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Ombuds Service

Assistance with work-related conflicts

What We Do

Berkeley Lab employees who need help with work-related conflict can use the Ombuds Service. We advocate for systemic fairness, justice, and humane treatment in the workplace, and offer assistance that is:

  • Confidential
    The Ombuds keeps information in confidence (unless the visitor gives permission or discloses a threat to harm themselves or others), does not keep permanent records, and is not an office of notice.
     
  • Informal
    The Ombuds provides an alternate to formal channels, does not conduct investigations, arbitrate or adjudicate, does not enact policy, and does not replace other resources at the Lab.
     
  • Neutral
    The Ombuds is impartial, doesn’t take sides or represent any individual or the Lab, and will consider the interests and concerns of all parties.
     
  • Independent
    To ensure objectivity, the Ombuds reports to the Lab Directorate only for administrative and budgetary purposes, not regarding the matters discussed with visitors.

How We Do It

The Ombuds listens, discusses and clarifies concerns, assesses and provides options and information to resolve or manage problems, and facilitates communication between employees so that equitable and mutually acceptable solutions can be reached.

Types of Conflict We Handle

The Ombuds can assist with issues like workplace disputes, interpersonal difficulties with colleagues, subordinates or supervisors, preparing for a difficult conversation, harassment, cultural misunderstandings, bureaucratic frustrations, and incivility, among others.

Who Is Eligible

The Laboratory’s Ombuds Services are available to all employees in scientific and operational division, including postdoctoral fellows.

 

 

Contact Information

To assure confidentiality, contact the Ombuds Service by phone:
(510) 642-7823

Call for an appointment. No drop-in visits, e-mails or faxes are accepted.

What “Ombuds” Means

The position of Ombudsman was originally created in Sweden in 1809 as a way to resolve problems in the Swedish Parliament during the absence of the country’s abducted king.

In more recent times, Ombuds programs have been created worldwide to help various groups address concerns about administrative actions or lack of action.

In the United States, Ombuds are utilized in federal, state and local governments, colleges and universities, and corporations.

The Berkeley Lab Ombudsperson abides by the International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

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