Employee Relations

INFORMATION SECURITY POLICY

It is the policy of Mississippi University for Women to view information as a business asset.  Misuse, abuse, or intentional damage to information may be as costly to the University as would misuse, abuse, or intentional damage to physical property.  An employee’s responsibility for the protection of University information is outlined below.

  1. Employees may use University information and third-party, proprietary information (i.e. information obtained from individuals or entities having a contractual relationship with MUW) in their custody only for the performance of official University business.
  2. Employees may not alter, destroy, or in any way change University information, except as required in the performance of their duties as employees of this University.
  3. Employees may not divulge University or third-party information to anyone, including MUW employees, who do not have a need to know.  Employees should maintain a secure workstation environment.
  4. Employees should not attempt to gain access to information or facilities to which they are not specifically authorized.
  5. Employees should not use the data processing equipment or facilities of the University to pursue non-university interests for their own personal financial gain.  Exception:  data processing equipment and facilities may be used for preparation of scholarly works and community service projects.
  6. Employees may not maintain information for businesses other than the University on University computing equipment.
  7. Any user IDs or passwords assigned to an employee or that he or she may have knowledge of as a result of his/her position at MUW is to be used only by that employee and is not to be divulged to any other party without proper authorization.
  8. Failure to comply with any of the above conditions may subject an employee to disciplinary action.  The University retains the right to pursue prosecution when misuse, abuse, or intentional damage to its information and computing resources is suspected.

(This policy was approved on January 31, 1996 by the Mississippi University for Women Administrative Council.)

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OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT (IHL 801.08)

In accordance with regulations established by the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning, employees are permitted to engage in outside employment provided it will not interfere with the institutional duties of the individual and permission has been obtained from the President. 

In addition, employees are precluded in engaging in a business or profession that would be considered a conflict of interest relative to the position held within the University.

FACULTY:

  1. From time to time faculty members receive requests for consulting services, part-time teaching or other employment from business and industry, various agencies, institutions or individuals. The University wishes to cooperate in and facilitate such endeavors whenever possible. Requests to engage in such activities must be reviewed and approved by the Department Chair, Dean, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President.  Application forms are available in the Office of Human Resources.
  2. Faculty positions, unless otherwise stated, are considered full-time positions. Before accepting outside employment, faculty members should determine and document that the said outside employment will interfere in no way with their instructional duties.
  3. Requests to engage in outside employment, including consulting activities, must be submitted on approval forms through channels to the President.

STAFF:

A form is available in the Human Resources Office or on the website that should be complete each fiscal by staff employees who work in positions outside of the university.

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POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AS A CANDIDATE (IHL 801.11)

Participation by employees in various community and public affairs is expected; however, it is expected that time given such activities will not interfere with the regular duties of an employee.  Political activities by an employee will not be prohibited at such times as the employee would not be ordinarily required to render services to the institution or if the employee elects to take and the institution grants a leave of absence without pay.

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WORK SCHEDULE 

The established regular hours of work comprising full-time employment for staff of the University shall be forty hours per week.  Normal duty hours are from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., with one hour for lunch, Monday through Fridays except on official University holidays.  The President may approve exceptions to this schedule as deemed appropriate.

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FLEX TIME

Each unit manager, with the assistance of direct supervisors when appropriate, should provide the unit flex time plan to the supervising President’s Cabinet member for approval.

Plans must consider the following:

  • Flex time must serve the overall interests of the university.  If flex time interferes with those interests, changes will have to be made to the flex time arrangement.
  • State law currently requires that each office be open from 8-5 Monday through Friday.
  • Each full-time employee must work a 40-hour workweek (workweeks cannot be averaged over a two-week period).

The plan should define any limitations that the unit  will experience during hours that are not fully staffed.  The plan should also specify hours that will not be fully staffed.

Example:

The Office of ABC will be staffed from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  During the hours of 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. staffing will be limited to one person.  All regular services provided by the Office of ABC will be available between the core hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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NURSING MOTHERS POLICY FOR EMPLOYEES (May 5, 2016)

The University provides reasonable break time to breastfeeding employees who wish to express breast milk for a nursing child for one year after the child’s birth. The University provides three locations on campus, shielded from view and free from intrusion of others, to express milk. These locations are open from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

The designated locations are as follows:

  1. Eckford Hall, Health Center, Room 124
  2. Education and Human Sciences, Room 121D
  3. Cochran Hall, Room 311

Breastfeeding employees shall be allowed a reasonable amount of break time to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother. If additional time is needed, the supervisor and employee will agree upon a plan which might include the employee using personal leave, coming into work earlier, or leaving later as supervision allows.

