Why did Eaton decide to start an ombuds office?
We took this step proactively so that we all can have the opportunity to voice concerns, resolve issues and help do business correctly.
Do other companies have ombuds offices?
Yes. Over the last decade or so, more companies have instituted ombuds offices. Companies in a wide range of industries have ombuds, including industrial manufacturing, food and beverage, financial services and professional service firms.
What principals guide the ombuds office?
The Eaton Office of the Ombuds subscribes to the International Ombudsman Association’s code of ethics and standards of practice.
If the ombuds are paid by the company, how do we know that they will be neutral and confidential?
Eaton’s ombuds operate according to professional standards of practice and code of ethics. Eaton has agreed to hire the ombuds to do a specific job - they are paid to be confidential, neutral, informal and independent.
What can I expect when I contact the Office of the Ombuds with a question or concern?
Your question, issue or concern will be taken seriously and will be responded to promptly, discreetly and professionally. At your option, you may remain anonymous. This means that you do not have to disclose who you are or where you work. The ombuds will listen to your concerns, help you find answers to your questions and assist you in identifying options to report or resolve your issue. When you discuss your options with the ombuds office, you determine the action that will be taken. This means that the ombudsperson will not tell anyone about your conversation, not even Eaton, unless in the course of your discussion you give him or her permission to do so.
Do I have a duty to report illegal or unethical conduct to Eaton?
Eaton employees have the duty to bring to the attention of a supervisor or another member of management, or the director of global ethics, any activity that in their judgment would violate Eaton’s code of ethics.
Will contacting the Office of the Ombuds satisfy my duty to report unethical or illegal conduct to Eaton?
No - the Office of the Ombuds is not an official reporting channel. The ombuds will help you identify and discuss other reporting channels within the company that exist for notice. If you want the company to know about your concern, to investigate or take action to address it, contact your supervisor, another member of local management, or the director of global ethics.
What can I expect when I contact the Global Ethics Office with a question or concern?
Your question, report or concern will be taken seriously and will be handled promptly, discreetly and professionally. An ethics representative will answer your question directly or make arrangements for you to follow up for a response. Any potential violation or misconduct that you report will be investigated and, if substantiated, resolved through appropriate action. If you identify yourself, the office will inform you when the investigation is complete.
At your option, you may remain anonymous. This means that you don’t have to disclose who you are or where you work. However, without a very basic amount of critical information, it may be difficult to conduct an investigation. If you use the anonymous email or telephone number, your location and number cannot be identified or traced. If you identify yourself, your identity will be kept confidential to the extent possible while permitting an appropriate investigation.
When should I contact the Office of the Ombuds or the Global Ethics Office about a concern or question?
The Office of the Ombuds and the Global Ethics Office are two of the many channels of communication available to you at Eaton for resolving your work-related concerns.
Bringing issues to local management’s attention is clearly the best approach in most cases. However, we realise that there are situations where such an approach may not be feasible. The preferred and primary channel for resolving issues is to discuss them with your supervisor or other local management, including your local human resources manager. Other options available to you include the Office of the Ombuds and the Global Ethics Office. If you need to contact someone with a concern or question, the Office of the Ombuds and the Global Ethics Office are resources available to assist you.