How to Make HR Complaints about Coworkers
Whether it’s a colleague who disrespects you or behaves inappropriately at work, there is a high chance that everyone will deal with a difficult coworker at some point in their career. Making HR complaints about coworkers is an important soft skill every professional should have to successfully handle workplace relationships. From annoying habits to personality clashes and bullying to inappropriate behavior, it’s important to know when and how to take coworker complaints to HR.
When to Complain About a Coworker to HR
There are a variety of ways a coworker can infuriate or inconvenience you, but not every situation requires filing a complaint to HR. It’s important to separate problems that require HR intervention from those that can just be handled personally. Instances when you should take make a report to HR include:
- You feel unsafe at work. If your coworker behaves in a way that makes you feel physically, psychologically or mentally vulnerable, it’s time to bring HR in.
- If you witness illegal activity. It’s your responsibility as an employee to report any illegal activity you’re aware of at the workplace.
- You’re constantly facing workplace discrimination or harassment. If you are treated unfavorably because of your gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, pregnancy or maternity status by another employee, you must report it. Workplace discrimination of any sort is legally prohibited by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and your employer is responsible for upholding the law.
- If the issue seems to be escalating. If you have tried to resolve or avoid the situation and it has only gotten worse, you should report to HR.
- Their actions impede you from doing your job. If a coworker behaves in a way that makes you less productive, your employer or HR department should be aware of this.
On the other hand, there are some cases when conflict between coworkers should not be reported to HR. Some of these are:
- Your coworker is unaware of their actions. You should let them know that their behavior is unacceptable before taking it to HR.
- You are the problem. If you are the instigator of the conflict, you should work on changing your own behavior rather than reporting a colleague to HR.
- You just don’t like your coworker. If you simply dislike your coworker, that’s not a good enough reason to report them to HR. Annoying behavior like loud chewing or nail biting don’t warrant an official complaint (unless it is so severe that it impacts your productivity).
Steps to Follow When Reporting a Coworker to HR
If you believe the situation with your coworker requires a formal complaint, it’s time to take action. These are the best practices when reporting a coworker to HR:
- Begin by talking to your coworker. Try to resolve the issue in private with them. If this does not work, it’s time for step two.
- Set up an appointment with HR. Let the HR representative know that you have a problem that you would like to discuss. Only take this step after you have had multiple incidents of the same issue.
- Prepare your complaint with a well-documented report. Include specific incidents, documents, and any other relevant evidence to strengthen your case. You can also refer to your company policy to back your claims.
- Standby while investigations take place. After your initial session with HR, they will begin formal investigations. This may include calling in third-party witnesses and speaking to the coworker you complained about directly.
- Wait for HR’s decision. HR will propose a resolution depending on the severity of the complaint. In most cases, complaints will end up with a warning. In others, complaints will lead to a coworker’s termination.
Pros and Cons of Reporting Coworkers to HR
Even if you take careful steps, there are still risks that come with reporting a coworker to HR. Here are some pros and cons:
|Bringing HR in to address employee conflict might present a higher chance of reaching an agreement and resolving the issue.||HR may ignore the issue and the employee will feel more distressed than before.|
|The situation can be resolved, which creates a healthier work environment and increases the complainant’s trust in the company.||If the accused learns of the complainant’s report, they may retaliate and create a hostile work environment for the complainant.|
|The complaint might result in healthier company policies which could make the workplace a better environment for all employees.||Workplace gossip may cause the complainant to have a bad reputation. This can strain work relationships and eventually make the workplace unbearable for them.|
|In the case of illegal activity, the complainant could help management put a stop to activities that could be detrimental to the company.||The complainant might face retaliation from management and other employees who support the accused.|
Make Anonymous Complaints to HR with DoNotPay
Making a formal complaint to HR should not come with risks, and DoNotPay makes sure of that. With DoNotPay’s Anonymous HR Complaints product, reporting a coworker to HR gets done fast! Here’s how you can do it:
1. Sign-in to DoNotPay and open the Anonymous HR Complaints product
2. Enter your employer’s name and the mailing address of your HR department
3. Indicate what your complaint is about and how you want it resolved
Sit back and let DoNotPay automatically send your complaint to HR without exposing your identity! With none of your personal information added to the complaint, you don’t need to worry about facing retaliation.