28.1 Policy on Conflict Management Resources

(Amended 9/12; 4/13; 6/16; 7/1/17)

Effective October 2016, May 2017, and July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.

In order to maintain and promote a fair and productive work environment for all University staff, the University encourages the active resolution of workplace conflicts. Staff members and supervisors are encouraged to maintain and utilize open communications to promote and maintain a civil and humane workplace. The University also provides a variety of mechanisms to facilitate the management and constructive resolution of conflict situations involving staff when workplace conflicts occur.

The University encourages the resolution of conflict at the earliest opportunity, or the lowest step in whatever dispute resolution process is used. Both formal procedures and informal conflict resolution mechanisms are provided. Staff are encouraged to use informal resolution whenever appropriate. When staff use multiple forums to raise non-grievable issues (as defined by the applicable grievance procedures), the University may, upon consultation with the staff member, designate one to be the primary forum appropriate for final resolution of the situation.

Together, the resources listed are intended to provide fair, thoughtful, and effective means to manage and/or resolve conflict situations, and thereby promote the work of the University. Working independently or collaboratively, these mechanisms constitute the system of conflict management for University staff (note references to University policies):

  1. Human Resource Offices — provide information and interventions through Human Resource representatives at the department, college/division, or central administration level. For example, unit Human Resource representatives may provide assistance in a wide range of employment and related issues.
  2. Administrative Review — provides a mechanism for the review of employment-related actions or inactions at both departmental and collegiate/division levels, with participation and input from University Human Resource offices. Administrative review may be used for issues not subject to a formal grievance process, including but not limited to disputes over the application of University policy, ethics complaints, salary administration, and/or probationary dismissals. Administrative review may also be used as a less formal alternative for issues covered by one of the grievance processes. (See III-28.3 Merit System Member Grievance Procedure and III-28.4 Grievance Procedures for Professional and Scientific Personnel.)
  3. University Ombudsperson — provides an informal, confidential, neutral, and independent dispute resolution resource. The mission of the Ombudsperson is to ensure that all members of the University community receive fair and equitable treatment within the University system. (See VI-2 Office of the University Ombudsperson.)
  4. Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD) — provides both formal and informal processes to address complaints of discrimination, including, but not limited to, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, discrimination based upon disabilities, consensual relationships, and/or other violations of the University Policy on Human Rights (II-3). EOD also receives complaints under the University Policy on Violence (II-10). (See also Part II. Community Policies.)
  5. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) — provides confidential counseling, consultation, and resource and referral information to members of the UI community by licensed mental health providers knowledgeable about UI resources, policies, and practices. (See VI-23.2 Employee Assistance Program.)
  6. Classification Appeal — provides a formal appeal process for the denial of an individual reclassification request. (Professional and Scientific staff, see III-3.4; Merit staff, see Iowa Administrative Code, Regents 681, Merit Rule 3.127 (19A).)
  7. Grievance Procedures — provide formal grievance processes for the review and resolution of certain employment issues. Following a series of steps, third-party arbitration may be used to resolve the issue. Issues subject to grievance may include violations of University policy or Regent  Merit System Rules, and disciplinary action. (Please refer to the relevant grievance procedures: Merit staff: III-28.3; Professional and Scientific staff: III-28.4; staff nurses and allied health professionals should refer to the UI Health Care Employee Manual available through The Point or from a local Human Resource Representative.)

Together the resources outlined above constitute the University Conflict Management System for staff. In support of an integrated approach to conflict management, these resources may work collaboratively to resolve conflict situations. The University, however, reserves the right, upon consultation with the staff member, to designate one to be the primary forum appropriate for resolution of non-grievable issues, as defined by the applicable grievance procedures. These resources and procedures are available to all University staff, except where governed by or reserved as exclusive to an overriding University or Board of Regents, State of Iowa, policy. For more information, please refer to the specific policies or offices cited above.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to utilize these resources, please contact Faculty and Staff Disability Services, 121 University Services Building, in advance.