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How to file a formal complaint against a coworker

Updated February 21, 2017

Nobody wants to have conflict in the workplace, but unfortunately, situations sometimes arise that can't be solved amicably, and you are forced to file a complaint against a co-worker to resolve the matter. The nature of your complaint will determine who you report your complaint to. You may file a complaint with your manager or human resources department, a professional board or your union. If the complaint is over a personal or small issue, it is best to try to resolve it between yourself and your co-worker. If this is not possible, the first step would be to report the issue to management. Complaints regarding harassment, illegal conduct or conduct that causes harm to others should be reported immediately.

Speak directly with your manager or human resources personnel regarding your issues with a co-worker. Explain the exact nature of your complaint. When explaining the situation, be factual and do not let emotions dictate the conversation. Cite specific instances that have taken place whether you are complaining about personal habits, work performance, harassment, illegal activities or any other information that is relevant to the situation. Company policy will determine the next step, if management is unable to resolve the issue.

Prepare a letter stating your complaint. Keep your letter brief and to the point stating specific situations and problems. Also, submit any other documentation that supports your complaint such as phone logs, messages, e-mails and memos.

Contact your professional governing board or union if necessary. If the issue is unable to be resolved at the company level or is of a severe nature, you may file a grievance with your union or file a formal complaint with the professional board that oversees your profession such as The Board of Nursing.

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About the Author

Johanna Miller has been writing professionally since 2010. She has been published in various online publications. Miller holds an Associate of Business degree with a concentration in accounting from Stark State College.