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June 2006

 Teresa Rivas and Nancy Wade
Delphi Coordinators Teresa Rivas (left) and Nancy Wade.

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinators (Teresa Rivas, left, and Nancy Wade). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi Web site. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.


Delphi Question: Protecting polyamorous individuals

Delphi Question #554 (received March 14): I would like to ask you about UCAR's Equal Employment Opportunity policy. The policy manual lists both sexual orientation and marital status as protected characteristics. Is that interpreted to include polyamorous individuals? (If you don't know what polyamory is, Wikipedia's explanation is pretty good.)

I am in a same-sex triad relationship. Basically, I have two domestic partners. The three of us live together and it's pretty much just like a conventional two-person union (same-sex or not), except there are three of us instead of two.

Naturally, our relationship has no legal standing according to the state of Colorado, but UCAR's policies are considerably more open-minded than state law.

I just want to know this: can I go to Human Resources and ask questions about how to best manage my unusual situation without fear of losing my job? Can I safely talk about my home life in the cafeteria? Am I, in short, protected from discrimination by someone who would find my family situation objectionable, or is it something that I need to keep quiet about?

(And if the answer is "No, you're not protected," do you have any insights into how the EEO policy has historically been expanded?)

Thanks very much.

Answer (March 20): Your question speaks to two different aspects of your employment at UCAR—your professional employment relationship with the organization and your interpersonal relationships with fellow employees.

Yes, you may certainly discuss your situation with Human Resources (or with a supervisor) without fear of losing your job. UCAR makes employment decisions based on job-related factors without regard to sexual orientation and/or marital status.

While UCAR believes that diversity of all types enriches our workplace, we acknowledge that there are individual preferences related to politics, lifestyle, and the like. While harassment would not be tolerated, I am sure you understand that UCAR cannot control reactions and perceptions that may occur upon sharing personal information of any type with fellow employees. You are probably the best judge of the tolerance and understanding of your workplace friends and peers.

If you were to experience a conflict with a supervisor or co-worker that you were unable to resolve—whether or not it has to do with your sexual orientation or marital status—we would encourage you to meet with your Human Resources Generalist who can provide guidance. This option is always open to any UCAR employee who is experiencing a problem with conflict in the workplace.

—Terry Woods
Manager, Human Resources

 


In this issue...

The long wait

New book helps water utility managers grapple with climate change

Katy Schmoll, COMET win awards in May

Climate change meets the arts

Random Profile: Meral Demirtas

UCAR Child Care Center accreditation

Delphi Question: Protecting polyamorous individuals

Just One Look


 

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