Creating a Respectful Workplace

September 12, 2018

From: John McCarthy, Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost; Bill Brady, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer; Anna Branch, Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer

In the past few years, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has made significant progress toward building a more inclusive, welcoming environment.  We completed a comprehensive climate survey, launched the Hate Has No Home campaign, and built community through the Building Bridges project.  Every single employee on our campus contributes to the university mission and only by working together will we meet our strategic goals.  As we envision a positive work environment for all, we ask all employees to honor differences, interact thoughtfully, and see the humanity in everyone. 

The University continues its commitment to equity, inclusion, and providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment. As we launch new initiatives this fall around creating a community of dignity and respect, it is important to understand the role we all play in creating workplace culture. We are, therefore, writing to remind all faculty, staff, graduate employees, and supervisors about the university’s expectations related to a respectful workplace interactions.

Each one of us should interact with others in a professional and courteous manner.  It is never appropriate to act in a demeaning, threatening, or verbally abusive manner.  Instead, we should use good judgment and not act in ways likely to diminish others’ sense of safety, inclusion, and respect in the workplace.  This is underscored by our Principles of Employee Conduct, which call for acting with integrity, dignity, honesty, and respect.  These principles embody our vision of a respectful workplace and set our expectations for how to conduct ourselves as a member of the campus community.  All employees should familiarize themselves with these principles and hold themselves, and others, accountable for following them.

If you have witnessed or been the target of inappropriate behavior, we urge you to talk with your supervisor or unit head, and/or contact one of the resources listed below.

If you are a supervisor or unit head, pay close attention to the quality of interactions in your unit. We expect you to model behavior that creates an inclusive and respectful climate for all. We also expect that you will swiftly address inappropriate behavior that occurs in your unit.  

It is important to note that the University of Massachusetts Amherst prohibits unlawful discrimination. Employees should contact the Equal Opportunity Office to discuss concerns or make a report of discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation.

Together, we can make a stronger and more welcoming work environment.  We thank you for all of the hard work you do each day on behalf of our students and the citizens of Massachusetts.

Respectful Workplace Resources

Note:  While each of these offices have distinct responsibilities, they work closely with one another to ensure matters are addressed promptly.  Any one of these offices could assist you in finding the correct office to address your particular concerns.

Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs
For assistance with any workplace issues involving faculty, including interpersonal conflict, training, performance management, faculty policies, promotion and tenure, etc.


Office of Human Resources
For assistance with any workplace issues, including supervisor/supervisee relationships, interpersonal conflict, training, performance management, personnel policies, disability accommodations, etc.


Equal Opportunity Office
For matters related to discrimination or harassment based on a protected status, or any related retaliation.


University Ombuds Office
For confidential advice, consultation, and conflict resolution on a wide variety of workplace issues.  (Note:  The Ombuds office is not a confidential option for Title IX matters)


Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
For confidential counseling on any personal or professional concern.