Problems at Work

Who do you turn to and what are your options when you are facing problems with your work environment? Please read below for information on the Confidential Counsellors, Staff Ombuds Officer and Complaints Committees.

Confidential Counsellors

The Confidential Counsellors are there for you to discuss confidential matters with, such as bullying, intimidation, sexual harassment, aggression or discrimination. You might also want to talk to them about problems with your manager or breaches of academic integrity. There are confidential counsellors for different issues, including: 

Personnel Affairs

You may at some point experience problems in your employment relationship with the university. You might feel as if your supervisor will never be satisfied with your performance, or you may not be comfortable with certain decisions. If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to ask for advice. The confidential counsellor will help you look for a solution, so you can go back to feeling good at work. All your meetings with the confidential counsellor are confidential, and nothing will be done without your permission.

Unacceptable Behaviour

The workplace should be completely free from unacceptable behaviour, such as bullying, sexual harassment, intimidation, discrimination and violence. If you experience or witness unacceptable behaviour, it can be difficult to talk about it. Yet it’s very important that you report it to one of the confidential counsellors for unacceptable behaviour, because unless you do, we won’t be able to help you. Anything you say to the confidential counsellor will always be treated in strict confidence, and he/she will never take action without your consent.

Academic Integrity

The confidential counsellor for academic integrity is your first port of call for any questions or situations relating to academic integrity, or if you have suspicions about a current or former employee of Leiden University. All your meetings with the confidential counsellor are confidential.

Malpractice (whistleblowing)

If you see something that doesn’t seem quite right, it’s important to report it to the confidential counsellor for malpractice. This could be excessive spending on a project, for example, or the improper use of a lab. The more we know, the more we can do about it. Your anonymity is guaranteed at all stages of the process. Anything you say to the confidential counsellor will always be treated in strict confidence.

PhD Candidates

Are you a PhD candidate, and is there something you’d prefer to discuss with someone other than your thesis director or supervisor? The confidential counsellor for PhD candidates is here to help. You can speak to him/her in confidence and receive advice.

Staff Ombuds Officer

The Staff Ombuds Officer investigates themes or problematic patterns, such as patterns of unacceptable behaviour, harassment, lack of integrity, racism and discrimination, transgressive behaviour. If you experience, or have experienced in the past, an unsafe situation, please consider contacting them. Based on reported incidents, the Staff Ombuds Officer gives independent advice to the University on how the staff’s work environment can be made safer.

The Staff Ombuds Officer has a fully independent position within the university and a duty of confidentiality, which means your complaint will be dealt with in strict confidence. 

The Staff Ombuds Officer is Marjan van Dasselaar and you can contact her at:


Phone: +31 6 38 95 04 08

Complaints Committees

Ideally if you have a complaint or if you experience problems at work, we hope you can find a solution in consultation with your supervisor or one of the confidential counsellors. If this is not the case or if there are other reasons preventing you from seeking help, you can contact one of the committees below directly. All committees can be reached via or on +31 71 527 8118.

Committee on Academic Integrity

Do you suspect an employee of violating academic integrity? Contact the Committee on Academic Integrity. The complaint must always include a clear description of the violation and the name of the employee involved.

Complaints Committee for Unacceptable Behaviour

Collegiality, mutual respect and attention for others form the basis for a healthy work environment. People may nevertheless fall victim to unacceptable behaviour. If this is the case, you can always contact the Complaints Committee for Unacceptable Behaviour.

Arbitration Committee

Staff members have the option of submitting certain kinds of employment-related decisions taken by their manager or the University to the Arbitration Committee.

Appeals and Objections Committee

What can you do if you disagree with a written or oral decision taken by Leiden University? You can lodge an appeal within six weeks with the Appeals and Objections Committee.

Examination Appeals Board

The Examination Appeals Board (CBE) is an independent Board, appointed in accordance with the Higher Education and Research Act (WHW).

Committee on Whistleblowing

The Committee on Whistleblowing investigates reports of proven and suspected malpractices and issues recommendations to the Executive Board. The Regulation on Reporting Malpractice contains more information on the precise procedure. The identity of the person filing a report will only be revealed with his or her explicit permission.