Incompatibility in the workplace – what to do?


Is there incompatibility in your workplace?

workplace punch card

You may not enjoy working with each and every one of your work colleagues, or you may be faced with having to manage a work situation whereby colleagues do not get on.....unfortunately incompatibility in the workplace can lead to lots of “he said, she said’ meetings and an unhappy and unproductive work environment.

I acknowledge the hardest part in dealing with possible incompatibility is addressing the issue in the first instance, but the best advice is to deal with it the very moment it comes to your attention, without delay.
Putting your head in the sand, and hoping like mad the situation will resolve itself, will not fix the problem. In the end, you might be forced to deal with it when tensions explode in a fist fight at the office Christmas party.

As difficult as it may be to approach the issue, it would surely still be preferable to address it before it escalates to this point!


The test for determining whether a dismissal is justified is contained in s103A of the Employment Relations Act 2000. It is looked upon favourably if you have done everything a fair and reasonable employer could have done in the circumstances.
In order to justify a dismissal the onus is on the employer to establish there was irreconcilable incompatibility; and the irreconcilable breakdown in the employment relationship was attributable wholly or substantially to the employee.

Additional to this, it is essential the employer was procedurally fair with the dismissal procedure.

Either way, get good advice, follow a fair and transparent process, and remember to deal with the issue as soon as it arises – good luck!


by Sally Higgins

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