A private space (not a bathroom, restroom, or locker room) will be available for an employee to breastfeed her child or to express milk using a breast pump. The space may be used for other purposes, but will be available for the nursing mothers’ use as needed. The identified space must be shielded from view and free from any intrusion by others. Each designated location includes a table, a chair, and an electrical outlet. The designated locations are identified by signage marking each one as a “Lactation Room.”

Employees may temporarily store their breast milk on the premises. A refrigerator that is normally available for employees’ use will be also for safe storage of breast milk belonging to employees. Refrigerators used in laboratories or for business purposes are excluded. The nursing mother will provide her own containers. Milk stored in a campus refrigerator should be clearly labeled with name and date. If a refrigerator is not available, mothers may bring in a small ice chest for storing breast milk.

Any other private space that can be locked may be utilized by an employee for the expression of breast milk with permission of the employee’s supervisor. Additionally, a nursing mother has the right to breastfeed her child in any location that she and her child otherwise are authorized to be.  

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TERMINATION

Terminating employees will receive final pay on the following scheduled payroll date after their termination and upon presentation of a completed clearance form to the Office of Human Resources.

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PERSONNEL RECORDS 

The Office of Human Resources maintains an individual record of personal and payroll data for each staff employee.  It is important that this information be accurate.  Any changes in personal data should be reported immediately to Human Resources.  Changes that should be reported include name, marital status, number of dependents, telephone number and address.  Also, any beneficiary changes should be handled promptly.

Requests for personnel information, such as salary, etc., will only be released with a written statement from the employee.    It is the policy of the Office of Human Resources to provide dates of employment for former or current employees.

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PARKING REGULATIONS (IHL 1107)

Parking permits must be obtained by all University employees who park on campus.  Applications for permits should be made through the MUW Police Department.  The employee may access  the parking regulations on the MUW Police Department website.  Each employee should be familiar with the regulations and abide by them.

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RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL EMPLOYEES

University employees are expected to serve the University as they would any other efficient and progressive organization.  During work hours, use of time for matters not pertaining directly to employment is not the University policy and is strongly discouraged.  Being on time for work and notifying the supervisor in instances of tardiness or absence is also expected.

The image of the University is presented by the employees who deal with an individual whether student, guest or colleague.  Employees are expected to deal with the public and co-workers in a courteous, tactful and cooperative manner.

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MINOR COMPLIANCE POLICY

No person age 18 years or older shall have one-on-one contact in a non-public area with a minor. A minor is defined as any person under the age of 18 who is not enrolled at the University. An adult is any person 18 years of age or older. One-on-one contact is defined as personal, unsupervised interaction between a minor and an adult without at least one other adult, parent or legal guardian present. A non-public area is defined as any place where one would not normally anticipate others to be present or an area that is out of view of others.     

Duty to Report

You are required to immediately report any known or suspected abuse or neglect of a minor.

  1. Call the Mississippi Department of Human Services (800-222-8000) and provide them with written notification of who is believed to be involved and what was observed.
  2. Inform University Police (662-241-7777) or local police (911); and
  3. Inform the Director of Outreach and Innovation (662-241-6101).

Failure to comply with the reporting requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Additionally, anyone who fails to notify the Department of Human Services may be subject to criminal penalties pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated §43-21-353.

Requirements for Covered Programs

Additional registration and training requirements are mandated for individuals participating in programs involving minors on campus. Please contact the Office of Outreach and Innovation for more information.  

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WORK RULES

The general work rules prohibit the following actions on the part of the employee, which if committed, may be the cause for disciplinary action including termination of employment.  The actions listed below are examples of unacceptable behavior but do not include all actions that are unacceptable.

