The first thing I invite my clients—and now you—to do is make the seven choices from the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process. That’s to get rid of any emotional charge that you might have around this particular issue.
It’s been emotionally charged year. We’re thirteen months into a global pandemic. Emotions are high.
The Seven Choices are designed to reduce your emotional response and allow you to work through it. Once you’ve dealt with that emotional charge and you can be more objective, then you’re just going to define that conflict succinctly.
In this particular case, it’s pretty simple. You and your employee disagree about the need for the vaccine. Now that you can narrow the issue, that’s all it’s about. It’s not about whether that employee was a good employee before today, whether you like them, their long history of working with you, or their short history of working with you. It’s simply about the vaccine and whether or not they need to get it.
- Next, you can move to identifying the personal interests behind this particular conflict. And this is from both sides. You want to look at things like:
- Does one of you have a high risk of personal loss if they’re not vaccinated?
- Does your business have a risk of loss?
- If this employee isn’t vaccinated, does your employee have protected reasons for not being vaccinated?
And when I talk “protected”, this is where you’re going to speak to your employment attorney. It could be a medical diagnosis or a desire to get pregnant. It could be a religious objection. If any of those apply, you don’t want to navigate this without your employment attorney, because if your employee raises a protected reason for avoiding the vaccine, you’re going to have to get into things like:
- Can this employee perform the essential functions of the job without the vaccine?
- If so, how?
- How do you make a reasonable accommodation?
In the meantime, keep listening with your third ear for those hurt you can heal.
Get the Worksheet
Nance L. Schick, Esq., is an employment attorney, ethno-religious mediator, conflict resolution coach, and diversity trainer based in New York City. Her goal is to keep managers and small business owners out of court and build their conflict resolution skills–so everyone has a better work experience. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution, and an award-winning entrepreneur acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018, 2019 & 2020), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), and Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards).