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Ombudsman Programs

Ombuds programs are created for companies, universities, and other organizations to provide an independent, neutral, alternate, and confidential channel of communication to help employees, students or others discuss workplace or institutional concerns. The goal of an ombuds program is to provide an informal resource where issues can be discussed off-the-record and without fear of retaliation and where people seek can guidance on how they can resolve disputes or report misconduct.

For twenty years, Shipman & Goodwin has served as independent counsel to organizational ombuds programs at major multinational corporations, universities, and government research laboratories throughout the country. Led by partner Chuck Howard, who has extensive experience representing organizational ombuds offices, the firm has helped organizations structure and document their ombuds programs to preserve the confidentiality of ombuds' communications with inquirers. Beginning with the seminal case of Roy v. United Technologies Corporation, Mr. Howard has represented ombuds offices in litigation on numerous occasions to protect this confidentiality, including filing motions for protective order and motions in limine in various jurisdictions throughout the country. In addition to his experience in representing organizational ombuds offices, Mr. Howard's extensive and wide ranging litigation experience in other areas is a unique asset in providing on-going counseling to ombuds offices to help them deal with the various legal issues they encounter and to function effectively in their organizations.  Mr. Howard has been a frequent presenter and writer on ombuds issues.  He is the author of The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Rules, and Operations - A Legal Guide, published by the American Bar Association.  Click to see reviews of the book or to order this book, please visit


September 23, 2013  Howard quoted in "Office Disputes Get a New Referee"


September 24, 2013  Chuck Howard Featured on Marketplace


October 4, 2017  United States Ombudsman Association's 38th Annual Conference
April 24, 2017  International Ombudsman Association: The Education Conflict Resolution
April 20, 2017  Education Conflict Resolution: Establishing Ombuds Programs in K-12 Schools
March 26, 2017  National School Board Association: The Educational Ombudsman - A Valuable Tool for Early Dispute Resolution
April 4-9, 2014  IOA: Ninth Annual Conference
April 2-5, 2014  ABA: 2014 Spring Conference - Section of Dispute Resolution
December 12-13, 2013  Asymmetric Information Risk: The Role of the Ombudsman
October 8, 2013  What's Next in the Ombuds World: Ideas for Future Legal Developments
September 30, 2013  Legal Updates and Significant Cases
June 13-14, 2013  Asymmetric Information Risk: The Role of the Ombudsman
May 15, 2013  Webinar: The Role of Corporate Ombuds: An Organizational Partner for Risk Mitigation and Conflict Prevention
April 19-24, 2013  Update on the "Dear Colleague Letter" and Confidentiality
February 26, 2013  Workplace Dispute Resolution: The Role of the Organizational Ombudsman
February 25, 2013  Organizational Ombudsman Programs
February 16, 2013  Advanced Ombuds Practice & Organizational Change
February 7, 2013  How an Ombuds Office Serving Employees, Customers, and Citizens Can Bring Greater Success to Your Agency
January 3, 2013  The Role of Corporate Ombuds: An Organizational Partner for Risk Mitigation and Conflict Prevention
November 8, 2012  Building a Better Workplace Through the Organizational Ombuds
October 30, 2012  The Organizational Ombudsman
October 29, 2012  Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen 11th Annual Conference
September 25, 2012  Workplace Conflict and Reporting: The Role of an Organizational Ombudsman and the Importance of Confidential Communications
June 3-6, 2012  Whistleblower Crosscurrents: The Limitations of Whistleblower Laws

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Click to read reviews of Chuck Howard's book,

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