Sam* has been working in his position for many years. During his annual interviews with his group leader Jerry*, he was always told that his job performance was satisfactory, and no criticism was raised. Sam really appreciated Jerry’s fairness and was happy to work with him. The written appraisals were in the same tone, so Sam never imagined that something could be blamed on him. His career level was improving, although not as fast as he would have liked it to.
Jane* came to the Ombuds to share her concerns about the actions of Mike*, one of her senior colleague supervisors, and insisted on the absolute confidentiality. The Ombuds promised to keep the information confidential following the terms of his mandate. During the discussion it appeared that the whole group was affected by the situation, spending a lot of time discussing how to resolve the problem instead of focusing on their main responsibilities. The risks for the Organization seemed very high and could possibly endanger the safety of the operations.
Bill*, thanks to his technical competence, has been nominated leader of a group in charge of various projects. During his learning phase, he benefited from the experience of his collaborators and had a good working relationship with all of them. However, after few months, his relationship with Mike*, a senior member of the group in charge of some specific developments, turned sour. As the situation did not improve after many weeks, Mike decided to file an informal complaint of harassment with the Ombuds against his group leader, as he was convinced that Bill was bullying him.
Following the internal restructuring of a unit, a disagreement developed between the leader of the team and its members. Fred challenged John, the manager in charge of the unit, about his strategy, arguing that his plans would not be beneficial. However, Fred fully recognized that John was entitled to make such a decision as the leader of the team.
Bob* has been working at CERN for almost four years on a limited-duration contract. Due to the early retirement of one of his colleagues, he was appointed Section Leader very early in his career, as he was the only one who was able to replace this person. As Section Leader, Bob had to provide annual assessments for several staff members, which he did in a very honest and balanced way.
Pam* and Jeff* are both physicists working on the same project for an experiment. Pam is from a collaborating institute and Jeff is a CERN staff member. As the project is being developed at CERN they both share the same technical support available in the Laboratory. At the beginning they organised themselves so they could get the support that both of them needed.
Following a reorganization in their Department, Don* and Sam* found themselves working in the same unit. Given their complementary competencies, they were asked to collaborate on the same project. At the beginning, they both appreciated being able to exchange ideas and progress as they learned to get to grips with their new challenge.
Ted* had been working in the Organization for many years. Thanks to his expertise, he was promoted to a position where, in addition to his usual daily tasks, he also had to manage strategic projects involving close contacts with people in different Departments. At the same time, the personnel in his unit had been reduced, so Ted had to deal with many urgent requests from people bursting into his office at all hours of the day.
John* and his supervisor Pat* have been working together for about four years, during which time they have had several disagreements and a few real explosions. They usually avoid each other for some time after each incident until things calm down again.
During a meeting between them concerning objectives, the latent tension between them resulted in a fight during which John told Pat that she was mobbing him. Pat ended the meeting by throwing John out of her office. She said that she was no longer prepared to talk to him alone. John asked the Ombuds to facilitate the situation.