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If you’re dealing with issues at work and want to have them sorted out quickly and efficiently, you might be wondering about the best way to go about this. A

Raising issues with an employer can feel like diving into troubled waters, regardless of whether they relate directly to them or to another employee. However, if you handle things professionally you should have nothing to worry about. Here are the most important steps to take when you have a complaint.

A Verbal Discussion

Before you escalate things, it’s always a good idea to have a discussion with whomever you’re having problems with. You might be able to have your issues resolved without any serious intervention.

However, if you’re in a hostile work environment NC, you might not feel comfortable with this approach. You might also not find your problem resolved after this first step, in which case you’ll want to progress to more official, and potentially legal, steps.

Put it in Writing

Making your complaint formal is a big step. You’ll need to draft a letter to your Human Resources department or your direct manager, detailing your issue.

You’ll want to include information such as the details of the incident(s), who was involved, the dates and times, any consequences of the incident, as well as any other information you feel might be relevant.

In some cases, you might want to include your desired outcome, but be careful when including this in your formal letter. Try to avoid emotive language, despite how upset you might feel, and keep it as professional as you can.

Follow Up 

Make sure you monitor how the situation is progressing with your HR department. You’ll want to be assured that something is being done about the situation at hand. However, be patient and respectful of their time and try not to be pushy or demanding so long as you can see that it’s being addressed.

Be polite in how you correspond and always remain professional. Depending on the outcome, you might want to schedule a follow up meeting with your colleague or employer to discuss how things have turned out and clear the air.

Escalate When Necessary

If your complaint did not yield the results you desired and you don’t feel like the issue has been addressed properly, you might want to take things further and address an employment lawyer to go over the situation.

Reaching out to a legal professional for guidance will entail a much more serious look at the situation, but this is a good idea if you feel that you or your rights need protection in your workplace. 

In these cases, as much evidence and documentation as you can possibly provide will benefit you and your case.


While you’ll typically wish to deal with issues in the workplace swiftly and without much fuss, sometimes they’re serious enough to require proper intervention. If the situation is serious enough, you might consider leaving your job, but always take these considerations seriously and ensure that you have a well-developed plan. 

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