How to Make a Complaint About a Colleague

Updated April 17, 2017

Perhaps someone sitting near you at work wears too much perfume. Perhaps an overbearing colleague calls your clients to check on your work. Regardless of the problem, most companies have official procedures to handle disputes between co-workers. While these frustrations can become emotional, try to focus on the facts and not the emotions of the situation. Your colleague could be hurt or become defensive however. If you are experiencing a legitimate problem, you are likely not alone. You, your colleague and your company will emerge stronger because of your efforts.

Write down the problems. Keep a record of times, dates and witnesses. Record the facts. Remove any reference to your emotions in the documentation.

Talk to someone in human resources. Ask about the official procedure for lodging a complaint against another employee. Bring your documentation with you.

Talk to your supervisor. Human resources may request that you speak to your supervisor first. Frame the issue as a business problem, not a personal one. Let the supervisor make a copy of the documentation, but keep the originals for yourself.

Schedule a meeting to discuss the problem with your colleague. Let your supervisor or someone from human resources lead the discussion. Although you might become emotional about your concerns, stick to the facts when discussing the issue.

Come to a resolution. Write down the proposed resolution on the complaint document. Depending on the problem, you may need to make some concessions. Your colleague may have legitimate reasons for their actions. Be willing to listen and be open to making changes to your own behaviour.

Follow up with your supervisor and human resources. Let them know if the proposed resolution is working.

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