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How to handle difficult situations

Information on the webpages, policies and guidance available to help you manage difficult situations at work.


As a line manager or member of staff, you may encounter a difficult situation from time to time. Find out about the policies and procedures we have in place to help you deal with and resolve any difficult situations you might encounter.


We expect staff to follow all of the University's rules, policies and procedures at all times. Disciplinary procedures are necessary so that staff who breach the rules of conduct expected by the University are treated reasonably, consistently and fairly in every case.

Managing organisational change

We strive to manage change in a fair, consistent and effective manner. We have procedures for dealing with organisational change, redundancies and redeployment of staff.


We wish to enable all staff to work and perform to the best of their ability to meet the needs of the University. Our capability policy sets out how we will consider and deal with unsatisfactory performance due to lack of capability so that staff are given support to help them improve their performance.


We recognise that sometimes individual employees may wish to seek to have grievances relating to their employment resolved. We have a grievance procedure which allows grievances to be raised and dealt with.

We also have a mediation service, which is available to help the employees concerned find a solution to their dispute.

Dignity and respect

We are committed to providing an environment where all employees and students are treated with dignity and respect, free of unlawful discrimination, victimisation, bullying or any form of harassment.

Dealing with the death of a member of staff

Guidance and support is available to managers and staff dealing with the death of a member of staff.

Managing substance misuse

This policy sets out how we manage substance misuse by staff and contractors, in order to meet our health and safety duties.

Trade Unions

We fully recognise the importance of trade unions in all of these policies and procedures. We have a Trade Union Recognition and Facilities Agreement in place with all three recognised campus unions.

Industrial Action

Read more about industrial action.

Improving working relationships

Effective working relationships are crucial to all staff working together. We all have a responsibility to maintain and improve the quality of our working relationships. If you and a colleague have a concern about your working relationship, our mediation service runs an improving work (and study) relationships service, which can help you to work this through together.

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