Important processes

2.5 Dealing with Complaints and Problems Concerning Faculty Members

Any complaints received at the University of Ottawa are always dealt with in accordance to the provisions of the collective agreement for the responding party. When the responding party is a regular full-time professor, the APUO Collective Agreement provides the procedures to be followed.

Many different types of conflict may arise in the workplace that must be dealt with. By far the most frequently, and the most challenging, are personality conflicts. Though they may be very time consuming, as Chair you can take steps to try and mediate and resolve these conflicts at the departmental level. However, once a complaint – be it formal or informal – is made against a faculty member, this must dealt with by the Dean, and you should forward the complaint and any accompanying documentation accordingly.

Complaints of harassment and discrimination are handled by uOttawa’s Human Rights Office. Should you receive any complaints from, or engage in any discussions with, individuals who believe they have been subject to harassment and/or discrimination, you should advise this individual to contact the Human Rights Office directly.

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the University of Ottawa is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free from harassment, sexual harassment and/or discrimination. When a complaint is filed with the Human Rights Office, there may be times when it is necessary to put in place interim measures in order to stabilize the situation while an investigation is ongoing and pending the outcome of the complaint. Such arrangements shall be made in collaboration with the Human Rights Office, union representatives and the Dean, but the responsibility to ensure the enforcement of, and adherence to, the measures by the parties involved may fall unto you.

As Chair, you are responsible to respond to, and when possible – resolve, any inter-personal problems and to maintain harmony in the department. If the behaviours of a faculty member are unprofessional or unacceptable (e.g., plagiarism, email spam and conflict of interest), it is your responsibility to address the matter with that faculty member. It is not reasonable to expect the behaviours to stop if it has not been brought to the individual’s attention. Should the behaviours persist or be of such a nature that disciplinary action required, it is your responsibility to bring the matter to the attention of the Dean.

You should not be fearful of repercussions as a result of a discussion with a faculty member regarding their behaviour. If she is unhappy or feels that you, as Chair, have acted in a manner which she deems unacceptable or as having infringed upon her rights, it is her right to file a complaint with the Dean. The Dean is then responsible to respond to such a complaint in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the APUO Collective Agreement.

You can find more information about the processes related to complaints against faculty members in articles 8.2 and 39 of the APUO Collective Agreement.

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