Preventing Employment Disputes from Getting Out of Hand


We’ve all had complaints with our employers from time to time. But sometimes a simple employee frustration can boil over into a serious legal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). From discrimination allegations to complaints about hour and wage claims, unresolved employment disputes can cause serious legal and financial trouble for your business.

If you need assistance with business litigation for a dispute or wrongful termination claim, our San Diego business litigation lawyers are here to provide you with more than 65 years of legal experience and skilled counsel. However, one of the best ways to avoid legal issues during an employment dispute is to prevent the disagreement from getting out of hand in the first place.

A few of the best ways to prevent employment disputes from escalating include:

  • Honestly looking at your role in creating the dispute. Conflict mediators frequently say that few conflicts are one-sided. As soon as an employment dispute is brought to your attention, it’s worth taking a few minutes to examine your own behavior, and the prevailing culture at your company. Did you contribute to the employee’s frustration in any way? Did you try to make them feel heard, and give them adequate forums for complaints? Asking yourself these kinds of reflective questions can keep you focused on the solution, rather than the problem.
  • If you have Human Resources personnel, rely on them to assist you. A good HR rep is trained in conflict resolution, the legal requirements for termination, and a range of other employment needs. If you do have a Human Resources manager who can help you decide on a dispute management strategy, make sure to ask them for help before making any impromptu decisions.
  • Vent your frustrations privately before you organize any meetings or discussions with the employee. The relationship between an employee and an employer is fundamentally the same as any human relationship: It requires respect, honesty, and mutual consideration in order to function. Even if your emotions are running high after reading a discrimination complaint from a trusted employee, make sure that you do not air your most negative feelings without a neutral third party present. Try venting your frustration in private before you meet with the employee to avoid yelling matches.
  • Bring on a trained conflict mediator. Conflict mediation is one of the best ways to prevent an employment dispute from becoming a costly EEOC investigation or wrongful termination lawsuit. Mediators are trained in win-win scenarios and in listening to all sides of the story. Although it isn’t always possible to resolve the employee’s complaint, the simple act of listening can often help repair the broken bonds between you and your employee.

If all else fails, and your employee takes the dispute to litigation, our business litigation attorneys can help you defend yourself in court, or in negotiation with the other party. We are experienced in a wide range of corporate litigation strategies, and we can provide our clients with sound legal counsel on any business need.

Ready to speak with a member of our skilled San Diego legal team? Contact Purdy & Bailey, LLP at (858) 360-7080 today for a courtesy evaluation!