3: Working at GW
The policies and practices outlined in this section
will help you understand the University's commitment to promoting
an environment that encourages all employees to thrive. Knowing
these policies will help you serve as an active member of our community.
You will find addresses and telephone numbers for University offices
that administer these policies in the Section
13, "Resource Guide."
3.1 Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative
The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) employer committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory, diverse work environment. The university does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law in any of its programs or activities
3.2 Employees with Disabilities
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA), the University does not discriminate against any "qualified
individuals with a disability." Individuals qualify for employment
if they meet the educational, skills, and experience requirements
of a position and can perform the essential functions of the job
with or without a reasonable accommodation. Individuals have a disability
if they have an impairment that impacts a major life function such
as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, hearing,
seeing, speaking, breathing, learning, or if the impairment otherwise
impacts an individual's ability to perform a class of jobs or broad
range of jobs. Psychological impairments, learning disabilities,
and some chronic health impairments, such as epilepsy, diabetes,
arthritis, cancer, cardiac problems, and AIDS may also be considered
The University is committed to diversity and nondiscrimination
and supports the full employment of qualified individuals with disabilities
in its workforce. Therefore, a process has been established to assist
employees with disabilities in reasonably modifying the work environment
to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of his
or her job. It is the responsibility of the employee to request
an accommodation of his or her physical or mental disability by
contacting the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). In accordance
with the ADA, the University will take such requests seriously and
will promptly determine whether the employee is a qualified individual
with a disability and whether a reasonable accommodation exists
which would allow the employee to perform the essential functions
of the job without imposing an undue hardship on the University
or other employees. If you believe that you have been unlawfully
discriminated against because of a disability, you should discuss
the matter with the EEA staff.
3.3 Sexual Harassment
The University is committed to maintaining a positive
climate for study and work, one in which individuals are judged
solely by relevant factors, such as ability and performance, and
one in which they may pursue their academic and work activities
in an atmosphere free from coercion and intimidation. Sexual harassment
of employees by those in a position to affect their employment conditions
or by other employees is contrary to such an atmosphere and will
not be tolerated.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual
conduct, such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and
other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct
is made a term or condition of employment or creates a hostile and
intimidating work environment. Sexual harassment can take different
forms. It includes such behavior as touching, pinching, hugging,
jokes of a sexual nature, making obscene gestures, or using sexual
language or pictures on computer software.
Because sexual harassment comes in many different
forms, there is much confusion about what it is or is not. The distinguishing
feature of sexual harassment is that it is unwelcome conduct. As
a result, in each situation, it depends on what a particular individual
finds offensive. Everyone must be aware of their behavioral boundaries
and always be careful to act appropriately. Remember, sexual harassment
may be verbal, nonverbal, or physical. Such conduct may be considered
sexual harassment if it continues after an individual asks a person
to stop or in some other way clearly shows that the behavior is
If you believe you are being or have been sexually
harassed, if someone has accused you of sexual harassment or inappropriate
behavior of a sexual nature, or if you receive a report of sexual
harassment, please contact the Sexual Harassment Response Coordinator.
The Coordinator will respond to questions, help you cope with the
situation, address your concerns, and, if warranted, coordinate
an investigation and appropriate remedial action. The Coordinator
can be reached at 994-6503.
3.4 Religious Accommodation
Sometimes individuals hold religious beliefs or conduct
religious practices that conflict with their work schedules or assigned
responsibilities. The University will attempt to provide a reasonable
accommodation for religious beliefs and practices of such individuals
if to do so does not impose an undue hardship for the employee's
department, or interfere with the employee's ability to perform
the essential functions of the position. If you would like to request
reasonable accommodation based on your religious beliefs, you should
contact the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. You may be asked
to provide appropriate documentation to support your request.
