New Website Offers Resources for Respectful Workplace

The site offers employees information about where to go for help if they encounter uncivil behavior.

The Department of Human Resources, in collaboration with the Something’s Happening committee, has created a website focusing on resources for a respectful workplace, replete with posters, links to departments that can help UConn employees who feel they are being targeted, and links to University policies.

The Resources for a Respectful Workplace website is an outgrowth of the Something’s Happening committee, a group comprised of administrators, union representatives, and two faculty members with expertise in the area, that was formed two years ago after a number of employees from the clerical and maintenance unions approached the University about feeling bullied and harassed.

“We were talking about how to build a respectful work environment where employees can effectively speak up about harassment, bullying, and generally inappropriate behavior,” says Donna Munroe, vice president for human resources and payroll. “We agreed that we needed to approach the issue from several different vantage points and to institutionalize the effort.”

Consequently, the Something’s Happening committee was formed, discussions ensued, and several workshops were held last April for CEUI and AFSCME, the maintenance and clerical unions. Two more workshops followed, one for UCPEA members and one for UCPEA members who serve as supervisors and managers.

Another workshop is planned for March 5 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the UConn School of Law. Employees from the Hartford Campus and the School of Social Work are invited. The event will offer employees information about workplace respect and civility, including how to define illegal conduct – such as sexual harassment — and other behaviors that are not illegal but are inappropriate and might violate standards of conduct and University policies, says Munroe.

“We realized that employees needed more information about where they could go for help if they encountered uncivil behavior and what could be done about it,” she says. “While we don’t intend to dampen academic freedom and free speech rights, we do recognize that sometimes it’s how you say something – verbally and non-verbally – that can be hurtful, disrespectful, and unacceptable in the workplace. We want our work environment to be a positive and enjoyable place.”

The new website offers links to Human Resources, the Office of Diversity and Equity, the Office of Audit, Compliance and Ethics, the Women’s Center, and the three unions. It also links to a handful of University polices, including policies on sexual harassment, workplace violence, non-retaliation, and discrimination.

The site also allows users to download one of four posters that promote a healthy workplace. The posters are available in English or Spanish.

“I am working to help build at UConn a community that celebrates diversity and promotes civility,” University President Michael Hogan says on the site. “The climate of our working environment is important and I’ve made it a priority to encourage cooperation and mutual respect on all our campuses, among all our UConn family members.”