Faculty, P&A, Civil Service, and student workers may access the University's carefully coordinated network of options for the good faith review and resolution of workplace conflicts. These options include:
- informal services to encourage prompt resolution of disputes, to include consultation, problem solving, facilitated discussion, and mediation; and/or
- a formal petition process reserved for conflicts not resolved through informal efforts, including a peer hearing, a final University decision by the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the opportunity to elect binding outside arbitration, or where applicable, appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
A formal petition may not be filed with OCR that (1) alleges a violation of the Administrative Policy: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Relationship Violence or (2) challenges findings related to or disciplinary decisions resulting from violations of the Administrative Policy: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Relationship Violence.
The conflict resolution process applies to employment-related conflicts of non-labor represented faculty, academic professional and administrative (P&A) staff, civil service staff, and student workers, including graduate student teaching and research assistants. In some circumstances, it applies to faculty emeriti and to recently terminated employees. This conflict resolution policy does not apply to labor-represented faculty and staff because their workplace concerns are governed by applicable collective bargaining agreements.
The Office of Conflict Resolution (OCR)maintains procedures that promote the fair, efficient, and cost-effective arbitration of employment conflicts at the election of the employee. The amount of, and responsibility to pay, arbitrator fees will depend on the source of the arbitrator chosen by the employee.
- If the employee selects an arbitrator from the National Academy of Arbitrators, the employee and the University will share equally in paying the entire arbitrator fees.
- If the employee selects an arbitrator from a roster maintained by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, the arbitrator will be requested to cap their total fees at $10,000, unless fees in excess of that amount are approved by the Vice President for Equity and Diversity upon a showing of good cause by the arbitrator. The employee and University will share equally the arbitrator fees up to $7,000. The University will pay the arbitrator fees over $7,000.
When warranted, resolution of conflicts under this policy may include corrective action for the benefit of the employee, including reinstatement of back pay and restoration of benefits actually lost. Relief does not include attorneys' fees, damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress, or punitive damages. Resolution may not direct disciplinary action against an employee.
No member of the University community may retaliate against an individual because of the individual’s good faith participation in:
- reporting or otherwise expressing opposition to, suspected or alleged misconduct;
- participating in any process designed to review or investigate suspected or alleged misconduct or non-compliance with applicable policies, rules, and laws; or
- accessing OCR services.
A causal relationship between the good faith participation in one of these activities and an adverse action is needed to demonstrate that retaliation has occurred.
Reporting Retaliation Concerns
Individuals who believe that retaliation is occurring or has occurred, as a result of their good faith participation in one of the above referenced activities, should follow the reporting options available to them in the Administrative Policy: Reporting Suspected Misconduct.
Reports of retaliation will be reviewed and investigated in the same manner in which other concerns of misconduct are handled. Any University member who engages in retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or expulsion.
Intentionally False Reports/Information
Individuals who, knowingly or intentionally, file a false report or provide false or misleading information in connection with an investigation may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, or expulsion.
Employees who are represented by a labor organization are excluded from services. Labor-represented employees may pursue their concerns through the process established in their collective bargaining agreements.
Persons who are not employed by the University, even if their work is physically located at the University, such as employees of University of Minnesota Physicians, are not eligible for these services. Volunteers, fellows, or other individuals who work with the University, but are not paid by the University, are generally not eligible for services.
Reason for Policy
This administrative policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Conflict Resolution Process for Employees (PDF). This framework for resolution of workplace conflicts promotes early resolution of workplace conflicts and promotes the engagement of valued University faculty, P&A, Civil Service, and student employees.