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Workplace Issues

Workplace Issues

At Penn, our employees are our most critical asset—and we’re committed to promoting a fair and supportive working environment.

When thousands of people from diverse backgrounds work together, workplace issues inevitably occur. These issues are often misunderstandings that can be quickly resolved through better communication. But there can also be more complex disputes that require the intervention of trained resources.

Penn offers a variety of resources that can help you resolve issues, maintain effective working relationships, and ensure that the University’s policies are applied equitably. Staff and Labor Relations professionals in the Division of Human Resources and school/center human resources professionals are vital resources to staff and managers to help resolve workplace concerns.

Open Communication Philosophy

Penn has an open communication philosophy. Staff members are encouraged to proactively discuss workplace issues or conflict with their direct manager. This is the usually the quickest way to address and resolve workplace issues. If talking to the direct manager does not effectively resolve a matter, the staff member may address the issue with the next level of supervision. At times, staff may feel it is more effective to initially address concerns with a higher level of supervision. Staff are encouraged to communicate their issues with managers in the supervisory chain of command, and managers at all levels should encourage staff to freely discuss workplace concerns with them. It is a good practice for managers from time to time to proactively ask staff members, in their regularly scheduled meetings, if they are encountering any workplace challenges.

It is important to proactively address workplace issues and conflict as soon as possible. Identifying and addressing workplace issues in a timely manner promotes a more productive work environment. Workplace issues that go unaddressed can escalate and become more challenging to resolve. Avoiding conflict may result in low productivity, low staff morale, staff turnover, and absenteeism and more formal complaints such as grievances, lawsuits and formal complaints.

Workplace Issue Resolution Program

The Workplace Issue Resolution Program provides support to managers and staff to help resolve work-related issues. It helps you work through a problem at an early stage and address misunderstandings that can cause a communication breakdown. The program has several options, including open communication with management, facilitated/conference meetings, and mediation. 

Staff Grievance Procedure

Most workplace issues at Penn are resolved informally by direct interaction with management or using one of the Workplace Issue Resolution Program options. The Staff Grievance Procedure is designed to provide for the fair and equitable resolution of concerns related to terms or conditions of employment that are not resolved to the staff member’s satisfaction within the school or administrative unit. Most workplace issues at Penn are resolved informally by direct interaction with management or using one of the Workplace Issue Resolution Program options.