Common workplace issues include:

  • discrimination against race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, gender, gender reassignment, age, or pregnancy and maternity 
  • bullying
  • sexual harassment
  • lack of training or support
  • lack of equipment
  • conflict between staff members
  • communication problems.

What if I have a problem at work?

If you have an issue or problem at work, try to speak informally with your manager as soon as it happens. If the problem is with your manager, speak to their manager or to another manager who you are comfortable speaking with.

If a problem can’t be resolved in this way, you could raise a formal grievance. You can do this if the issue continues, or if you think it hasn’t been dealt with properly.

Each workplace should have its own procedures in place to deal with problems like the ones listed above – and follow them. They should be easy to find. Check with your manager.

If your employer does not have a policy, you can follow the Acas Code. 

When and where do I get advice?

Think about getting expert advice early – even if you’re not sure that you have a legal issue with your employer. A legal adviser can explain your options and help you with next steps.

There are lots of ways to get independent advice.

  • Acas gives free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice.
  • Citizens Advice has lots of free advice online, or you can contact them for a free chat
  • Most law firms have detailed blogs online (A quick internet search can take you to some of these. Just make sure you check it is a trusted law firm. Some even provide a free initial meeting or call.)
  • Law charities in your area can also help you with free advice.
  • Trade unions should help if you are a member.

When does it become a legal issue?

Have you raised your issue formally with your employer? Are things still no better? Has your employer done nothing to resolve the issue? If so, it might now be a legal issue.

Usually a workplace issue becomes a legal issue when grievances aren’t dealt with properly. This might be because the employer hasn’t followed the correct procedure. Or it might be because the problem hasn’t been fixed.

Once again, if your employer is not dealing with your concerns, you can get advice about your options. Acas and Citizen Advice give free, impartial advice.

You might want to speak to a legal advisor.

If you feel you are being treated badly or differently because of a disability, your age, sex, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, you are pregnant or on maternity leave or you are married or in a partnership, it could be discrimination. 

If you think have no choice but to resign and are being forced out, it could be constructive dismissal. This happens when you’re forced to leave your job because of the way your employer acts.

This is different to unfair dismissal. Unfair dismissal happens when an employer doesn’t have a good reason for dismissing you. It can also occur if a company does not properly follow its own dismissal procedures.

You may also have other claims for example if you don’t think you are being paid fairly, or because your employer is making deductions from your wages which are against the law.

In all cases, you should seek legal advice and help. For constructive dismissal, you should try to get legal help before you resign. This is because it is a tricky claim to bring and once you have resigned you may not be able to get your job back, or successfully bring a claim.

Tips for employees

  • Check your contract and understand what you entitled to.
  • Keep a diary of dates and events, if you feel you are being treated unfairly.
  • Raise your concerns straight away
  • Be proactive in addressing issues and seeking advice.
  • Keep any documents given to you by your employer.
  • Get the contact details for any witnesses and check they are happy to support you.
  • Seek legal advice as early as possible if your issue is not being dealt with properly by your employer.