Understanding Workplace Conflicts – FAQs

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This section of our site should help you learn more about some common kinds of workplace conflicts and the terms that are used to describe them.

General Workplace Conflict Issues

Quick Tips for Handling Workplace Conflict

The following are useful guidelines for handling workplace conflict:

1. Talk it out
2. Focus on a specific event(s), not on personality differences
3. Listen carefully
4. Identify areas of agreement and disagreement
5. Talk about important elements of the conflict
6. Develop a plan to work through conflict
7. Collaborate with those involved
8. Keep lines of communication open – move forward

Q: What are the benefits for using ADR?

A: ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) opens up the lines of communication; clarifies misunderstandings; helps to focus on what is important to the people in conflict and encourages creative problem solving.

Q: When is the best time to request mediation?

A: The earliest time possible in the life of a conflict.

Q: In mediation, who resolves the conflict?

A: The individuals in the dispute determine the outcome.

Q: Is workplace mediation voluntary?

A: Workplace mediation is voluntary.

Q: If you file a grievance, can you elect mediation as a means for resolving the issue?

A: Yes, workplace mediation is a means for resolving workplace conflict.

Q: Does mediation help participants to build better working relationships?

A: Yes. Mediation often helps participants to build better working relationships even in situations where the parties do not reach agreement.

Q: What is workplace mediation?

Workplace mediation is an ADR process that employs the use of a neutral third party to help individuals in workplace conflict reach a mutually acceptable solution.

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Workplace Conflicts Involving Diversity and Discrimination

Diversity and Discrimination

Q: What is Diversity?
A: Diversity is a broad term that exhibits the commitment to recognizing, understanding and appreciating the cultural, gender-based, socio-economic, physical, religious and other differences and similarities that are represented in a particular group.

Q: What is Diversity?

A: Diversity is a broad term that exhibits the commitment to recognizing, understanding and appreciating the cultural, gender-based, socio-economic, physical, religious and other differences and similarities that are represented in a particular group.

Q: What does Affirmative Action mean?

A: Affirmative Action pertains to efforts undertaken consistent with applicable law to expand employment opportunity for members of a particular race, sex (including gender identity), or ethnic group previously denied employment opportunities.

Q: Harrassment

A: Harrassment is any kind of bothersome, demeaning, irritating or annoying behavior.

Q: Unlawful Discrimination Complaint

A: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that handles complaints regarding employment issues.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) is the state agency that handles complaints of discrimination.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.

Q: Michigan Laws Governing Discrimination

A: State of Michigan prohibits discrimination practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of those rights based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is the agency assigned to handle complaints of discrimination. The Elliot Larsen Act of 1976 was founded by State Representatives Daisy Elliott (D) and Melvin L. Larsen (R).

Q: What is Title VII or the Civil Rights Act?

A: This Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. It is also unlawful under the Act for an employer to take retaliatory action against any individual for opposing employment practices made unlawful by Title VII or for filing a discrimination charge or for testifying or assisting or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII against private employers and the Employment Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice enforces Title VII against state and local government employers.

Q: What is a Protected Class?

A: A protected class is identified by the characteristic that the people within the class share, such as race or religion. A protected class is a group that is protected from employment discrimination by law. These groups include women and men based on sex; any group that shares a common race, religion, color or national origin; persons over 40; and people with disabilities.