  1. Unauthorized possession of firearms or explosive materials on University premises.
  2. Unauthorized use of University identification cards.  (Permitting another person to use the employee’s identification card.)
  3. Refusal to obey public safety officers or other proper authority in emergencies.
  4. Willful or negligent damage to University property.
  5. Failure to observe posted safety rules and procedures.
  6. Smoking in areas designated as “No Smoking.”
  7. Disorderly conduct on University campus.
  8. Drinking or being under the influence of alcohol while on the job.  Possession or being under the influence of illegal drugs on university premises.
  9. Gambling in any form on University campus.
  10. Threats, pressure, or physical action against another employee.
  11. Dishonesty, theft, or commission of any crime on University property.  Removal of University property without proper authorization.
  12. Falsifying time records or any other University records.
  13. Refusal to accept instruction, including failure to perform work assigned.
  14. Careless performance of duties, including continued failure to maintain established standards of productivity.
  15. Failure of employees to report to their place of work at the beginning of their work period.  Leaving work prior to the end of their work period.
  16. Failure of absent employees to notify their supervisor on the first day of absence.

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MUW FACULTY AND STAFF DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY (IHL 806, MUW PS 6704)

The MUW Faculty and Staff Drug and Alcohol policy is available online at the Office of Human Resources website or in the Office of Human Resources.

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WEAPONS ON CAMPUS POLICY (IHL 1106)

Employees are not authorized to possess firearms or other weapons on institutional property or at institutional off-campus events regardless of possession of firearms permits. The Institutions of Higher Learning Board recognizes that the possession of pistols, firearms or other weapons on any of its institutional premises or at its institutions or student functions off- campus by persons other than duly authorized law enforcement officials, institutional security officials, other authorized persons and the institutional approved programs creates an unreasonable and unwarranted risk of injury or death to its institutions' employees, students, visitors and guests and further creates an unreasonable and unwarranted risk of damage to properties of the institutions, employees, students, visitors, guests and properties of others.  Because of such dangers, the Board hereby prohibits the possession of pistols, firearms or other weapons in any form by any person other than duly authorized law enforcement officials, institutional security officials and other authorized persons. “Authorized persons” includes those individuals authorized by applicable law and by the institutional executive officer or his/her designee.  “Authorized persons” also includes those who have in their possession a valid, unexpired state firearms permit with the “Instructor Certified” (IC) sticker on the back, or the equivalent permit issued by a state with a reciprocity agreement with Mississippi.  Even so, those possessing such permits are not permitted to possess firearms in any institutional facilities and/or areas that are deemed non-public. 

The University deems the following areas sensitive/non-public:
Academic buildings; Administrative offices and buildings; Athletic facilities and fields; Residence Halls; Stark Recreational Facility; Campus Health Center (Eckford Building); Fant Memorial Library; Carrier Chapel; Child and Parent Development Center; Speech and Hearing Center; Counseling Center; any ticketed event, no matter the location; and any building or facility not specifically identified as a non-sensitive/public area.

The University deems the following as non-sensitive/public areas:
Hogarth Student Union; University Dining facilities (not located in Academic buildings) including, but not limited to, Hogarth Cafeteria and Subway; University Police Department; Barnes & Noble Bookstore; Puckett House; Stovall Welcome Center Lobby; Plymouth Bluff; Bryan Green Gazebo and surrounding lawn; and outdoor locations including Shattuck lawn.

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GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES - (IHL 405 and 403.0202)

The grievance procedure does not modify the University's at-will employment doctrine policy or create contractual rights.

The purpose of these procedures is to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of an employee’s grievance. A grievance is a work-related condition that an employee alleges to be (i) unfair, inequitable, or a hindrance to the employee's effective performance or (ii) discriminatory on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, disabled veteran status or veterans of the Vietnam era status.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Procedures for prompt, appropriate corrective action are an essential part of the University's effort to deal with grievances.  All reasonable steps will be taken to assure that the complainant and the alleged offender are protected by the highest degree of confidentiality possible.  Both parties are advised, however, that once an inquiry or an investigation has begun, anonymity may be impossible.

HEARING PANEL POOL

The Hearing Panel Pool shall consist of twenty-four members selected annually.  Six members of the pool (three women, three men) shall be selected by each of the following groups:  Faculty Senate, Administrative Council, Student Government Association, and Staff Council.   At the beginning of the fall semester, the Director of Human Resources will request the selections from each group and will notify the Hearing Panel Pool members of their selection.

The Hearing Panel Pool is available for selection as necessary by the President for non-academic employee grievance hearings and sexual harassment hearings.  The composition of a hearing panel is noted under the Grievance Procedure – Non-academic Employees and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedure for Faculty, Staff and Students that follow in this handbook.

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GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE – Non-academic Employees

Informal Resolution

The best interests of both the university and its employees are served by regular, forthright communication.  An employee who believes a justifiable job-related complaint exists should take steps as soon as possible to resolve the problem in a discussion with the immediate supervisor. 

