Employee Relations

The University of West Florida is committed to promoting positive environments and relationships by focusing on good management practices and workplace behaviors. The university's goal continues to be a proactive approach towards maintaining positive communication among employees, supervisors, and managers in order to minimize the occurrence of employee relations problems. When problems do occur, Human Resources is there to provide assistance and guidance from the onset of the problem.

The university offers counsel and guidance within the framework of University policies and regulations, and State and Federal laws. Our mission is to achieve an end result that is in the best interest of both the employee and the university. We are here to assist you!

Be assured that the university will maintain confidentiality to every extent possible and consistent with legal requirements. However, if the matter involves unlawful activity or conduct, or is critical to UWF operations, information may be shared on a need-to-know basis or where UWF policies require notification. The Employee Relations team offers you:

  • Confidential consultations to discuss and resolve workplace problems
  • Assistance with employee counseling
  • Guidance and training on employee performance discussions and the evaluation process
  • Coaching for improved employee performance
  • Step by step assistance throughout the disciplinary process
  • Guidance to both the employee and the supervisor throughout the probationary period
  • Clarification, interpretation and advice on policies, regulations and applicable employment laws
  • Assistance and guidance to both employees and supervisors throughout the layoff process
  • Coaching and guidance in conflict resolution and mediation
  • Understanding of the policies and processes for work hours, leave time, and extended medical absences
  • Guidance in collective bargaining issues
  • Administration of the grievance process
  • Employee Relations Symposium

University Work Force Disciplinary Procedures - Standards of Conduct

University Work Force employees are expected to adhere to specified performance standards in the performance of their duties and comply with federal and state laws and regulations, as well as UWF policies and procedures.

Standards of conduct, for University Work Force employees, are outlined in University Policy HR-22.00 "Standards of Conduct," and include: Time Management, Work Effort, and Work Station; Performance of Duties; Property Rights; Personal Rights; Safety Practices; Upholding Laws, Rules and Ordinances; Compliance with UWF Rules, Regulations, Policies, and Procedures.

Employee work deficiencies and breaches of good conduct will be managed in a timely and equitable manner consistent with the Standards of Conduct Policy. Standards of Conduct which employees are expected to meet are established in this policy and employees who fail to meet these Standards of Conduct may have corrective action taken in accordance with the established ranges of discipline. Such corrective action is to be constructive, applied in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner, and used for the purpose of motivating the employee to meet the university's established Standards of Conduct. For more information, please refer to UWF Policy HR-22.00.

For more information and further assistance on employee relation matters and the disciplinary process, please call Jamie Sprague at 850-474-2156.

UWF Ombudspersons

A UWF Faculty Ombudsperson is a neutral, internal resource who promotes early intervention to reduce the negative consequences of conflict. The Faculty Ombudsperson’s primary duty is to work with individuals and groups to assist them in identifying options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues and concerns in an equitable way. The Ombudsperson will also bring systemic concerns to the attention of university administration for resolution. The Ombudsperson will provide confidentiality to the extent permitted by Florida law.

Faculty Ombudsperson
Chula King

Student Ombudsperson
Dr. Vannee Cao Nguyen

Staff Ombudsperson
LaBratta Epting

What does an Ombudsperson do?

Activities and functions most frequently undertaken by an ombudsperson include, but are not limited to:

  • Listen and understand issues while remaining neutral with respect to the facts. The ombudsperson doesn’t listen to judge or to decide who is right or wrong. The ombudsperson listens to understand the issue from the perspective of the individual.
  • Assist in reframing issues, illuminating the context, facts, and feelings that might be overlooked, developing options, and helping individuals evaluate options.
  • Provide guidance and support for the individual to facilitate effective discussion with other parties, such as helping colleagues and/or supervisors consider options that may resolve a dispute in a fair way.
  • Help individuals improve their skills and their confidence in expressing their concerns directly. For example, helping individuals collect and analyze their own information, helping individuals draft a letter about their concerns, coaching and role playing to help individuals to engage in effective problem-solving.
  • Refer individuals to other formal organizational resources that can potentially resolve the issue.
  • Assist in guiding issues to formal resolution channels. When an individual is unable or unwilling to pursue a concern directly, the ombudsperson can assist by helping communicate the concern and/or creating an awareness of the issue among appropriate decision-makers in the university.
  • Informally research a problem, such as checking for new policies or other sources of information that might be pertinent to the individual’s concerns.
  • Identify new issues and opportunities for systemic change for the University.

What does an Ombudsperson not do?

Because of the informal, neutral and independent positioning of an Ombudsperson, the Ombudsperson typically does not undertake the following roles or activities:

  • Participate in formal investigations or play any role, such as advocate, witness, arbitrator, or judge in a formal conflict resolution process.
  • Conduct hearings or render, affirm, or overturn decisions.
  • Make managerial decisions about a grievance or conflict.
  • Receive notice, such as a formal complaint, for the university.
  • Create or maintain records or reports with confidential or identifying information for the university.