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The University of Texas at Dallas

Conflict Resolution

The University of Texas at Dallas relies on all employees to work together cooperatively to ensure the successful mission of the University.

The University also recognizes that employees will sometimes experience workplace conflict which, if unresolved, is detrimental to the employee and the University. It is understood that in any organization, conditions will develop and misunderstandings will arise. In most cases, such problems and differences can be settled as part of the day-to-day routine. Sometimes, however, the conflict will not go away. If unresolved, the conflict impacts employee morale, productivity and the positive environment we all need in order to do our jobs effectively.

The University of Texas at Dallas is committed to creating a workplace culture characterized by respect and dignity for all University employees. Employee Relations staff provide assistance and consultation designed to identify and resolve workplace conflicts. The resolution process used at UT Dallas is described below.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is a process where parties in conflict (e.g., employee to employee, employee to supervisor) work in a mutual effort to understand and resolve the conflict in an appropriate and professional manner. Some employees opt for a formal grievance process as a means of settling conflict and interpersonal differences.  However, if comfortable, the informal process described here provides employees with another option to address issues and concerns without the requirement to follow a structured process.

Where to start

Conflicts often involve communication problems, so a good place to start with almost any work related conflict is to listen to the other party and try to understand the issue from their point of view. After listening, communicate your point of view so that they understand your perspective. Often times another opinion can help you see all sides of an issue, an agreement can be reached when all parties work cooperatively toward a solution based on a shared understanding of the issue.

Where to go next

If your attempts to resolve the issue directly with the person(s) involved were unsuccessful, or you do not feel comfortable approaching them to seek a resolution, work with your leadership to address your concerns. You can reach out to your supervisor for guidance on how to approach the person(s), or ask them to be involved in the conversation. In the event you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor, or if the conflict involves them, then reach out to your next-level supervisor for guidance.

Successful conflict resolution begins with the awareness that conflicts exist, and the acknowledgment that previous efforts to ignore or address it have failed. Ideally, this awareness takes place on both sides of the conflict. Successful resolution requires both parties to be open and honest about the conflict and be willing to engage in an open conversation in good faith.

Facilitation

Employee Relations staff are available to work with employees, supervisors and departments to facilitate formal or informal discussions designed to clarify issues, improve communication, repair misunderstandings and restore productivity.

The Employee Relations staff are neutral and have no vested interest other than helping the parties work toward a mutually acceptable outcome. The Employee Relations staff help guide the conversation for the individuals involved to explore issues, express feelings, discuss interests and identify possible solutions. 

The Formal Process

While most complaints can be resolved informally, at times, it may be helpful to seek assistance outside of the parties directly involved.

Employee Relations staff can assist individuals and groups with:

  • Setting Goals
  • Clarifying Expectations
  • Reaching Consensus
  • Establishing Accountability
  • Facilitating Understanding
  • Mediating Agreements

Employee Relations staff can also assist employees and supervisors with the formal grievance process by:

  • Consulting with employees and supervisors about the grievance policy and procedures, and discussing complaint resolution options.
  • Explaining the timelines associated with the grievance process.
  • Providing assurance that employees are heard and that processes are followed.

Employee Relations staff will maintain confidentiality in a manner consistent with State and Federal regulations. Some issues may require further investigation or consultation with other campus departments. In such cases, information will only be shared with other individuals on a need-to-know basis.

Discrimination Complaints

At UT Dallas we appreciate and foster the many advantages that come from working in a diverse community where everyone is treated equitably, with dignity and respect. This means that no person will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity sponsored or conducted by the University because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, citizenship, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity.

Employees who reach out to Employee Relations with concerns of discrimination at UT Dallas will be referred to the Office of Institutional Compliance, Equity, and Title IX Initiatives (ICET), who is charged with conducting investigations into such allegations.

What to do if you think you may be experiencing discrimination:

Sexual Harassment Complaints

You have a right to an educational or work environment free from bias, intimidation, hostility, or retaliation. UT Dallas is committed to the principle that the learning and working environment of our students, employees, and guests will be free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and it is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

UTD's Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to administrators, regular and temporary faculty members, teaching and research assistants, regular and temporary staff members, and students. It applies to actions and behaviors that affect any employee, student or guest of UT Dallas.

The Office of Institutional Compliance, Equity, and Title IX Initiatives (ICET) investigates allegations of sexual harassment. Employees who share concerns regarding behaviors that fall under the scope of the Sexual Misconduct policy will be referred to ICET.

What to do if you think you may be experiencing sexual harassment:

UT Dallas encourages prompt reporting of any incidents involving sexual harassment and understands that employees may benefit from speaking to a trusted individual who can help support them through this process. Keep in mind that, per UTD policy and in compliance with Title IX Guidelines, UT Dallas employees may be considered "Responsible Employees" who have the duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct. Please refer to Employee Mandatory Reporting Requirements. If you do not feel comfortable sharing your concerns with those who fall under the Responsible Employee classification, you may share Information with UT Dallas employees who are subject to confidentiality laws or non-UTD affiliated Individuals and organizations. These resources include:

    • Counselors at the Student Counseling Center, the Galerstein Gender Center, and Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    • Healthcare professionals at the Student Health Center
    • Off-campus resources such as your health care provider or counselor, clergyperson, a rape crisis resource center, or domestic violence shelter.

Other Work-Related Complaints

Non-Compliance and Unethical Behavior

The University of Texas at Dallas Institutional Compliance Program is intended to demonstrate in the clearest possible terms the commitment of UT Dallas to the highest ethical standards and compliance with all applicable laws, policies, rules and regulations. The Program direction is provided by a system-wide, executive-level Compliance Committee representing all major compliance areas. The UT System Compliance Officer is responsible for the execution of the program. Each UT System component institution has a compliance officer and a Compliance Committee.

The Ethics and Compliance Hotline provides a confidential way for the campus community to report instances of suspected non-compliance or unethical behavior outside the normal chain of command. This may include financial matters such as fraud, theft of University assets, or conflicts of interest; and other misconduct or violations of UT Dallas or UT System policy. Normal administrative methods, such as talking to your supervisor, are still important first-line approaches for reporting questionable activities. However, the hotline is available whenever conventional channels are unknown or unacceptable, or an employee wishes to remain anonymous.

Unsafe Work Conditions or Environment

The University of Texas at Dallas is committed to supporting campus-wide safety and environmental programs. These programs are supported by the Office of Research Integrity and Outreach. The Research and Academic Safety team is available to provide assistance in hazard recognition, assessment, and mitigation, as well support for emergency preparedness.  Our goal is to ensure that our campus community has the tools needed to perform safely each day in our laboratories, academic programs, campus activities, and community.

Concerns regarding work or environmental conditions should be directed to the Research and Academic Safety Office at 972-883-7200 or [email protected].