Ombuds, Ombudsman, Ombudsperson - What is it?
An ombudsman (OM-buds-man), as described in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is "a government official appointed to investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials." Also, "one who investigates reported complaints as from students or consumers." Ombuds, ombudsman, ombudsperson are all the same.
JMU's employee ombudsperson serves all employees within the JMU community, offering an informal, impartial and private setting to assist employees when differences of opinion or conflicts arise in the workplace.
How long has JMU had an employee ombudsperson?
JMU's Human Resources office enhanced its services for employees by implementing the HR Service Center and the role of employee ombudsperson in July, 2007.
What does JMU's employee ombudsperson do?
The ombudsperson helps employees informally explore options towards resolution of their workplace issues, offering a safe and supportive place for employees to share their thoughts and concerns. The ombudsperson refers individuals to the appropriate university office for assistance as needed.
Are there other campus ombuds?
The office of the Dean of Students responds to the informational and personal concerns of students, parents, faculty and staff. For assistance with withdrawing or extended class absences please contact Susan Linn, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Jim McConnel, email@example.com, 540-568-6468.
Administrative and Professional, adjunct and full-0time instructional faculty members may seek assistance with Dr. Philip Dubose. JMU's faculty ombudsperson. Appointments with faculty ombudsperson may be scheduled by contacting Phil at dubose@firstname.lastname@example.org, 540-568-FACO (3226).
When should I contact the employee ombudsperson for assistance?
Contact the ombudsperson when you
- believe your concerns are not being resolved through the usual channels
- want to discuss policy and how it relates to your situation
- seek to explore options for problem resolution
- wish to role play through a situation
- desire a non-judgmental listening ear
- need answers to general questions or information about university processes
Do I need to schedule a time to meet with the employee ombudsperson?
Phone calls, e-mails and visitors are welcome anytime; however, employees are encouraged, when possible, to schedule a time to meet to insure adequate time to talk through their concerns.
How do I schedule a meeting?
Contact your employee ombudsperson, Cathy Thomas at 540-568-3967, email@example.com, MSC 7009. You may also call the HR Service Center at 540-568-6165 to schedule an appointment.
How much time will I need to meet?
Meetings are usually scheduled to last about one hour. Additional time may be needed; therefore, follow-up sessions may be scheduled as needed.
How confidential is my meeting with the employee ombudsperson?
Employees with specific concerns regarding confidentiality are encouraged to express their concerns. Communications are maintained in a private manner. Your employee ombudsperson strives to safeguard shared information as well as your identity. Sometimes it is necessary to seek clarification or discuss your concerns with others with the goal of resolving the issue. The employee ombudsperson will seek your permission to carry your concerns forward. Exceptions to this privilege of privacy occur when there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm to the employee or others, or when laws have been, or may be broken.
Visitors wishing to enter or leave the ombuds’ office privately may easily do so, upon request. Additionally, there are many suitable places to meet on campus besides the ombuds’ office in Wine Price Building,
The numbers and general nature of inquiries appear in annual or other reports; however, names and identifying information are omitted.
I am filing a grievance. Can the ombudsperson help me with this?
Yes. The ombudsperson helps employees access the appropriate grievance form(s), handbook and services of the office of Employment Dispute Resolution and can explain how the grievance process works. The ombuds does not represent the employee at grievance meetings or during hearings.
Does it cost me or my department anything to meet with the employee ombudsperson?
No. This is a service offered through the HR Service Center and is available at no cost to you or your department.
Does the employee ombudsperson offer counseling and/or legal services?
The ombuds’ role is not that of a counselor or legal adviser; however, mediation is offered as a process for intervention and to bring about change.
I am a student as well as a wage employee. Do I ask JMU's employee ombudsperson or student ombudsperson for assistance to resolve my workplace issue?
If the issue is work-related, than it would be appropriate to contact the employee ombudsperson.
Can I still contact the employee ombudsperson even though I am no longer employed by JMU?
Yes. These inquiries are limited to one consultation session in most cases.