Ombudsman Program

Ombudsman Program

To foster an inclusive and ethical work environment, UTC provides a safe and confidential channel for employees and third parties to seek guidance, ask questions, make comments and report suspected misconduct. Our Ombudsman Program allows employees and others to ask a question or raise concern in complete confidence.

Since its inception in 1986, the Ombudsman Program has received more than 100,000 inquiries. The suggestions and requests made in the last fiv​e years have led to changes that make UTC a better company – underscoring the importance of the Ombudsman Program.

Our non-retaliation handbook is a quick reference for UTC’s non-retaliation policy, with examples of behaviors that could be considered retaliatory, practical tips for supervisors and examples of unacceptable conduct.

Note: Under French law the Ombudsman program is limited to (a) accounting, financial, banking and auditing matters; (b) bribery and corruption matters; (c) anti-competitive matters; and (d) internal processes and controls related to (a), (b), and (c) above. For more information regarding the Ombudsman Program in France, please click here. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

OUR PERFORMANCE

101,413TOTAL INQUIRIES

24,103OMBUDSMAN

77,310DIALOG


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How and why was the program established?

Ombudsman/DIALOG Program was created in 1986 to provide a confidential, neutral and independent communication channel for employees and others who want to raise a question or concern. The program provides a safe way for people to seek guidance, ask questions, make comments and report suspected misconduct. Ombudsman/DIALOG is a communication intermediary and is available when employees have a concern but don’t want to contact management directly.​

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What does confidential, neutral and independent mean?

Confidential, neutral and independent are the three defining features of the UTC Ombudsman Program. Each Ombudsman is a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and they adhere to the IOA’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, available here​.

The Ombudsman Program is an informal system for communication that operates separately from traditional channels of management. It protects the identities of its users, provides guidance regarding options, does not maintain detailed records and does not accept legal notice on behalf of the company with respect to any claim or matter.

Confidential means that your identity is protected and your name is not revealed. In fact, users of the Ombudsman Program can remain anonymous by not providing their names at all. There are only three exceptions to protecting the identity of users: (a) the person raising the inquiry agrees to disclosure; (b) the company is compelled by a court of law; or (c) an Ombudsman determines, as provided in the IOA Code of Ethics, that the issue poses an imminent risk of serious harm. Because no one is required to use Ombudsman Program, people who choose this channel are considered to have agreed to abide by these principles and not call upon an Ombudsman or DIALOG Program Coordinator to testify or reveal confidential information. The company has also committed that it will not seek to compel any Ombudsman or DIALOG Program Coordinator to disclose confidential information. UTC and its Ombudsmen have successfully defended this confidentiality in court.

Neutral means that the program facilitates clear and understandable communication while not serving as an advocate for management, an employee or third party. Rather, as a communication intermediary, Ombudsman/DIALOG seeks to facilitate a fair review of issues, reduce the chances of miscommunication and assure that management responds to the inquiry.

Independent means that the Ombudsmen and DIALOG Program Coordinators operate separately from management, even though they are UTC employees working at UTC headquarters in Connecticut, USA. Unlike management, they are not authorized to accept or receive notice of claims against UTC. Confidential Ombudsman/DIALOG information is not available to anyone except the Ombudsmen and the DIALOG Program Coordinators. Ombudsmen are intended, in fact and in appearances, to be free from interference in the performance of their duties.​​​​

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When should I use the program?

Generally, the best way to communicate with UTC management is by direct contact; however, there may be occasions when you wish to discuss what’s on your mind but not want your name or identity known by management – or revealed at all. Some people prefer an “off-the-record” discussion regarding a workplace issue or to report concerns about possible wrongdoing. Others may want to speak with someone about their options or to make a report without taking more formal action. UTC’s Ombudsman/DIALOG Program is the communication channel designed to meet those needs.​​​

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Is the program anonymous?

Yes. The identity of a person using the Ombudsman/DIALOG program will be protected, unless disclosure is compelled by a court of law or there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.​​

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Are there limitations on what the program can address?

Yes, and these are outlined below.