3.5 Employment Eligibility and
Verification (I-9 Form)
Federal law requires that every employee hired by
the University after November 6, 1986, complete Section 1 of the
Employment Eligibility Verification Form (commonly called the I-9)
on the first day of work and Section 2 within three workdays of
the start of work. The I-9 provides proof of eligibility to work
in the United States and at GW. You must complete Section 1 and
present documentation of your identity and work eligibility, as
described on the back of the I-9 form, to staff in Human Resource
Services for verification and completion of Section 2. Completion
of the I-9 process within three workdays of the start of work is
a condition of employment.
Upon presentation of documentation and completion
of Section 2 of the I-9 form, Human Resource Services will provide
you with copies of a receipt to retain and to provide to your departmental
hiring officials to verify that the I-9 process is complete.
Departmental hiring officials are responsible for
ensuring that you complete Section 1 of the I-9 Form on the first
day of work and that you give them a copy of the receipt for Section
2 within three workdays of the first day of work. If you do not
provide the receipt in this time frame, Human Resource Services
will suspend you without pay. If you do not complete the I-9 form
within five business days following your suspension, Human Resource
Services will notify your department and terminate your employment.
If your status documents expire on a particular date,
you must come to Human Resources Services with appropriate documentation
before the expiration date of the documents. If you do not provide
the required documentation by the expiration date, the suspension
and termination procedures described above will apply.
Please contact HRIS, Human Resources Department if you have any questions about the employment
eligibility and verification process.
3.6 Positions at the University
3.6.1 The Position Classification Plan
Most positions at the University are systematically
arranged within a job classification plan. A classification consists
of a job title, a classification code, an EEO occupational category,
and, as appropriate, a classification description and salary grade.
A classification may apply to a group of positions with similar
duties or to one position unique in the University. The classification
plan does not apply to temporary employees, corporate officers,
faculty, researchers, and certain other positions.
The University classification plan provides a method
of assigning a salary grade based on the University's evaluation
of the duties and responsibilities, supervision received and exercised,
if applicable, and entry-level requirements. All of this information
is included in the official classification description. The official
classification description also includes the title of the position
and the salary grade. Most staff positions in the University are
Classification descriptions also serve as a guide
in the new-hire selection process and the evaluation of performance.
You may obtain a copy of your classification description from
your supervisor or by visiting the Staffing and Compensation Services
Division of Human Resource Services.
3.6.2 Position-Specific Descriptions
Many of the University's classification descriptions
are generic so that they can be used throughout the institution.
Although all employees in a specific classification perform at
the same level of responsibility, each department may require
different tasks to be performed, based on the needs of that department.
Therefore, your department may have a position-specific description
that further delineates the duties and responsibilities of your
assigned position within your department.
3.6.3 Changes to Classifications
The Staffing and Compensation Services Division
of Human Resource Services is responsible for maintaining the
University's job classification plan. Adjustments to positions
in the classification and salary grade plan may occur, based on
organizational needs, job market salary surveys, or significant
changes in the type and complexity of duties and responsibilities
of a position or classification.
3.6.4 Nonexempt and Exempt Positions
Each classification description has information
about whether that position is exempt or nonexempt from the guidelines
of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Persons in nonexempt positions
are entitled to compensation for all time worked. Time worked
by nonexempt staff in excess of 40 hours in any workweek (overtime)
must be authorized in advance by the department head. Overtime
work will be compensated at the rate of 1 1/2 times the regular hourly
rate for actual hours worked. Individuals in exempt positions
are not covered by statutory requirements for overtime pay. For
a more detailed description of these provisions, please refer
to Section 11, "Your Pay."
3.7 Employee Records
Resources Department maintains official employee records. These records,
which include information related to your employment, are the property
of the University. You will need the approval of HRIS to obtain a copy of a specific document
in your file. You may view your file by presenting your University
photo identification (ID) card to this division. Changes such as
a change of address or a change in marital status may affect your
record in several University offices. Please contact HRIS, which will provide you with the appropriate
form so that you can make necessary changes.
