Two prevalent causes of workplace grievance relate to co-workers and favoritism or, its reverse, neglect. It happens on a regular basis that co-workers have opposing personalities, work philosophies, and ways of approaching tasks and problems. In such cases, questions arise of how to respond to situations in which you are challenged, confronted, manipulated or irritated. Questions also arise of how, when and whether to broach such situations with the employer. Left unresolved, these can lead to serious grievances. Similarly, grievances can flare when scheduling or assignment distribution favors one and neglects another equally skilled and competent employee.
Studies have shown that more people are terminated because they have not gotten along with their bosses than any other reason. Since many in management are there because of reasons other than great competency, there is much pettiness and conflict nowadays. This is an era of unethical behavior, so problems arise.
I tend to agree with the previous post that personality conflicts cause more problems in the workplace than anything else. As a teacher, I have had more problems with other adult teachers and administrators than with the children I teach. I have experienced gender inequity (with a female principal who hated men); conflicts with highly conservative teachers from rural backgrounds who distrust teachers (like myself) from a larger city; and even with teachers who were unfriendly because of rival college alma maters. As the previous post mentioned, it's tough to work with people who openly display unfriendliness and unprofessional conduct, but few workplaces are exempt from such problems.
It depends on the type of work that you do. Often, the more academic a place is, the less problems you have with physically-related grievances and the more problems you have with other, more intellectual, issues such as preferential treatment, non-equal opportunities, lack of payment for extra work, or even the question of selection processes for promotion.
In job places were the work is more physical and less intellectual, the grievances will also be proportional to the type of work that you do precisely because the problems that may arise as a result of a work malpractice will likely come from the nature of the job itself.
However a common grievance happening lately has to do with equal opportunities in the workplace based on gender, ethnicity, race, and/or age. Due to huge demographic changes in many cities, some employers may not be noticing a tendency to employ individuals of a specific background. However, the best way to solve an issue like this may not be through a grievance, but with a good conversation with the employer.
The most typical cause of grievances in the workplace is disciplinary action taken by management against workers.
In a workplace, the managers must sometimes take actions against their workers. They may do so because the worker has been doing bad work or because the worker has been breaking rules (such as coming to work late). It is often the case that workers who are disciplined in this way feel that they are being unfairly targeted. They often feel that the manager has something personal (as opposed to work-related) against them that has led to the discipline. This feeling often leads to the filing of grievances.