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About Us

Ombuds Office Foundational Documents

Ombuds Office Charter

The goal of the Ombuds Office is to help the College community manage conflict constructively and cooperatively, and to support positive change. The Ombuds Office supplements rather than replaces other formal administrative processes within the College.

Managing conflict constructively stimulates teamwork and innovation and enhances employee engagement. The Ombuds Office provides a versatile set of tools to enable employees to resolve individual problems as they arise; de-escalates conflicts and minimizes negative consequences for the institution; and reveals broader systemic concerns along with strategies for addressing them constructively.

The Ombuds Office will provide a place where members of the Montgomery College community can voluntarily seek guidance or assistance in resolving disputes or concerns through a confidential, neutral, informal, impartial and independent resource without fear of retaliation or loss of privacy. The Ombuds Office assists employees by providing information and collaboratively developing strategies and options that address concerns or challenges in productive and positive ways.

As a second responsibility, the Ombuds Office also provides feedback to the College’s senior administration and may provide the College with trending information about issues detrimental to employee engagement.

The Ombuds is an advocate for a fair process and does not represent employees or the College.

The functions of the Ombuds Office include (but are not limited to):
  • Providing a safe and confidential forum to surface individual, group and systemic problems;
  • Listening to and helping clarify employee concerns;
  • Helping identify underlying issues and interests;
  • Providing information and exploring possible options available to the employee; Where voluntarily agreed to by all involved parties, facilitating discussions to resolve issues, if appropriate;
  • Collecting general data on emerging trends and patterns in the College; Evaluating and analyzing trending information and making systemic recommendations for change.


The Ombuds Office functions independently with respect to issue handling and management, reporting to the Office of the President for administrative and budgetary purposes only. The Ombuds Office is not affiliated with any compliance function of the College and therefore does not serve as an agent of notice for the College.

The Ombuds Office will produce annual reports, which will be presented to the President and made available to the College community.


The Ombuds Office operates in accordance with the International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The Ombuds Office shall ensure that the office functions according to the Standards of Practices and the core values of independence, impartiality/neutrality, confidentiality, and informality. These Standards of Practice will govern the way in which the Ombuds works to resolve issues and makes recommendations for the general improvement of the organization.


The Ombuds Office has the authority to discuss a range of options available to the employee, including both informal and formal processes.

The services of the Ombuds Office supplement rather than replace formal resources for the Office of Equity and Diversity, collective bargaining units or other compliance units’ grievances such as those of the Office of Human Resources, Development and Engagement.

The Ombuds Office may, without having received a specific complaint from a member of the College community, act on its own discretion and initiate inquiries concerning matters the Ombuds Office believes warrant attention.

The Ombuds Office will have access to employee records for the purpose of facilitating a particular situation and for analyzing information in order to make systemic recommendations for change.

The Ombuds Office may decline to inquire into a matter or may withdraw from a case if the Ombuds believes involvement is inappropriate for any reason, including a matter not brought in good faith or which appears to be a misuse of the Ombuds function.

The Ombuds Office has the authority to break confidence only if the Ombuds believes there is an imminent risk of serious harm.

The Ombuds Office may require legal or other professional advice, from time to time, in order to fulfill its required functions. The Ombuds Office will be provided legal counsel independent from the College in the event a conflict of interest arises between the Ombuds Office and the administration or the College.

Limitations on the Authority of the Ombuds Office

The Ombuds Office will publicize its non-notice role to the College, which will clearly articulate that communication to the Ombuds Office does not constitute notice to the College. This includes allegations that may be perceived to be violations of laws, regulations, or policies, such as sexual harassment or incidents subject to reporting under the Clery Act. Because the Ombuds does not function as part of the administration of the College, even if the Ombuds becomes aware of such allegations, the Ombuds is not required to report them to the College. If an employee would like to put the College on notice regarding a specific situation, or wishes for information to be provided to the College, the Ombuds will provide the employee with information so that the employee may do so himself/herself.

