Anti-Retaliation, Confidentiality & Anonymity
All University employees should work without fear or without threat of retaliation if they, in good faith (i.e. holding a genuine belief in the truth of one’s allegations), and based on a reasonable belief that improper conduct has occurred, make complaints of improper conduct to University management or in accordance with the Respect@UVa complaint procedure or assist or participate in the complaint process.
Retaliation may exist when individuals opposing certain workplace misconduct are kept from, penalized for or have their employment materially altered as a direct result of such opposition.
Retaliation against employees making complaints of mistreatment or abuse can damage employee engagement and commitment, and seriously undermine the ethical culture of the University.
Managers against whom complaints have been lodged should never react in anger to such allegations or behave in any way that could be construed to be retaliatory.
Retaliation may exist even if the underlying complaint is found to be without merit.
The University takes all allegations of retaliation seriously. Any allegation of retaliation should be reported immediately to Human Resources Consulting Services (982-0123) or through the Respect@UVa Complaint System.
Examples of retaliation:
Employment actions such as denial of promotion and termination.
Other actions affecting employment such as threats, unjustified negative evaluations, or increased surveillance.
Unfounded civil or criminal charges that are likely to deter reasonable people from pursuing their rights.
Actions designed to interfere with the individual's prospects for employment, such as giving an unjustified negative job reference, refusing to provide a job reference, and informing an individual's prospective employer about the individual's protected activity.
All complaints of disrespect, bullying or other examples of abuse or mistreatment will be handled by University management, UHR, FEAP, EOP, and all other relevant administrative offices with appropriate respect, seriousness, and discretion.
Only those individuals with a “need to know” will be contacted and provided with sensitive information to the extent necessary to resolve the complaint adequately.
Only 2 University offices can offer complete confidentiality:
University Ombudsman’s Office
Faculty & Employee Assistance Program (FEAP)
All other University offices have a responsibility to take appropriate action when made aware of inappropriate behavior, for example:
Human Resources Offices
the Respectful Workplace Complaint System
Supervisors and Managers
Complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed because notification of inappropriate behavior puts the University “on notice” and requires that the University take action. This practice should not discourage the reporting of disrespectful behavior; it is to ensure that disrespect is neither tolerated nor enabled.
Employees are strongly encouraged to report all incidences of mistreatment or abuse, including bullying, to their supervisors or to utilize the employee complaint system. It is difficult to fully and fairly investigate a complaint without the employee complainant (or a person witnessing such behaviors targeted at another) being available for questioning. The University is committed to safeguarding all employees willing to come forward from retaliation or reprisal.
Those employees who are the target of mistreatment, or who witness the mistreatment of others, and who for reasons of personal security, are reluctant to file a complaint, may make anonymous complaints, either by using the employee complaint system to print out a paper complaint, or by reporting such incidences to their supervisors by mail or other method that does not identify themselves to the recipient of the complaint. Anonymous complaints will be logged and accumulated with all other complaints for reporting purposes and to identify trends that may develop over time. However, the University cannot typically conduct investigations based on anonymous complaints because there is not enough information to proceed. It is difficult to identify witnesses or to follow up with questions when the complainant is not known.