10 Ways You Can Respond to Coworkers Fighting

The U. S. According to the Department of Labor, two million Americans engage in workplace violence each year, including brawls at the office. When a verbal or physical altercation takes place between two employees while they are at work, a supervisor needs to act right away. Depending on the severity of the threat, intervention may entail contacting the police or security personnel. The top priority in managing the situation must be the safety of other workers.

An important first step in preventing and dealing with workplace disputes is preparation. When management fails to take prompt and appropriate action, issues are more likely to arise, worsen, and possibly have fatal consequences. A 2019 workplace research study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 55% of managers were unaware of their company’s workplace violence prevention programs and that 19% of HR staff weren’t sure what to do if they saw a fight at work.

Organization-specific policies and procedures should be developed to prevent workplace violence. But every business ought to have a rule that forbids actions like bullying, verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, shoving, and hitting. Employees must be instructed on the policy and informed of the likely repercussions for any misconduct. The policy should outline reporting procedures and what bystanders should do in the event of an incident.

Supervisors have a crucial part to play in preserving a secure workplace by outlining expectations and dealing with inappropriate behavior by disciplining rowdy workers gradually. Typically, there are warning signs before an employee snaps and becomes aggressive. Bullying, combative behavior, performance issues, possible drug use, mood swings, and disrespectful treatment of others are all red flags that should not be ignored.

The U. S. According to the Department of Labor, if a physical altercation occurs at work, a supervisor should call for help instead of getting involved directly. In accordance with company policy, the supervisor should contact the emergency services or the on-duty security personnel in addition to evaluating the risk of harm to people or property.

Workers nearby should be escorted to a safe location by the supervisor if there is a risk to personal safety, such as the presence of a weapon. Police will take over the situation when they arrive. Serious or persistent physical altercations may be cause for one or both of the involved employees to lose their jobs immediately. Fights at work can negatively impact other employees’ morale and productivity and shouldn’t be ignored.

A manager needs to figure out what sparked the tense exchange and take action to stop it from happening again. Both workers should be asked to list the steps they will each take to get along and manage their emotions in cases where a personality conflict may be the cause of the issue. The manager needs to keep a close eye on the situation and step in quickly if either party behaves improperly. If the issue recurs and a job termination is required, it is crucial to document the altercation at work.

Provide the victim with support and a referral to the organization’s employee assistance program (EAP) if one party was clearly the aggressor in the workplace altercation and the other reacted in self-defense to an unprovoked attack. According to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) may be beneficial for a victimized employee if an incident is traumatic. The CISD procedure can lessen symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as anxiety, fear, hypervigilance, panic, and others.

Mary Dowd graduated from Minnesota State Mankato with a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in counseling and student affairs. Her passion has been assisting students in achieving success while working in numerous student affairs and adjunct teaching roles. She currently serves as the student affairs dean at a sizable public university. Dr. Dpwd has experience writing hundreds of useful online articles, training manuals, and published research.

Employee Vs Manager | Fights at work | Digital Ent. Network

Why is it important to address coworkers fighting?

It’s critical to address workplace disputes because they can escalate into bigger issues that affect the entire organization. Managers must discuss disputes and reach solutions in order to:

10 ways you can help resolve fighting in the workplace

Here are some ways you can address disputes between coworkers:

Confront it immediately

Deal with workplace conflict right away to find a resolution as soon as possible. This lessens the negative effects of the fighting and keeps the issue from getting worse. Follow your company’s protocol in the event of a physical altercation, which may include alerting HR and contacting law enforcement.

Hear both sides

Meet with each party separately to hear their side of the story when employees are arguing Let them vent their frustrations before responding, and pay attention when they do. Make sure to repeat any points that you don’t understand to the employee and follow up with more questions. You can also consult with other workers who were present during the altercation.

Express understanding and empathy

When you speak with employees, refrain from blaming or accusing anyone. Instead, express your understanding of their frustration and make an effort to relate to them. You might say, “I understand where you are coming from. It sounds like a challenging circumstance, and I want to try to improve things. “.

Identify the issue

You must ascertain the root cause of a workplace conflict after speaking with the parties involved. To anticipate the types of problems that might arise, you should be familiar with how your office functions on a daily basis. Uncertainty regarding job responsibilities and roles, pay disparity, or the perception of unfair treatment can all be the root of the issue. How you should approach a problem depends on its nature.

Get HR involved

It’s crucial to involve a human resources representative when resolving a workplace dispute. They are knowledgeable about the policies and procedures of your business and the steps to take to ensure regulatory compliance in every circumstance. Your HR team member can go over procedures and company standards when you meet with staff.

Enforce discretion

Encourage the rest of the team to maintain professionalism by avoiding rumors and gossip as you mediate a workplace dispute. Avoid bringing up the matter outside of scheduled meetings, and step in if you overhear people discussing the dispute.

Create solutions

Once you’ve determined what’s causing the conflict, come up with some potential solutions. When explaining to the staff that most resolutions call for mutual concessions from all parties, you should endeavor to be as fair as possible.

Reviewing each employee’s job description and reminding them of their responsibilities may be sufficient for some solutions. For instance, an employee might be supervising another employee when that is not their job.

Different viewpoints and more original solutions might be needed in more complicated situations. You might think about physically separating the workers or moving one to a different building. You can assign the workers to various work teams so they don’t collaborate as frequently. Alternately, you could request suggestions from the staff on how to move forward and make better decisions.

Document your meetings and plan of action

It’s crucial to keep meticulous records of conversations, meetings, and any disciplinary actions taken when handling a delicate issue like coworkers fighting. Have the attendees sign the minutes of your meetings to attest that the information was accurate and that they understood the steps necessary to solve the issue. Detailed records make it easier for departments like HR and legal to keep track of the situation.

Follow up with the parties

Check in with employees after a predetermined period of time, such as two weeks or a month, to see if things have improved. If the issue is resolved, commend the staff for their maturity and effort. Consult the action plan if there are still issues. You may need to modify the plan, issue a formal warning, place an employee on probation, or dismiss an uncooperative employee depending on your company’s policies.

Promote teamwork

Make sure to promote cooperation and teamwork to help prevent fighting and conflict at work. Celebrate everyone’s accomplishments, promote collaboration and mutual assistance among staff members, and organize team-building exercises. Make sure new hires are a good fit for the culture, values, and environment of your business before you hire them. Consider using personality tests and peer interviews for job candidates.


What to do if two coworkers are fighting?

Here are some ways you can address disputes between coworkers:
  1. Confront it immediately. …
  2. Hear both sides. …
  3. Express understanding and empathy. …
  4. Identify the issue. …
  5. Get HR involved. …
  6. Enforce discretion. …
  7. Create solutions. …
  8. Document your meetings and plan of action.

Is it normal for coworkers to fight?

It’s not just normal—it can be a good thing. As Cari Romm writes in New York Magazine, “the occasional office brawl can help us spark new ideas and correct misconceptions.”

How do you deal with clashing coworkers?

How to handle a conflict with a coworker
  1. Keep the issue to yourself. …
  2. Don’t postpone addressing the problem. …
  3. Keep a positive outlook. …
  4. Discuss the matter in person. …
  5. Talk calmly. …
  6. Get right to the point. …
  7. Try to find things you agree on. …
  8. Listen to their point of view.

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