Bonita G. Para, MS, Mediator
Serving Broward, Palm Beach & Miami Dade Counties

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Workplace Conflict: Have you ever had a conflict in the workplace and if so, what did you do about it?

Let's hear about your experience with workplace conflict. What happened and what did you do about it?


  1. I have had a serious work place conflick about 15 years ago. In retrospect, I could have handled it better. Testosterone levels and previous dealings with the other individual probaly contributed to my response to his verbal assault. I had just finished using the press brake and I forgot to put the dies away. When "Dave" came to use the press brake and saw the I had left the dies in the machine, he went on a verbal tirage. I could have said something like, " I am sorry. I was busy trying to get this project ready for a customer and over looked putting the dies back. Sorry again , Dave". But of course, that is not what I said. My response was something like, " Don't be such a crybaby ". Dave flew into a rage and immediately put his hands around my neck and tried to choke me. I could have fought back, which is probably what he wanted me to do. But I knew that if I struck him, it would be a battery and it would be my word against his about how and who started the physical altercation. Also, there was a witness watching, so I just let him choke me. When I did not fight back and he also saw the witness, he just let go and walked away trying to justify his violence by shouting, "Did you guys hear what he called me. He called me a cry baby". I called the police staion to have him arrested for assualt and battery, but they told me it just sounded like a personal matter and they would not respond. I was pretty darned amazed at that. I was really shook up over the entire incident and told my boss that I could not stay in a situation where my safety was a concern and I went home for the rest of the day. The next morning when I returned to work, my boss and Dave met me and Dave apopolgized and I mentioned that I should have put the dies away, because even I get irritated when others do not put them away. Dave and I got along much better after that, but I was still leary about working with some one that resorted to physical violence with such little provocation.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Steve. This must have been a very powerful event for you. You remember the details after 15 years! Your story emphasizes the importance of dispute resolution strategies in the workplace and your boss was correct in stepping in to a potentially dangerous situation. Every employee has a right to feel safe in their workplace. It's too bad that you had to continue working with someone who you could not completely trust.

  3. Yes, it was not the best work situation. But I always wondered what it must have been like for his wife. I can not imagine living with some one that can be set off like tinder in a dry climate.

  4. Steve, thank you for sharing! It is heartening to see that you were able to keep your composure and think rationally even while being held, in what must have been a frightening choke hold. As Bonnie stated, situations like these are why the understanding and execution of dispute resolution strategies are paramount in the workplace.
    Both you and your supervisor acted appropriately and timely. These actions are what helped to preserved 1) your job, and 2) your relationship with 'Dave'!