Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal


The role of organizational ombudsman has grown tremendously in the past couple of decades. Organizations have come to rely upon their ombuds offices to provide value-added dispute resolution services aimed at improving the corporate ethical and cultural environment while simultaneously staving off unwanted turnover and potential litigation from disgruntled employees. While employees have enjoyed ‘being heard’ by their ombudsman, the ombudsmen have struggled to keep the information they have heard confidential and away from the public forum via subsequent litigation and motions to compel them to disclose this information. This article explores the current state of the ombudsman confidentiality privilege, compares and contrasts the organizational ombudsman role with mediation, human resources, and its governmental ombudsman counterpart, and offers ideas on how to improve the chances of getting a court to acknowledge such a privilege.