Should informal attempts at resolution prove unsatisfactory, the employee and the supervisor may seek the assistance of the Director of Human Resources to mediate the problem.

Human Resources representatives may be contacted for informal discussion if the employee believes he or she cannot approach the supervisor with the problem. A Human Resources representative may meet with the employee, the supervisor, or both as may be appropriate, to assist in amicably resolving their differences. Human Resources will also provide information on matters of policy interpretation and use of the formal grievance procedure.

Formal Procedures

Definitions

  • Working Day: Monday through Friday of each week and excludes holidays listed in the university bulletin or as designated by the president.
  • Complainant: Person filing the grievance.
  • Respondent:  Person against whom the grievance is filed.

Any regular employee, except new employees within the 90-Day Performance Review Period, student employees, and temporary employees, can pursue a grievance by following these procedures.

1.  Filing the Complaint

The formal grievance process begins when a written, signed complaint is filed with the Director of Human Resources.  The complaint must be filed within 10 working days of the occurrence that gave rise to the grievance or when the basis for the grievance became known or reasonably should have been known to the employee.  The complaint must include the specific factual basis for the grievance.

2. Hearing

The purpose of the hearing is to afford the parties a meaningful opportunity to be heard before an impartial panel.

a. Composition of Hearing Panel

The grievance hearing panel shall be selected by the president from the pool of members appointed annually to the university’s Hearing Panel Pool.  Students are not eligible to serve on an employee grievance hearing panel.

1. Generally, there are three categories of employees at the University:  faculty, staff supervisors and staff employees.

2. Two members of the panel should be of the same category as the complainant.

3. Two members of the panel should be of the same category as the respondent.

4. The panel chair is appointed by the President and should be from a category not yet represented.

5. No member of the hearing panel should be from the same department as the parties.

b. Advance Exchange of Evidence

At least one week before the hearing is scheduled, each party must furnish the chair of the hearing panel two copies of a list of witnesses who may testify at the hearing on his or her behalf and two copies of any documents that may be introduced in evidence.  If either party attempts to introduce evidence not properly disclosed in advance to the other party, the hearing panel may decide either to exclude the evidence or give the other party additional time in which to respond.

c. Advisors

Each party may have an advisor throughout this process.  At the hearing, however, the advisor's role will be limited to observing and providing counsel to the party being advised.  The advisor will not be permitted to participate in the hearing process.

d. Hearing Procedures

All hearings will be closed to the public.  Only those individuals directly involved in the case can be present. 

The hearing begins with the chair’s summary of the grievance.  The chair then gives the parties an opportunity to make an opening statement.

After the opening statements, the hearing panel may question the complainant.  The respondent may then question the complainant or submit written questions to the hearing panel which he or she wishes to have presented.  The complainant may then call witnesses and present documentary evidence.  The hearing panel may limit the number of witnesses.  A witness may attend the hearing only while testifying.

After the complainant’s case has been presented, the respondent may present testimony, witnesses, and documentary evidence.  The complainant and hearing panel may then question the respondent.

After the presentation of all evidence on behalf of the complainant and respondent, each party has the opportunity to make a brief closing statement.  After the closing statements, the panel begins its deliberations in private.

e. Finding of the Hearing Panel

The hearing panel shall base its findings solely on evidence presented at the hearing.  After considering the evidence, the hearing panel decides whether a preponderance of the evidence supports the grievance.

The hearing panel prepares a written report of its findings of fact and its decision.

The hearing panel sends a copy of its report to the President, with a copy to each party.  The report must be accompanied by all documentary evidence presented at the hearing, and the recording of the hearing.

3. Decision of the President

Either party may respond to the report of the hearing panel by written letter to the President.  This letter, which is limited to three single spaced pages, should contain arguments as to why the decision of the hearing panel should be accepted or rejected by the President.  The President shall consider both the report of the hearing panel and the responses of the respective parties in making the final decision.  When that decision is made, the President shall inform the hearing panel, parties, and all appropriate administrative officers of the decision.

 

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GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE B Employees with Academic Rank* (Other Than Administrators)

An employee holding academic rank who feels aggrieved should use the following procedures in seeking to resolve the grievance within ten working days of the grievance. **

Step 1:       The grievance should be discussed with his/her immediate supervisor.

Step 2:       If the grievance is not resolved at the above level, the employee may request a meeting with the Dean of his/her college or immediate supervisor to discuss the matter.

