University of Wisconsin–Madison

Workplace Challenges and Conflicts

If you are faced a difficult situation that is affecting your work, health, or family, please realize that as part of the UW-Madison community, you have resources to help you manage nearly any concern. Many workplace issues can be resolved by working with your department chair, but some issues require more problem-solving. You can get expert, practical advice on how to utilize campus resources, or ask for a consultation if you need impartial help thinking through a problem.

The staff in the offices listed below are ready to help.

  • Workplace challenges and conflicts

    Ombuds Office

    Phone (608) 265-9992 // uwombuds@mailplus.wisc.edu

    Confidential, impartial, alternative resource. providing an opportunity for all employees to explore concerns arising in the workplace, along with potential options, resources, and strategies. Ombuds are a team of retired faculty and staff with extensive on-campus experience who can be an excellent source for an off-the-record consultation. Read more: ombuds.wisc.edu

    •    Listen carefully and impartially
    •    Provide information, feedback and perspective
    •    Assist with early problem-solving, to minimize the escalation of conflict
    •    Work independently from university administration


    Employee Assistance (EAO)

    Phone (608) 263-2987 // eao@mailplus.wisc.ed

    Provides confidential consultation for faculty and staff experiencing difficulties with communication and conflict in the workplace. The EAO counselors are trained in assessing workplace conflict and in assisting supervisors, directors, chairs and deans with coaching for difficult conversations. Read more: http://eao.wisc.edu

    •    Respect in the workplace
    •    Stress management
    •    Change
    •    Conflict resolution
    •    Fostering a positive work environment

  • Personal problems

    Employee Assistance (EAO)

    Phone (608) 263-2987 // eao@mailplus.wisc.edu

    Provides confidential counseling for personal issues to assist faculty and staff with maintaining and enhancing both their personal and professional lives. Read more: http://eao.wisc.edu/index.htm

    •    Relationship difficulties
    •    Depression
    •    Anxiety
    •    Stress
    •    Work/life balance

     

  • Discrimination and harassment (protected class)

    Discrimination is conduct that adversely affects any aspect of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in an institution’s activities or programs, or has the effect of denying equal privileges or treatment to an individual on the basis of one more characteristics of that individual’s protected status or category as defined herein.

    Contact the Office of Compliance if you have concerns about discrimination, have questions about the rights of individuals under the law and university procedures, or wish to file a discrimination complaint.

    Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome comments, jokes, pictures or remarks, questions, whether oral, in writing or sent via e-mail that are sexual in nature or content. Making obscene or lewd remarks or gestures can also be sexual harassment. This kind of conduct is improper even if there is no intent or purpose to offend someone. This conduct should not occur in the workplace.

    Timely discussion of your concerns may allow resolution before alternatives become limited. The university will protect confidentiality to the extent possible under the law. If you feel you’ve been harassed:

    • Seek advice. Consult your supervisor, manager, HR representative, department chair, director, dean, or any campus resource to discuss options for resolution.
    • You may choose to seek informal resolution or file a sexual harassment complaint.
    • You may find it helpful to seek support from a trusted colleague. Be aware of your interest in keeping the matter as confidential as possible.
    • Keep notes of what happened, when, where, and who was present. Retain copies of any correspondence.
    • Consider informing the individual(s) involved that the conduct is unwelcome and that you expect it to stop.

    Sexual harassment information and resources

    Filing a sexual harassment complaint

  • Hostile and intimidating behavior

    Unwelcome behavior pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would find it hostile and/or intimidating and that does not further the University’s academic or operational interests is unacceptable to the extent that it makes the conditions for work inhospitable and impairs another person’s ability to carry out his/her responsibilities to the university. A person or a group can perpetrate this behavior. The person need not be more senior than or a supervisor to the target.

    Defining Language Describing Hostile and/or Intimidating Behavior (Faculty Legislation II-332)

    Academic Staff hostile and intimidating behavior legislation (Academic Staff Assembly Document 546)

    University Staff hostile and intimidating behavior policy

  • University policies and procedures

    The Office of Workforce Relations provides information and support based on University policy and practice, and assists individuals when considering the best course of action for their specific situation. Read more: ohr.wisc.edu/workforce/

    Phone: 608-265-2257 // Email: wr@ohr.wisc.edu // Office Hours: 7:45am – 4:30pm (Monday – Friday)

    •    Conflict Resolution – Assist in resolving problems and conflicts before they escalate to formal grievances or corrective action.
    •    Corrective Action Administration – Serve as objective consultants to divisions regarding the elements of just cause and due process in determining potential corrective action.
    •    Grievance/Appeals – Serve as objective hearing officers in matters involving employee grievances and represent management in appeals before various tribunals.
    •    Investigations – Assist divisions in conducting objective and thorough investigations. Team members conduct objective and thorough investigations of employee complaints and grievances.
    •    Layoffs and Non-Renewals – Provide guidance to managers and human resource professionals regarding the University policies and practices surrounding layoffs and non-renewals.
    •    Leave – Provide guidance to the university regarding compliance with applicable leave policies including sick leave, Federal and Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA/WFMLA), leaves without pay and other university, federal, state and local leave laws.
    •    Performance Management – Assist managers and human resource professionals in establishing performance expectations and accountability to ensure productive employees and work environments.
    •    Policy Interpretation – Provide guidance on and development of university policies and procedures.


    Faculty grievance procedure (see the Grievances option on the right column of the University Committee’s page)

    Defining Language Describing Hostile and/or Intimidating Behavior (Faculty Legislation II-332)

    Academic Staff grievance procedure

    Academic Staff hostile and intimidating behavior legislation (Academic Staff Assembly Document 546)

    University Staff hostile and intimidating behavior policy

    University Staff grievance procedure

  • Finding help for a student

    Dean of Students Office

    Student of concern (information and file a report)

    University Health Services provides mental health counseling, including coping with tragedies and traumatic events and critical incident stress

    Ombuds Office

    Phone (608) 265-9992 // uwombuds@mailplus.wisc.edu

    Confidential, impartial, alternative resource. providing an opportunity for all employees to explore concerns arising in the workplace, along with potential options, resources, and strategies. Ombuds are a team of retired faculty and staff with extensive on-campus experience who can be an excellent source for an off-the-record consultation. Read more: ombuds.wisc.edu/index.htm

    •    Listen carefully and impartially
    •    Provide information, feedback and perspective
    •    Assist with early problem-solving, to minimize the escalation of conflict
    •    Work independently from university administration

  • Educational resources

    Strategies for managing conflict resolution: ohrd.wisc.edu/onlinetraining/resolution/stepsoverview.htm

    Diversity training: oed.wisc.edu/education-and-professional-development.htm

    From the Office of Talent Management: Conflict resolution