FIGHTING ON THE JOB - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 53, No. 3
Margaret A. Lucero
Robert E. Allen
Margaret A. Lucero is an assistant professor of management at the University of Wyoming, where she teaches human-resources management and organizational behavior. Her current research interests focus on workplace aggression and international human-resources issues.
Robert E. Allen teaches industrial relations, conflict resolution and business ethics at the University of Wyoming. He is also a labor arbitrator with 20 years’ experience.
Workplace aggression has become an important issue in organizations. In this article, the authors analyze published arbitration decisions involving employees disciplined for fighting, and show how arbitrators apply just-cause standards in such cases. The study provides a profile of the grievants’ level of involvement in the fight and the severity of the incident, which are given as justification by arbitrators as mitigating circumstances when setting aside or reducing employer-imposed disciplinary penalties. The authors discuss the implications for improving disciplinary guidelines for fight situations in the workplace.
Fighting among co-workers appears to be a relatively widespread problem. One survey estimated that over two million people are physically attacked in the workplace annually and