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Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution Services

Human Resources staff is available to assist with many types of conflict resolution. We offer assistance to the campus community in the following areas:

  • Workplace conflict
  • Mediation
  • Disciplinary action
  • Complaint procedure
  • Bullying Solutions
  • Grievance procedure

A member of the Human Resources staff is available to speak with any staff member in need of assistance in any of these areas. For more information, please contact Human Resources at 865-974-6642.

Mediation Services

Human Resources coordinates mediation for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus. Mediation is a process in which neutral parties facilitate communication and negotiation to help people resolve and/or manage their differences.

Mediation is different than and separate from Disciplinary Action and/or the Complaint Procedure.

If you have a conflict you believe may be resolved through the facilitation of a mediator, please contact Human Resources at 865-974-6642.

University Ombudspersons

The ombudsperson program is designed to provide an independent, impartial, confidential and informal resource and the process is an alternative to university’s formal complaint and grievance procedure for staff, as well as the administrative and Faculty Senate process for faculty. An ombudsperson does not serve as an advocate for the faculty or staff member or the university, but as a supporter of fair practices. For more information, visit the Ombudspersons website.

Disciplinary Actions

The goal of progressive discipline is to identify problem behavior and take corrective action.

When necessary, Employee Relations assists departments in implementing disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment. Employee Relations assists departments with:

  • assessing the specific incident or behavior in question;
  • determining what, if any, disciplinary action is appropriate; and
  • documenting the action taken.

For assistance in any of these areas, please contact Human Resources at 865-974-6642. For more information, visit the Disciplinary Action Policy HR0525.

Complaints

A complaint is defined as an employee’s expression of alleged unfair or inequitable treatment with respect to the application of policies, procedures, and regulations which they have been unable to resolve with their immediate supervisor. For the purpose of this complaint procedure, an employee is defined as both exempt and non-exempt staff.

The following issues or concerns will not be addressed through the complaint process, as these issues have a defined mechanism to address an employee’s concerns. Those not included are: job classification, pay, workers’ compensation matters, terminations during the probationary period, terminations accomplished in accordance with the Reduction in Force (RIF) policy, court-ordered terminations, terminations for inadequate work performance or gross misconduct, and complaints alleging discrimination (including claims of racial and/or sexual harassment) in work assignments, employment opportunities, or conditions of work.

Complaint Procedure and Form

Bullying Solutions

UTK values the well-being of its employees and recognizes that bullying in the workplace can significantly impact a person’s dignity and their physical and mental health. Hence, UTK is committed to maintaining a healthy educational and work environment. All employees, as well as those interacting with employees in the course of UTK’s operations, have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. As part of an overall effort to have a positive work culture, UTK prohibits employees from engaging in bullying.

The Office of Ombuds services receives visitors who may wish to discuss concerns related to bullying, or to pursue an informal solution. The Office of Equity and Diversity may receive visitors who perceive that their experiences concern matters related to protected class. Human Resources assists individuals who may wish to pursue formal solutions.

Bullying Incident Formal Complaint Form

Grievances (Non-Exempt Staff)

Only matters defined as grievances in Policy HR0640 are grievable. Matters not grievable include, but are not limited to, the following: job classification, pay, workers’ compensation matters, performance evaluations, written and verbal warnings, terminations during the probationary period, terminations accomplished in accordance with the Reduction in Force policy and procedure statements, court-ordered terminations, and challenges to the content of university policy or procedure.

Grievances alleging discrimination (including claims of racial and sexual harassment) must be addressed first through the campus discrimination complaint Policy HR0220. The procedure outlined below is available to an employee only if the resolution through the discrimination complaint procedure is not satisfactory to the employee.

Grievance Form with Procedure

For more information, visit Policy HR0640 on Grievances.