Is my conversation with the Ombuds confidential?

The Ombuds holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exceptions to this privilege of confidentiality are where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm, or if the Ombuds is otherwise required by law to disclose, report or testify. The privilege is held by the office and cannot be waived by others.

The Ombuds Office does not keep permanent records of confidential communications.  Permanent records kept by the Office include only statistical information for analyzing and reporting trends and recommendations to the University.  All other records are regularly destroyed.

What does the Ombuds do?

The Ombuds provides a safe, confidential, informal, impartial, and independent source of assistance to individuals or groups experiencing conflicts or who have complaints involving others at the institution. 

The Ombuds assists faculty by:

  • Listening to concerns
  • Clarifying issues
  • Explaining policies
  • Reviewing procedures
  • Articulating options
  • Serving as a neutral party in resolving disputes
  • Providing referrals to other resources
  • Helping pursue solutions
  • Identifying trends of conflicts
  • Facilitating Conversations
  • Mediating disputes
  • Engaging in shuttle diplomacy

What is an Ombuds?

At UNC Charlotte we use an “organizational Ombuds.”  The organizational Ombuds is a designated neutral who serves as an alternative resource for conflict management, prevention and resolution.  The word Ombudsman is of Swedish origin and means “representative.”

What kinds of problems can the Ombuds help with?

  • Relationship with your supervisor
  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Workplace incivility
  • University policies and procedures
  • Academic disputes
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Equitable treatment
  • Grievance procedures

What the Ombuds doesn’t do?

The Ombuds does not:

  • Receive formal notice of complaints on behalf of the University
  • Render formal decisions
  • Alter policy
  • Offer legal advice
  • Serve as a witness
  • Participate in any formal grievance, hearing, administrative or legal proceeding
  • Provide psychological counseling
  • Conduct formal investigations
  • Serve as an advocate or representative for any group or individual
  • Circumvent administrative procedures

Contacting the Faculty Ombuds about a problem does not constitute legal notice to the University about the existence of a problem.

When/why should I contact the Ombuds?

All inquiries are welcome.  No level of conflict is too great or too small to seek the informal and confidential input of the Ombuds.  If something’s bothering you, please mention it before it grows into a problem.

Contacting the Ombuds is strictly voluntary and may be done any time you find yourself in the position of feeling like a conflict may arise with your boss, a colleague or University group or department.  It may be that you have a simple question about policies and procedures that affect your work life, or you may have become immersed in a controversy that you don’t feel comfortable taking to any other person or office.

Who does the Ombuds serve?

The Ombuds provides service to currently-employed full-time faculty and administrators holding faculty rank.