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How the Ombuds Can Help

How the Ombuds Can HelpThe Ombuds is a confidential and safe place for you to raise questions regarding work related issues, and is here to listen and informally assist you to resolve issues you may be dealing with. The Ombuds standards of practice are defined by four guiding principles:

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Impartiality
  3. Independence
  4. Informality

It is important to note that the exceptions to confidentiality are

  • Imminent risk or serious harm to self or others.
  • Imminent risk to public safety.
  • Allegations of violation of the University's Title IX policies.
  • Allegations of violation of the Universities Policy Statement regarding prohibited sexual and other unlawful harassment and discrimination.
  • Allegations of violations of policies against Sexual Violence.

The Ombuds Handles

  1. Help with questions or concerns about workplace environment.
  2. Help with conflict resolution, problem solving, reframing issues, developing options and choosing an appropriate course of action.
  3. Questions about University policies and procedures.
  4. Questions about faculty and staff rights and responsibilities.
  5. Help with ethical questions or issues in the workplace environment.
  6. Concerns or questions about procedural fairness or due process.
  7. Questions about University and other relevant resources.
  8. Need for an informal neutral third-party.
  9. Help with institutional non-responsiveness.
  10. Training for conflict resolution, having difficult conversations and conflict competence, usually in conjunction with other internal or external organizations that provide said training.

If your situation is not in this list, please speak to the Ombuds anyway. This is just a sample of the issues the Ombuds may handle.

The Ombuds 

  1. Cannot impose sanctions, change or bypass any policy, rule or procedure.
  2. Cannot receive notice for the University.
  3. Shall not be involved in any collective bargaining agreement with union members. 
  4. Shall not conduct formal internal or external investigations on behalf of the University or an individual.
  5. Does not keep formal records for the University, and shall not maintain records about individual cases. Documents that are created during appointments, interviews and informal inquiries are regularly destroyed. While working on a case, all materials will be stored in a secure location and destroyed once the case is complete. The Ombuds will gather and aggregate data to determine trends and to provide reports.
  6. Does not provide legal or psychological services.
  7. Shall avoid any involvement in situations or cases where there might be a real or perceived conflict of interest.