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Workplace Dispute

Summary: A breakdown in a personal relationship & a lack of communication resulted in this workplace dispute.

Not all workplace disputes are employer-employee related. This one revolved around the personal relationship of two employees and their lack of communication.

Miss Q and Mr C worked for a large multi-million pound employer. They also happened to be emotionally involved with each other and had been living together for the previous three years. The relationship broke down and Mr C moved out of their joint home. Some weeks later, Miss Q drove into the company car park and found that someone had parked in such a way that she was unable to park in her allotted space. She found the driver still in the car park and remonstrated with the driver concerned causing quite a commotion and drawing a lot of attention. Onto the scene walked the head of security – Miss Q’s ex-boyfriend – who tried to calm the situation down.

As a result of Mr C’s intervention, Miss Q claimed that Mr C manhandled her and caused her emotional distress and severe embarrassment in front of other people. Miss Q complained to the personnel department who asked me to intervene.

It transpired that Mr Q had been offered a job several miles away with a different employer and not knowing how to break the news to Miss Q, he decided to end their relationship. Miss Q, for her part, was also under pressure feeling that younger members of her team were snapping at her heels. Miss Q felt vulnerable in her position at work.

While the personnel department was reluctant to become directly involved with personal issues of this nature, they were concerned that the open antagonism exerted by Miss Q in particular should not find its way into the workplace per se.

As a result of the mediation, Miss Q and Mr C were able to air the issues in a non-contentious atmosphere. While it was accepted that the relationship had irretrievably broken down, they could at least remain friends albeit from a distance.