In each IntegrityStar edition, we highlight some frequently asked questions. In this eleventh edition, we offer the following questions and answers regarding raising concerns using management’s open door policy.
The FAQs provide general guidelines for all employees. For more specific guidance, please contact the appropriate office, or University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk at 407-823-6263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions and Answers
The other day an employee stopped me in the hallway to raise a very serious ethical concern. I didn’t want to put her off, so I let her talk right there in the hallway. Was this the right thing to do?
Serious ethical concerns should be handled as quickly as possible but should be discussed in a more confidential setting. You could ask the employee to step into your office, or a conference room, or somewhere away from the hallway traffic so that you could listen attentively and gather the facts. After your discussion, you could call University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk or other university resource for further assistance, if necessary.
I think a co-worker is involved in an investigation of wrongdoing. My manager asked me unofficially to tell him what I knew about the situation. Do I need to answer his questions?
No. When an investigation is launched, you should become involved only when you are officially asked to do so by the university’s designated investigators. Your manager should not be asking you any “unofficial” questions. Contact University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk or the investigative office you are working with for assistance with this matter.
As a manager, I am concerned that we’re making too much of the “open door” idea. What if people start looking for problems just so they can report them?
The best way to avoid problems is to create an atmosphere where it’s okay to bring up any issue as soon as it becomes a concern. Although people may occasionally raise issues that turn out not to be actual issues, any topic that is a valid concern for an employee deserves discussion and should be raised.
One of my co-workers is the kind of person who always has something to say. My manager always takes the time to listen. Why doesn’t my manager just tell this person to be quiet and stop complaining?
Probably because your manager knows that it’s important to remain open to every issue and complaint. If any of our employees feel “shut down,” all of us risk letting important issues slide. If this is a performance issue, your manager will deal with the employee directly.