  • As communication intermediaries, UTC’s Ombudsmen and DIALOG Program Coordinators do not conduct investigations, and they cannot make or change any company policy or decision. If you believe the response provided by management (through Ombudsman/DIALOG) is inconsistent with requirements of law or UTC’s Code of Ethics, you can ask that Ombudsman/DIALOG refer the matter to the Global Ethics and Compliance Organization
  • Ombudsman/DIALOG has no capability to reply to an anonymous writer of a DIALOG, except those users of eDIALOG who create a personal identifier. Even for anonymous DIALOGs, Ombudsman/DIALOG follows its standard processes and forwards the inquiry to management for response and appropriate action.
  • The eDIALOG system is Web-based, encrypted and hosted outside of UTC. If a user of eDIALOG forgets his or her personal identifier, he or she will not be able to retrieve management’s response. If a paper DIALOG is sent anonymously or without a return address, a direct response to the Ombudsman/DIALOG issue is not possible; nonetheless, the issue is sent to management for review and any appropriate action.
  • Ombudsman/DIALOG will not address an issue that is covered by a collective bargaining agreement or that is not permitted by applicable law. Ombudsman/DIALOG respects privacy laws. Under French law, for example, Ombudsman/DIALOG is limited to the following four categories: (a) accounting, financial, banking and auditing matters; (b) bribery and corruption matters; (c) anti-competitive matters; and (d) internal processes and controls related to (a), (b) and (c) above. For more information regarding Ombudsman/DIALOG in France, please click here.
  • If an Ombudsman/DIALOG contact alleges misconduct, management will investigate as appropriate. Responsive action is determined by management, and management will not act on an allegation that is not substantiated.
  • Before a DIALOG is forwarded to management, an Ombudsman or DIALOG Program Coordinator will remove information that might identify the DIALOG writer. There can be issues known only by a few people, however, such that the removal of information that can identify the author of a DIALOG inquiry, as a practical matter, can be difficult. In such cases, the better choice is to call an Ombudsman and discuss options for addressing the inquiry.
  • Ombudsman/DIALOG is available only with respect to inquiries directly connected with UTC, such as issues involving performance under UTC’s contracts or issues associated with UTC’s employees and its representatives. Ombudsman/DIALOG, for example, cannot address human resources issues at suppliers or unrelated consumer issues.
  • UTC prohibits retaliation against any person who raises, in good faith, any concern with respect to policies or practices within the company, or for reporting anything the person reasonably believes constitutes a violation or suspected violation of UTC's Code of Ethics. Reporting, however, does not absolve anyone from accountability for personal involvement in wrongdoing.
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Ombudsman or DIALOG – How do I choose?

UTC's Ombudsmen are available through DIALOG or by telephone worldwide. Communicating with an Ombudsman allows you to have an off-the-record discussion and explain your situation in greater detail. For these reasons, you may want to call an Ombudsman to address issues that require explanation, extended discussion or involve complicated facts. The Ombudsman will discuss your available options and next steps in the process.

DIALOG accepts written inquiries only, and is ideal for asking simpler, business-related questions, expressing concerns, suggesting change, reporting a problem or even complimenting someone’s ideas or performance. DIALOG is not as well suited for legal issues or issues that require investigation.

UTC management strives to respond to each DIALOG within 14 days from the date received. If a DIALOG raises a potential ethical or legal concern or deals with a complex issue, the DIALOG Program Coordinator may refer your DIALOG to an Ombudsman. Should your issue be handled by an Ombudsman, it may take longer than 14 days to process.​​​

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Are there guidelines for writing a DIALOG?

Yes. Please note: To help protect confidentiality, company computers should not be used for eDIALOG communications.

  • ​Use your preferred language

  • Provide as much detailed information as possible

  • Tell us if you have previously raised this issue with management

  • Include specific detail such as dates, what happened and where did it take place

  • Provide complete definition when using acronyms or abbreviations (example: ACE = Achieving Competitive Excellence)

  • Provide full name and reference numbers for policies and procedures

  • If you submit a paper DIALOG and would like to receive management’s response, provide your full name and home address

  • Do not tell co-workers or others you are using the program

More complex issues or those that are legal in nature will be referred to a UTC Corporate Ombudsman for review. If you write anything that might identify you as the writer, you will be contacted by a DIALOG Program Coordinator or an Ombudsman who will suggest alternatives. Information that could identify you as the writer will be removed before it is forwarded to management for response.

Submit your issue through eDIALOG, a secure, encrypted, Web-enabled system hosted outside UTC, or use paper DIALOG forms​ available throughout UTC.

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What can you expect an Ombudsman to do?

