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Management Buzz 11/04

Ombudsmen programs, executive wishes and more

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This story appears in the November 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Nip It in the Bud

Employee lawsuits show no sign of going away anytime soon. That's why big companies such as Dell and Texaco have started ombudsman programs. Ombudsmen serve as confidential and neutral sounding boards for employees grappling with workplace problems ranging from harassment to suspicions of fraud. Ombudsmen also report the type of complaints employees bring anonymously, which companies can use to revamp policies before they turn into costly litigation.

Ombudsmen services are becoming popular with growing companies, too. "Having an ombudsman program is like an insurance policy," says attorney Donna N. Saleh. She's also a specialist in alternative dispute resolution and founder of Ombudsman Solutions LLC, an ombudsman consulting services firm in New York City. "It [also] shows employees the company cares about them."

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