At the Wednesday meeting of the Employee Forum, members addressed a change to a University policy that added intimidation and bullying as grounds for submitting a complaint.
The delegates said there has been a noticeable increase in the number of complaints since the amendment’s passage. But they said they aren’t sure the change to the policy’s language was the spark.
“You have to look at the context of the situation,” said Wayne Blair, the University’s ombudsman.
“We added intimidation to the policy and intimidation leaves a bit of a gray area when it comes to complaints,” he added.
The changes were revisited at the forum’s Wednesday meeting during which the University’s human resources department addressed whether the policy change was being abused by employees.
“I said in the meeting that I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of filings had come up and HR did indeed confirm that and acknowledged what I believe they said was a significant rise,” said Blair, who, like many delegates, was unsure of when the change occurred.
“We felt that people were using these formal processes to deal with informal problems. They were either defending themselves in the workplace or bringing another employee down.”
James Holman, housekeeper and Employee Forum delegate, said he doesn’t know many details about the complaint policy’s original change, but he has noticed that a few arguments led to official complaints that might not have been pursued before the grounds for complaints changed.
“I know of a couple of incidents where a verbal disagreement led to an employee being fired, but then was re-hired,” Holman said.