s point of view on the issue.
- You don’t get defensive at any point unless you are told to.
- You receive feedback and you also repeat it to show you’re listening and understanding.
- You ask questions to further understand the issue when necessary.
- You carefully come up with ideas using the feedback to come up with solutions.
What to do when you are being investigated for the complaint?
Whether you are guilty or not, it is scary having to be investigated by your employer. Knowing what to expect and how you handle being investigated is important because Labor laws require a company to conduct an investigation when there is a complaint. Some general guidelines that could help you are:
- When you avoid a meeting in a situation like this, it only puts you in a bad light and would be considered insubordination. If you would need to cancel or postpone, you must have a valid reason then reach out to the parties involved and propose a different time
- Pay close attention to what is being said about you making sure nothing is false, and try to understand what you are accused of.
- To help you plan your next steps in the investigation, get a professional legal advisor to salvage your reputation.
- When the details of the complaint have been revealed to you, do not try to get back at your coworker in any way possible.
- Build your defence case by involving witnesses, and their testimonies, and documenting the order of events so that when you share your part of the story you can also offer proof.
- At all times, conduct yourself in a dignified manner and be professional.
How to deal with management during an investigation?
You will get to meet with the management during the early process of the investigation so do well to inform your supervisor because if a coworker files a complaint against you, then you should be given the same rights as they were given so you can have time to share your part of the story, respond to all allegations against you, and to also have equal fairness during the investigation. Take note of these guidelines.
- The management should inform you about the complaint filed against you and should give you every detail of the complaint or a copy of the grievance letter. You can also be given the details in parts that relate to you if the complaint is general. Don’t forget to ask for a copy if it is not provided
- Be sure to collect every piece of evidence available at your disposal. This could be letters, memos, emails, notes from a telephone conversation, or interviews. This will aid you in producing a list of events as they have occurred
- Talk to a legal advisor and prepare your defense on the allegation filed against you and submit this as soon as the investigation begins.
- At some point, the management would try to settle this amicably or mediate when possible so use the best means possible to settle the grievance.
- If the complaint moves to the formal stage of the investigation procedure, you are now invited to a meeting with the investigation team and you will not have the legal right to be escorted.
- The management will give you the audience to respond to the complaint filed against you and permit you to file your version of events while fully setting out your defense.
- You will be informed of the proceedings and steps used to solve the complaint.
When a coworker filed a false complaint against you?
This can be tricky because if it turns out that a coworker had filed a false complaint, raised malicious allegations against you or your employer has discriminated against you or treated you unfairly then you have grounds to file a complaint against them for false allegations.
Although most companies’ policies on grievances do not reveal complaints in detail to the accused but will conduct an official investigation to collect and record necessary information from other coworkers to ensure that the case is properly handled. Although you would be very sad about being accused, try as much as possible to be professional during the investigation process and support the management in any way you can so that the process can be seamless.
- How do i react when a coworker files a complaint against me?
No matter what the complaint filed against you may be, you must remain professional because your initial reaction matters. So do not make excuses, do not get defensive, and ask questions when necessary to further understand the situation. Accept feedback and think of how to come up with a solution.
- Why would a coworker file a complaint against me?
It is normal for coworkers not to get along but when a complaint is filed against you then certain behaviours such as threats of bodily harm, sexual harassment, cyberbullying, and offensive remarks regarding a coworker’s age, race, or religion.