Collective Bargaining Agreements

The Ombuds Office will not address any issues arising under a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”), unless allowed by specific language in the CBA. This means that while the Ombuds Office may provide services to union members, those services may not include addressing issues that are covered in the CBA, including, but not limited to, issues such as grievable claims for termination of employment or formal discipline. In those cases, the Ombuds will refer the employee to the CBA and to their union representative. The Ombuds Office may work with union members regarding all other issues not covered by the contracts, such as communication issues with coworkers.

Formal Processes and Investigations

The Ombuds Office will not conduct formal investigations of any kind. The Office also will not participate in formal dispute processes or outside agency complaints or lawsuits, either on behalf of an employee who uses the Ombuds Office or on behalf of the College. Because confidentiality and informality are critically important to the Ombuds Office, all communications with the Office are made with the understanding that they are confidential, off-the-record, and that no one from the Office will be called to testify as a witness in any formal or legal proceeding and cannot be compelled to reveal confidential communications.

Adjudication of Issues

The Ombuds Offices does not have authority to adjudicate, impose remedies or sanctions, or to enforce or change policies or rules.

Conflict of Interest

The Ombuds Office will avoid involvement in cases where there may be a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest occurs when the Ombuds’ private interests, real or perceived, supersede or compete with his or her dedication to the impartial and independent nature of the role of the Ombuds. When a real or perceived conflict exists, the Ombuds should take all steps necessary to disclose and/or to avoid the conflict.
39001 College Ombuds Policy & Procedure


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The ombuds is the designated neutral who provides a safe and confidential forum to surface individual or group employee issues. The ombuds listens and helps clarify employee concerns and interests, provides information, and explores possible options available to the employee. The ombuds is an advocate for a fair process and does not advocate or represent employees or the College administration.
  • Provides a safe and confidential forum to surface individual and group issues;
  • Listens to and helps clarify employee concerns;
  • Helps identify underlying issues and interests;
  • Provides information and explores possible options available;
  • Where voluntarily agreed to by all involved parties, facilitates discussions to resolve issues, if appropriate;
  • Collects and evaluates data on emerging trends and patterns at the College and making recommendations for systemic change through an annual report.

The IOA Code of Ethics requires ombudsman to be truthful, act with integrity, foster respect for all members of the community served, and to promote procedural fairness within the organization. The ethical principles are as follows:

  • INDEPENDENCE: The Ombudsman is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization.
  • NEUTRALITY AND IMPARTIALITY: The Ombudsman, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsman does not engage in any situation that could create a conflict of interest.
  • CONFIDENTIALITY: The Ombudsman holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
  • INFORMALITY: The Ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.

The IOA Standards of Practice provide additional guidance on ombuds best practices. The Office Charter under which the Montgomery College Office of the Ombuds operates incorporates both the IOA Code of Ethics and IOA Standards of Practice, and may be reviewed at Montgomery College Office of the Ombuds.

Any employee of Montgomery College, faculty, staff, administrators, including temporary and student employees, may contact the ombuds to discuss a work related issue or concern.

Ombuds services are informal and supplement and complement the work of other offices. They are not intended to replace any formal processes and the Office of the Ombuds is not responsible for administering any Montgomery College programs or processes.

Several offices at the College are involved in the resolution of employee- related issues, including the Office of Human Resources and Strategic Talent Management (HRSTM). HRSTM and other offices at the College are tasked with certain responsibilities to the organization, particularly in regard to notice and compliance.

The ombuds is not affiliated with any compliance function and operates independently with respect to issue handling and management. The ombuds reports directly to the Office of the President for administrative and budget purposes. Communications with the ombuds are confidential and are not shared without the explicit permission of the employee. The only exception to confidentiality is where the ombuds believes there is a risk of serious harm.

The best way to contact the office is by sending an email to Please do not include any confidential information in the email, simply make a request to schedule an appointment. Alternatively, you may leave a voicemail at 240-234-0567 and request an appointment.
To protect the anonymity of visitors, ombuds services are available by appointment only.
To contact the Office of the Ombuds, please email or call 240-234-0567.