Help for workplace concerns

If you need help with a workplace issue, the Office of the Ombuds, available at both UPC and HSC, is likely your best first stop. This is a safe place for employees (and students) to navigate policies, issues, concerns, and conflicts without fear of reprisal or judgment. The ombuds offices are equipped to address a wide variety of issues including those related to organizational culture, change management, interpersonal relationships, ethical concerns, perceived unfairness or incivility, behavioral or stylistic differences in the workplace, or questions on university policy or procedures. Here are some examples of the types of concerns you can bring to the ombuds:

  • Faculty might bring issues relating to departmental governance, interpersonal issues with colleagues, or concerns about students
  • Staff might raise issues relating to workplace climate, the managerial style of their supervisors, or perceptions of unfairness in workload or shift assignment
  • Managers or administrators might seek the ombuds in exploring various communication strategies to ease strained relationships with employees in their reporting line, or to seek advice on dealing with high stress situations

If you’re considering whether to formally report an issue – for instance, to the Office of Professionalism and Ethics, or one of its sub-units, like the Title IX Office – you may want to talk to an ombuds first to weigh various options. Note that sharing information with the ombuds does not “let the university know” about an issue or concern – the ombuds service is a confidential problem-solving resource. The ombuds office does not investigate or adjudicate issues, but it will help you find the offices who will, if you decide you do wish to report something through formal channels.

Ultimately, the ombuds office exists to strengthen university culture with a commitment to dispute resolution, problem-solving, and workplace wellness. All services are free, voluntary, and again, confidential. You may schedule an appointment via email or phone:

UPC
upcombuds@usc.edu
(213) 821-9556

HSC
hscombuds@usc.edu
(323) 442-0341

You may also use the Employee Gateway’s What’s happening at USC form to express a concern – anonymously, if you wish.

Student-related concerns

At times you may be approached by students you manage or interact with. A wealth of resources exist for students, and you or your student can visit the Student Affairs site for information.

If a student comes to you with concerns about sexual misconduct, you may wish to refer to this best practices guide for compassionate conversations.