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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

What We Will Do and What We Will Not Do


What We Will Do

  • Listen. Oftentimes it is helpful for an employee to merely use the Ombudsman as a sounding board to help clarify the issues, disentangle complicated situations, and prioritize concerns.
  • Assist parties in conflict to obtain a mutually acceptable resolution. An Ombudsman is an independent, neutral, confidential, and informal resource that allows employees to resolve disputes from a neutral, independent viewpoint.
  • Remain free from control or interference of any employee in carrying out their duties.
  • Provide an environment where employees and managers can present issues in a non-threatening forum.
  • Encourage open and effective communication between and among all managers and employees to discuss and resolve issues affecting the Department.
  • Consider all sides in an impartial and objective way.
  • Provide an impartial third party to assist in identifying the causes of work-related concerns and issues.
  • Act, with permission of the employee, as an intermediary to clarify issues and initiate problem-solving solutions, including facilitating a mediation session.
  • Help develop fair solutions to complex and difficult problems.
  • Help raise and resolve issues of concern or complaints regarding workplace conflict.
  • Help forge better relations among disputing parties.
  • Provide access to applicable guidelines and policies, or facilitate communication with other services or appropriate administrative units.
  • Discuss potential situations and “role-play” methods, approaches, and strategies for a pending meeting, as well as suggest constructive approaches to handle difficult situations.
  • Periodically report to management on problem areas and trends within the organization so that such issues can be addressed through policies and procedures.

What We Will Not Do

  • The Ombudsman will not be your advocate.
  • The Ombudsman will not automatically take your side in a complaint.
  • The Ombudsman is not a deciding official.
  • The Ombudsman will not direct a certain action be taken.
  • The Ombudsman will not replace the appeal (statutory, regulatory, and/or administrative) process.

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