Workplace Relations Commission Annual Report and Workplace Conflict

Conflict and disputes are unavoidable in the workplace but how conflicts are resolved is crucially important. When dealt with quickly, timely and respectfully, they can be resolved easily with little formal actions required.

However, when conflicts are not addressed ejectively and allowed to go unattended, employees involved suffer, productivity will be impacted and ultimately there will be significant disruption to the Organisation. Once formal procedures are triggered differences can often become more adversarial and issues more entrenched. Conflict management involves identifying and handling conflicts rationally, objectively and efficiently.

Workplace Relations Commission Annual Report1

Earlier this month the Workplace Relations Commission published its annual report for 2022 providing an insight into into the state of employment related disputes and claims, highlighting trends, problems, and improvements in the labour market over the past year. The report highlights a number of significant increases such as the nearly 30% increase in hearings and decisions processed by the Workplace Relations Commission and a 30% increase in the number of parts engaging in mediation

Throughout 2022, the Workplace Relations Commission received 6,263 complaint applications comprising 12,790 individual complaints – an average of two specific (individual) complaints per complaint application. This represented an increase of 4.5% and 6.5% respectively for complaint applications and individual complaints compared with 2021.

Of the individual complaints received 26% related to pay, 14% related to discriminator, equality, and equal status, 12% related to unfair dismissal and terms and conditions of employment accounted for 10% of claims.

With the increase of claims and employment related disputes moving through the mechanics of the Workplace Relations Commission it is important that employers are seeking to resolve complaints at the earliest possible stage in order to mitigate both the financial burden and reputational risk that forms a part of attending a third party.

HR Barometer Pulse Survey

With the launch of our most recent HR Barometer Key Findings, incorporating the results from 200 Organisations around Ireland, our research demonstrates that increases in workplace conflicts and disputes have risen to 69% in 2022 from 46% in 2021. With almost 7 out of ten Organisations experiencing conflict in 2022 there is a need for businesses to ensure they are fully compliant in the management of all employee related disputes arising. At a very foundational level this means having in place fully compliant policies and procedures and ensuring your employees are both aware of the varying policies but also familiar with their application. More importantly is that your Organisation has the necessary skills and experience in managing these complaints as they arise from informal to formal stages. It is therefore essential that your management have the requisite training in the application of policies and procedures in particular as it relates to investigations. The employment related risks to mismanagement of complaints can be far reaching for Organisations and ensuring your business is mitigating these risks through the deployment of appropriate skills is a must.

With conflicts and disputes expected to rise this year, and with additional legislative changes expected, it is important that businesses are anticipating the application needs of compliance requirements and their impact on the business in order to ensure the effects are being minimised and managed accordingly.

Workplace conflict can be costly in terms of the amount of time it takes up from a management point of view, the impact on the health and well-being of those involved, and also the potential associated costs due to lack of productivity and intervention of third parties.

To try to avoid escalation of a conflict, strategies need to be set in place by employers. If your business requires guidance, support or advice on any conflict or dispute arising, speak to one of our experts in Adare Human Resource Management for details of the support we provide under our HR Partnership Programme.


If your Organisation needs advice, support, or guidance in relation to compliance requirements or any HR issues, please check out our website or contact Adare Human Resource Management call (01) 561 3594 or email


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