  • Listen to what you have to say in a fair and impartial manner

  • Discuss your concerns with you and help you clarify your issues

  • Help you identify and evaluate your options

  • Help gather information, explain policies or direct you to other resources

  • Serve as a neutral party to help seek a fair review

  • Offer coaching, such as helping you prepare for a difficult conversation​

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What should you not expect an Ombudsman to do?

  • Make decisions for anyone

  • Make policy or management decisions

  • Accept or receive notice of claims against the company or replace formal communication channels

  • Provide legal advice

  • Testify with respect to confidential communications or participate in formal or legal proceedings

  • Conduct investigations

  • Take sides in a dispute or serve as an advocate for any person, point of view or for the company​

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How long will it take for Ombudsman/DIALOG to address my inquiry?

UTC management strives to respond to each DIALOG within 14 days from the date received. More complex concerns may be referred to an Ombudsman. In this case, it may take longer than 14 days to process.

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How do I reach an Ombudsman?

From within the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, call 800.871.9065. When calling from outside the U.S., you must first dial the pertinent AT&T Direct access code found hereListen for a prompt (voice or tone), and then dial the toll-free number for an Ombudsman. Interpreters will be provided through the Ombudsman if English is not your preferred language.

All translators used by Ombudsman/DIALOG are retained to work for Ombudsman/DIALOG and under contract are also obligated to protect confidentiality. Confidential Ombudsman/DIALOG information is secured and accessible only by Ombudsman/DIALOG personnel.​

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Who are the current UTC Ombudsmen?

  • Video

    Patti Lynch

  • Video

    Steven Cordery

Each Ombudsman is a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and the Ombudsmen and DIALOG Program Coordinators adhere to the IOA's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, available here.​​​​

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Where do I send a written DIALOG?

A written DIALOG can be sent to the DIALOG Clearinghouse at UTC Headquarters. You can pick up a form at a company facility from a DIALOG box. A DIALOG can be sent either by mail or electronically. Click here to download the form.

Paper forms should be mailed to the DIALOG Clearinghouse at UTC headquarters:

DIALOG Program
United Technologies Corporation
1 Financial Plaza - MS 524
Hartford, CT - U.S.A. - 06103-2607

The electronic system, eDIALOG, is Web-based, encrypted and hosted outside of UTC. A user of eDIALOG is required to create a personal identifier that will allow the retrieval of management’s response, even if the inquiry is anonymous. A DIALOG is not forwarded to management for response until information that might identify the writer is removed by an Ombudsman or DIALOG Program Coordinator. The target for response is 14 days after receipt at the DIALOG Clearinghouse at UTC Headquarters. Inquiries handled by the Ombudsmen usually take longer, depending on the complexity of the issue. Management’s response for an eDIALOG inquiry will be available for 180 days after it is posted by Ombudsman/DIALOG.

You can write a DIALOG in your preferred language and Ombudsman/DIALOG will translate the inquiry and response. All translators used by Ombudsman/DIALOG are retained to work for Ombudsman/DIALOG and under contract are also obligated to protect confidentiality. Confidential Ombudsman/DIALOG information is secured and accessible only by Ombudsman/DIALOG personnel.

To view and print the DIALOG form, select your desired language from the list below.

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Can I submit my DIALOG electronically?

Yes. The electronic version of United Technologies Corporation's DIALOG Program can be accessed at the following link:

edialog.confidential.utc.com​​

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If I need to contact the U.S. Department of Defense, how do I do so?

To report fraud, waste and abuse, click here.

To report human trafficking, click here.

To report employer retaliation against whistleblowers, click here.​​

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What is UTC's policy on non-retaliation?

UTC has a zero tolerance policy for retaliation. Our non-retaliation policy and accompanying handbook reinforces our long-standing commitment to a safe reporting environment that is free of fear, bullying and other negative consequences.

Our company prohibits retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, reports or participates in the investigation of an actual or suspected violation of the Code of Ethics. Concerns can be raised through several available channels: management, human resources, the legal department – or the confidential Ombudsman/DIALOG program. We vigorously investigate all allegations of retaliation, whether overt or subtle, and take action.

Our non-retaliation handbook is a quick reference to UTC’s non-retaliation policy, with examples of behaviors that could be considered retaliatory, practical tips for supervisors and examples of unacceptable conduct.

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