April 24, 2013
This article analyzes a recent dispute over the existence of the ombudsman privilege in the Seventh United States Circuit Court of Appeals. The ombudsman programs discussed are those designed to aggregate employee concerns and complaints and provide guidance to employees about a company’s internal complaint procedure. The article discusses the public policy arguments supporting the recognition of the privilege. The article also addresses the risks and rewards of implementing an ombudsman program whose documents the company wishes to keep from litigation adversaries.