The Office of the Athlete Ombuds and its staff (the Athlete Ombuds) offers independent, confidential advice to athletes regarding their rights and responsibilities in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and assists athletes with a broad range of questions, disputes, complaints and concerns. The Athlete Ombuds’ focus is to serve athletes who represent the U.S. in international competition. The Athlete Ombuds operates on the core principles of confidentiality and privacy, independence, and impartiality.
DUTIES OF THE ATHLETE OMBUDS
1. Provide independent, confidential advice and assistance at no cost to athletes.
2. Assist in the resolution of athlete concerns and disputes through fact-finding, facilitated communication, and mediation.
3. Advocate for fair, transparent, timely and equitably administered policies and processes within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and its member organizations.
PRINCIPLES OF THE ATHLETE OMBUDS
CONFIDENTIALITY and PRIVACY
1. The Athlete Ombuds maintains as confidential any information communicated or provided in confidence in any matter involving the exercise of their official duties.
2. The Athlete Ombuds will not testify or produce evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding with respect to any matter involving the exercise of their official duties.
3. The Athlete Ombuds treats all work product, memoranda, notes or case files as confidential. Such information is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion, and is not admissible as evidence in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
4. The Athlete Ombuds maintains and prepares data and/or reports in a manner that protects confidentiality and privacy.
5. These confidentiality and privacy provisions shall not apply to:
- Information necessary to communicate, mediate or resolve a concern or dispute, with the permission of the athletes involved;
- Applicable reporting requirements under federal law and/or the policies of the U.S. Center for SafeSport;
- A felony personally witnessed;
- A situation in which an individual is at imminent risk of serious harm;
- A congressional subpoena;
- The general operation and processes of the Athlete Ombuds; and/or
- Responding to an official investigation or allegation concerning the conduct of the Athlete Ombuds in exercising its official duties.
6. The Athlete Ombuds maintains these confidentiality and privacy provisions on their website and distributes to employees of each National Governing Body (NGB) and the USOPC.
7. Each NGB shall publish these confidentiality and privacy provisions on its website and communicate to athletes their availability.
1. The Athlete Ombuds will be free from outside control, influence and conflicts of interest.
2. The Athlete Ombuds neither acts as an agent for, nor accepts notice on behalf of, the USOPC and shall not serve in a position or role that is designated as a place to receive notice on behalf of the USOPC.
3. Statements made by the Athlete Ombuds shall not be deemed to reflect the views or positions of the USOPC.
4. The Athlete Ombuds will exercise their discretion over whether or how to act regarding an individual’s concern, trends, or systemic issues and should not be subject to retaliation based on the use of such discretion.
5. The Athlete Ombuds may make recommendations to the USOPC or the appropriate NGB at any time where circumstances or trends suggest that athletes’ rights in the administration of fair, transparent, timely and equitable policies and processes may be threatened.
1. The Athlete Ombuds has a responsibility to consider the legitimate concerns and interests of all individuals affected by a matter under consideration, including athletes on multiple sides of an issue.
2. When formal proceedings are invoked, and an athlete needs individual representation, the Athlete Ombuds may assist in identifying legal counsel.
Athletes are afforded certain protections against retaliation including that no employee, contractor, agent, volunteer, or member of the USOPC shall take or threaten action against an athlete as a reprisal for disclosing information to or seeking assistance from the Office of the Athlete Ombuds. Athletes should report instances of retaliation to USOPC Ethics and Compliance.