Faculty Senate

The Senate Can Help Faculty Resolve Disputes

The Faculty Senate can contribute to “dispute resolution” for Brandeis faculty (Faculty Handbook Section VII). Formal University policies for resolving disputes regarding are described in the Handbook and Support at Brandeis. Informal resolution is far superior for targets and that’s where the Senate can help.

The Senate recommends that faculty members consult the Ombuds before any dispute. The Ombuds is “a confidential, independent, impartial, and informal resource  … [that]  support[s] the dignity, well-being and safety of each person who visits us by providing a safe space to talk confidentially and off the record about difficult situations and offer conflict resolution support.”

The Senate: The Senate is happy to provide information or attempt an informal resolution. If formal Brandeis dispute resolution procedures do not produce a satisfactory resolution the Senate will, in justified cases, provide further support. Contact the Senate Chair directly.

Workplace abuse. Faculty subject to workplace abuse are recommended to contact the Senate for assistance.

Workplace abuse is power abuse that is not motivated by a target’s protected characteristics such as race, religion, gender, or disability. It is also known as “generalized harassment” or “workplace bullying.” Such conduct is legal in the US but not in other advanced countries.

At least one third of workers in the United States experience workplace abuse during their careers. Unfortunately, extensive research confirms that the practices and grievance procedures adopted by the vast majority of US employers backfire: they typically protect abusers rather than targets and thereby promote abuse. Brandeis adopts standard practices and grievance procedures. The Ombuds reports that community members commonly express “concern about policies and retaliation for using formal processes to report harassment” (Ombuds report, p. 3).

The accompanying discussion of Workplace Abuse should help the community identify workplace abuse and address it. Additional information and citations to the underlying research can be found in this survey of the literature.