How to deal conflicts at work

Insults, mockery, sidelining relationships at work can sometimes be tricky or even conflictual. The behaviors that employees may have between them may be likely to disrupt a service, or even a business, if they grow.

Disagreement between employees is more about managing human resources and management than about pure labor law. However, between harassment and discrimination, the employer must be a model in the fight against destructive behavior in business.

The Labor Code thus offers some tools in its fight against abnormal behavior (such as sanctions). It also sets a legal obligation for the employer to fight upstream and downstream against conflicting behavior at work. Conflict management training courses are available for better understanding these rules and rights.

This page offers an overview of the behaviors and actions that can affect the quality of life at work, it falls into the category of pages of health and safety at work.

Harassment at work

Harassment can be defined as behavior and acts aimed at psychologically weakening the victim. It has serious consequences for the lives of others: suffering, stress, depression … In a professional context, employers and employees must prevent the occurrence of such behaviors.

The workplace harassment can manifest itself in two forms: psychological or sexual. In any case, the employer who finds such facts in his company has the obligation to do everything possible to stop them.

Moral harassment at work

The bullying is repressed in Articles 222-33-2 of the Penal Code and L1152-1 of the Labor Code. It refers to the repetition of acts, words and behaviors whose purpose or effect is to cause a deterioration of the employee’s working conditions. Indeed, it may be liable to infringe rights and dignity, to alter physical or mental health, and even to jeopardize the employee’s professional future.

Moral harassment is a crime. Thus, the harasser and the employer (as a result of his obligation to ensure the safety of his employees) are liable to fines and imprisonment. The employer must fight against bullying as part of prevention campaigns. It must sanction the author of the moral harassment (sanction up to dismissal for serious misconduct).

Are you a victim of moral harassment? Do not hesitate to inform your representative bodies of the personnel, your employer, the labor inspectorate or even to seize directly the competent court (industrial tribunal or correctional court). Our lawyers in labor law can accompany you in this procedure.

Sexual harassment

The sexual harassment is punished with Articles 222-33 of the Penal Code and L1153-1 of the Labor Code . It refers to the fact of repeatedly imposing sexual or sexist remarks or behavior on a person.

These remarks or behaviors undermine the dignity of the victim (because of their degrading or humiliating character), or create for her an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation. There is also sexual harassment when an individual puts severe pressure on the victim for the real or apparent purpose of obtaining an act of a sexual nature (for himself or for others).

Sexual harassment and sexual assault should not be confused: when physical contact is established between the abuser and the victim, the offense of sexual assault will be established.

Like moral harassment, sexual harassment must be tackled by the employer. It is an offense that can be the subject of criminal, civil and disciplinary proceedings.


Non-discrimination is one of the major principles of French labor law. Provided for in Article L1132-1 of the Labor Code, this principle requires that no employee be discriminated against (directly or indirectly) during his working life.

Discrimination can occur at any level of the employment relationship and the employer must do everything in his power to combat these behaviors. Indeed, it is subject to a legal obligation of reinforced means: it will have to make every effort to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

Discrimination can be of various kinds, such as discrimination on disability, discrimination on sexual orientation, discrimination on the origin, etc. If you see any signs of possible discrimination, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers for legal advice tailored to your situation.

How to manage conflicts between employees?

The management of interpersonal conflicts in business is a delicate matter. Maltreatment at work must be combated by a compassionate approach to human resources within your organization. MOVA training course can help in better understanding those rules applied in these conflicts.

The employer’s response

If, despite all prevention actions, the conflict breaks out: the employer’s response must be appropriate. Labor Councilors and Criminal Judges are uncompromising as to the employer’s share of the responsibility for all the suffering that his employees may suffer at the place and time of work.

First step to resolving a conflict: the discussion. To intervene, you have to understand the situation. An exchange between the parties to the conflict may be enough to defuse the situation.

If the discussion does not resolve the tensions, the employer may use his disciplinary power: warning, blame, dismissal, demotion, dismissal.

As a last resort, he can call upon professionals who can assist him in the resolution of the situation: occupational physician, mediators, labor lawyers, labor inspector.

For the victim of such a situation

If you are discriminated against, harassed, or otherwise a source of pain in your work (eg, being sacked), you may be able to acknowledge the breach of your contract your employer’s wrongdoing. This procedure will allow you, if it succeeds, to collect damages for damages suffered during your work.

In such a situation, have a lawyer in charge of labor law assist you in defending your rights.

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