Conflict Resolution: Privately Owned Company

This case presented itself to the employment lawyer as a grievance claim, following an incident at the company's Christmas party. A verbal fracas between one of the directors and a junior member of staff, led to the claimant going off sick. There had been a history of disagreement between the claimant and this particular director; the claimant had previously reported the director to his line manager as being intimidating and a bully. Little had been done and no action had been taken. After the claimant had gone off sick he sent in a formal letter of complaint. The company's employment lawyer suggested bringing in a neutral outside party, with the brief to see if and under what conditions the claimant might come back to work. The claimant agreed to a meeting with a consultant from The Prutton Partnership. Over a lengthy conversation, the claimant expressed his multiple concerns about the director and the lack of management skills in the company. During his account of the Christmas party incident he described an unpleasant verbal exchange and an incident relating to his sexuality.

The claimant was considering resigning. From a mental health perspective the claimant required professional counselling which was duly arranged for him. From a legal perspective, the case was at risk of evolving into a discrimination claim. Following the formal conversations with The Prutton Partnership consultant, it was clear the claimant wanted a written apology from the director and an undertaking from him to be treated more respectfully at work. As part of their settlement, the company also agreed to pay the claimant's counselling. With his agreement, a number of recommendations were put forward, aimed at changing the company culture and management skills. The more serious discrimination claim never surfaced and litigation was avoided.