3.8 Information Security Policy
Individuals who work in student, patient, faculty,
and administrative offices often have access to information that
is sensitive or confidential. Such information concerns, but is
not limited to, budgets, salaries, student records, personnel records,
patient records, personal messages, grant proposals, and real estate.
Sensitive or confidential information may be shared only with others
with a need to know and only as required in the course of performing
You are responsible for ensuring that sensitive information
is kept confidential. If you have any questions about the confidentiality
of information to which you have access, ask your immediate supervisor,
department head, or Human Resource Services representative for clarification.
3.9 Computer-Related Issues
Many positions at the University involve the use
of computers that provide access to a wealth of data and permit
us to perform our jobs much more rapidly than we could without them.
As we become more dependent on electronic means to do our jobs,
it is important to remember that computers and all associated electronic
files are the property of the University. The University has access
to all information on its computers.
In addition, although information can be communicated
electronically throughout much of the University, no system is absolutely
secure. Treat your electronic communication as seriously as you
would any written communication. Your electronic transmissions to
others may be read through an error on your part, someone else's
misconduct, or as part of a planned review of computer files. In
addition, although you may have deleted materials from your computer,
they may be recoverable if, at the University's discretion, it is
necessary to do so.
Additional information about the responsibilities
of computer users may be found on the Information Technology Services
Web site at http://www.gwu.edu/iss/its.
3.10 Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest exists when employees acting
on behalf of the University obtain improper personal gain for themselves
or for another party, or when a particular action has an adverse
effect on the University's interests. All members of the University
community are expected to exercise good faith and judgment in all
activities that relate to their responsibilities at the University.
The University may require some employees to complete a Conflict
of Interest Questionnaire.
If you are in doubt about the proper application
of the University's conflict of interest policy to particular situations,
you should immediately make all the facts known to supervisory staff
and act according to their guidance.
University officers, senior management, and researchers
have some special responsibilities in avoiding conflict of interest.
These responsibilities are more clearly detailed in the Supervisor's
Guide for the use of Supervisory Staff, the Handbook for
Sponsored Programs, and other documents.
The University's conflict of interest policy can be viewed
3.11 Substance Abuse Policy
In accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of
1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, the
University is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace and
promoting high standards of employee health and safety. University
standards of conduct prohibit the illegal manufacture, possession,
distribution, or use of alcohol and drugs. Our manuals, codes of
conduct, and publications specify penalties for violations of these
policies, including suspension or dismissal from the University.
Employees may be dismissed for drug-related offenses,
including unauthorized use or possession of alcoholic beverages
or illegal or nonprescription controlled substances, or for reporting
to or being at work while under their influence. The misuse of prescription
drugs by employees during working hours, on University business,
or during use of University-owned property is strictly prohibited.
Concerns about substance abuse involving an employee may be discussed
with staff in the Employee Relations Division of Human Resource
Federal law requires that you notify the Employee
Relations Division within five days if you are convicted under a
criminal drug statute of offenses committed on University property
or while on University business. If you have been convicted of such
offenses, you must notify the University of the circumstances. If
you have any questions about this issue, please contact the Employee
Relations Division of Human Resource Services.
Violations of the GW substance abuse policy will
result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. In
addition to any disciplinary action other than termination, you
may be referred to the University's Faculty/Employee Assistance
Program (F/EAP) and, through that program, to a treatment and counseling
program for alcohol or drug abuse.
The University cooperates fully with law enforcement
authorities. Violations of the substance abuse policy that are also
violations of federal or local law will be referred to the appropriate
agency. In such situations, action to address the infraction may
proceed concurrently in the University and in the criminal justice
If you are governed by a collective bargaining agreement
or are working under U.S. Department of Defense grants and contracts,
you may be subject to drug-free workplace compliance requirements
under those documents.
3.12 Smoking Policy
The University promotes a smoke-free environment.
Smoking is prohibited in all University facilities at the Foggy
Bottom campus and other sites, including classrooms, offices, locker
rooms, laboratories, parking garages, and maintenance facilities.
