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Workplace complaints are up 30% – what’s causing this?

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Experts have witnessed a sharp increase in workplace complaints. These issues can negatively affect business performance, which is why it’s so important to identify and stamp out concerns.

According to NB Employment Law director Jonathan Mamaril, his business has seen a 30 per cent increase in workplace complaints in the past year.

There are a variety of reasons for this, but outside pressures seem to be a major contributor as people are stressing over things like the rising cost of living.


“Personal issues and family challenges are manifesting themselves in the workplace. Rising cost of living pressures, interest rate rises and spiralling education costs are all leading to reactionary behaviour,” explained Mr Mamaril.

“The water cooler is no longer the location for a catch-up, rather it’s a setting to rant, whinge and complain, and nothing is off limits.”

Mr Mamaril believes that the rise in complaints translates to work performance, and it’s not good.

“With diminished control over elements of their personal lives, many employees are pushing back in the workplace and refusing to properly perform their role in an attempt to gain authority. Many workplaces are stuck in a vicious cycle,” he said.

It’s important for employers to do their part to mitigate these issues. If an employee is stressed over outside factors, leaders should do what they can to set their mind at ease and allow them to stay engaged.

Mr Mamaril continued: “Some employees are citing personal stresses as a reason not to fulfil their workplace obligations. This in turn puts even more pressure on over-worked, stretched, valuable employees, who are left in the lurch and forced to pick up the slack of an overly-reactive worker.”

While support is always a worthwhile approach, for employees that are creating issues for teams, Mr Mamaril says some leadership approaches include:

  • Providing constructive feedback on performance
  • Providing a reasonable and lawful direction
  • Informing a worker about work that is unsatisfactory
  • Letting an employee know about behaviour that is inappropriate workplace behaviour
  • Allocating work to an employee and controlling and directing how it needs to be carried out
  • Placing an employee on a performance improvement plan
  • Modifying an employee’s duties
  • Redeploying an employee
  • Expecting employees to obtain workplace goals and maintain workplace standards
  • Requesting an independent medical examination for an employee to assess whether they’re physically fit to fulfil the requirements of the role



Compliance often refers to a company's and its workers' adherence to corporate rules, laws, and codes of conduct.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.