Step 3:       If the outcome of Step 2 is not satisfactory, the employee may request a meeting with the Chief Academic Officer, the Dean of his/her college, and his/her immediate supervisor.

Step 4:       If the procedures followed in Step 3 do not resolve the grievance the employee may request a meeting with the Faculty Appeals Committee. The procedure to be followed is set forth in MUW Policy Statement # 3528. The purpose of this meeting is fact-finding and provides the grievant opportunity to fully discuss his/her grievance.  It is not intended to be a full-fledged evidentiary hearing.

Step 5:       If the employee is not satisfied with the recommendations of the Appeals Committee, the Chief Academic Officer will report the matter to the President for final action at the University level.

* Procedures in the Faculty Handbook section should be followed in grievances involving termination appeals by tenured and non-tenured faculty.

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SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

Mississippi University for Women is committed to providing a working environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, including gender-based discrimination and harassment.  Sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence, is a form of harassment.  The University provides support and resources to students, faculty and staff to address concerns related to gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct.

For more information, click here http://www.muw.edu/titleix/sexualmisconductpolicy.

CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS

The educational mission of Mississippi University for Women is promoted by professionalism in faculty-student and supervisor-employee relationships.  This professionalism is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.  Actions of students and faculty members and supervisors and their employees that tend to harm this atmosphere undermine professionalism and hinder fulfillment of the University's mission.  Trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse, or appear to abuse, their power.  Those who abuse, or appear to abuse, their power in such a context violate their duty to the academic community. 

Faculty members exercise power over students and supervisors exercise power over their employees, whether in giving grades or promotions, praise or criticism, evaluations or recommendations for future employment, or conferring other benefits on them.  Amorous relationships between students and faculty members or employees and their supervisors are obviously inappropriate when the faculty member or supervisor has professional responsibility for, and thus power over, the student or employee.  These situations greatly increase the probability that the faculty member or supervisor will abuse this power and sexually exploit the student or employee.

Given the fundamentally asymmetric nature of, and the "power differential" inherent in, such relationships, any appearance of voluntary consent on the part of the student or employee is suspect.  Moreover, others in the department may be affected by the unprofessional behavior because it places the faculty member or supervisor in a position to advance or favor one student's or employee's interests at the expense of others, and implicitly makes obtaining benefits contingent on amorous or sexual favors. 

A consensual relationship between a supervisor and an employee in the reporting line to the supervisor is viewed by the University as inappropriate and unethical, regardless of whether both parties appear to have consented to the relationship.

Consensual Relationships Within the Instructional Context  - No faculty member shall have an amorous relationship (consensual or otherwise) with any student who is enrolled in a course being taught by the faculty member, or whose academic work (including work as a teaching assistant) is being supervised by the faculty member.

Consensual Relationships Outside the Instructional Context - Amorous relationships between students and faculty members, even those occurring outside the instructional context, are suspect by nature and may lead to difficulties.  Particularly when the student and the faculty member are in the same academic unit or in units that are academically allied, relationships viewed by both parties as consensual may appear to others to be exploitative.  If a complaint of sexual harassment is made in such a situation, it will be exceedingly difficult to defend the faculty member’s conduct on grounds of mutual consent.

Further, in such situations (and in others that may occur in the future, which neither party can anticipate,) the faculty member may face serious conflicts of interest.  In certain instances, it may be necessary for a faculty member to withdraw from participation in activities or decisions that tend to reward or penalize the student involved.  A faculty member who fails to recognize these conflicts of interest and withdraw accordingly may reward or penalize a student with whom the faculty member has had an amorous relationship.  In these cases, the faculty member has violated her or his ethical obligations to the student, to colleagues, and to the institution.  Moreover, actions that occur after the breakup of these relationships may cause problems.  For example, the lack of a favorable recommendation for the student from the faculty member may be viewed as retaliation for "breaking up" and may be actionable.

For all of these reasons, therefore, the University considers consensual relationships between faculty and students, even if outside the instructional context, as unwise and strongly discourages these relationships.

(As used in this policy, the term "faculty" or "faculty member" includes all instructional staff, including graduate students with teaching responsibilities.)

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Human Resources

Melanie Freeman
Director

Shattuck Hall

Mailing: 1100 College Street, MUW-1609, Columbus, MS  39701
Phone: (662) 329-7222
Fax: (662) 241-7616

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.