Violations of the smoking policy may result in disciplinary action
up to and including termination.
3.13 Adverse Weather and Other
The University usually remains open despite local inclement weather or travel conditions and other emergency situations. Management has the discretion to categorize employees as designated, emergency, essential or telecommuter unless otherwise prescribed through a collective bargaining agreement. For purposes of emergency planning, the following definitions are provided:
DEFINITIONS OF DESIGNATED, EMERGENCY AND ESSENTIAL STAFF
Employees who are required to report physically to work or those who are designated based upon definition within a collective bargaining agreement.
Employees who are assigned to the GW Police Department, Emergency Management, and Safety units. These employees may also be required to report physically or work from a remote location as necessary.
Employees who perform functions that have been deemed essential to maintaining business or academic operations during an emergent event. Employees may be required to report physically or may be required to be available for work from a remote location.
Employees who are scheduled to perform telework during the time of an emergent event.
Employees who have not been identified as designated, essential, emergency, or telecommuter.
When conditions indicate the University may change its operating status in response.You can obtain updates about the university’s operating status or other emergency conditions by calling (202) 994-5050. Taped information at this number applies to university employees and students in the D.C. metropolitan area, including those at the Mount Vernon College Campus. Information about the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn for employees and students is available by calling the Virginia Campus Information line at (703) 726-8333. You may also consult the Campus Advisories page at http://campusadvisories.gwu.edu/
In general, communications regarding operating status will include the following language.
CAMPUS ADVISORIES FOR INFOMAIL AND GW WEBSITE
The university is open. Classes will run as scheduled.
The university is closed. Classes are cancelled. Designated, emergency, essential, and telecommuting staff members must report as scheduled.
The university will open at ________. Designated, emergency, essential, and telecommuting staff members must report as scheduled.
University offices will close at ________, classes after ______ are cancelled.
Designated, emergency, essential, and telecommuting staff members must report as scheduled.
Classes are cancelled. University offices will remain open.
Building _____ will close at __________ due to _____________________.
Classes are cancelled and offices are closed.
The university is operating under a liberal leave status. Staff may use available annual leave. Designated, emergency, essential, and telecommuting staff members must report/work as scheduled.
Please note that the cancellation of classes does not mean that the University is closed or has implemented liberal leave for employees. In addition, special events may be held despite the closure of the University or the announcement of liberal leave. Alternatively, they may be canceled despite the University's operation on a normal schedule. If you are participating in a special event when an emergency situation may exist, you should check with the coordinator of the event or call the appropriate number listed above.
In some circumstances, one or more University facilities outside of Foggy Bottom may close or invoke liberal leave although Foggy Bottom is operating on a normal schedule. This information will be communicated directly to employees at work at these facilities when the decision is made and through the media and the information numbers listed above.
Information will also be communicated to television channels 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 and to radio stations WTOP (1500 AM), WMAL (630 AM), and WAMU (88.5 FM). If you are uncertain about the accuracy of the information reported by the media, please contact the emergency telephone numbers listed above. Because certain services must be maintained at all times, it is important that you check with your supervisor about your office or departmental policy on staffing during emergencies.
3.14 Legal Matters
It is the policy of the University to provide protection
from liability, in accordance with the terms of its By-Laws and
rules, to faculty and staff who become involved in claims or suits
arising from sanctioned University activities that fall within the
scope of their employment.
In order that appropriate action may be taken to
protect the interests of the University and of persons to be indemnified
for their participation in sanctioned University activities that
fall within the scope of their employment, the following should
be referred immediately to the Office of the Vice President and
General Counsel: all documents, subpoenas, or contacts relating
to pending or potential legal proceedings or governmental investigations;
and all documents, questions, or contacts from an attorney or law
enforcement or regulatory authority, whether requesting information
or otherwise and whether verbal or written.
© September 1999 The
George Washington University. If you have questions or comments
about the Employee Handbook, please fill out the Comment
Sheet or email email@example.com.