Section 1: The Augustana Workplace
Welcome to Augustana College!
We have a long tradition of excellence at Augustana College and look forward to a future filled with new success stories. This tradition was built with the painstaking work of faculty, staff and administrators, and we take great pride in both the efforts and achievements of this hard work. You, as an Augustana employee, are an integral part of our success.
This handbook outlines the general policies we've created for the staff and administrative employees at Augustana College. It should answer many of your questions and guide you in making good decisions about your employment. This new handbook replaces and supersedes all previous handbooks and any other policy documents you might have received. Please take a few minutes to thoroughly review this valuable information. If you have questions, or are unclear about what is contained in the handbook, please don't hesitate to contact your manager, supervisor or any member of our Human Resources team.
I look forward to working with you to create a future that builds on the firm foundation of our past. I'm personally pleased to be working with all of you to create the next chapter in the history of Augustana College.
Augustana College understands that its employees receive a lot of information about the college and the college's expectations of administrative and staff employees. This handbook was created as a written tool to give employees an overview of the organization and some guidelines for a successful career. This handbook was not designed to create an employment contract and should not be considered a contract.
This handbook replaces and supersedes all previous handbooks as well as all written or verbal policy notifications that may have been received or distributed. Additionally, statements or promises made by a supervisor, manager or cabinet member may not be interpreted as a change in policy and does not constitute an agreement with an employee.
While the college strives to keep all employees updated of policy changes, it is the responsibility of each employee to seek out information to clarify policies or situations that are unclear. Such questions should be directed to the employee's manager, supervisor or to a member of the Human Resources (HR) team. The college reserves the right to change, alter, suspend or cancel all policies and practices without notice.
Augustana College, rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and a Lutheran expression of the Christian faith, is committed to offering a challenging education that develops qualities of mind, spirit and body necessary for a rewarding life of leadership and service in a diverse and changing world.
The words of Augustana's mission statement reflect both tradition and vision. Founded by Swedish Lutheran settlers in Chicago in 1860, Augustana has grown from a small school educating Swedish immigrants into a highly selective college of the liberal arts and sciences. The college honors its roots and its affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At the same time, Augustana's rich liberal arts environment is enhanced by diversity.
Augustana continues to do what it has always done-challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, changing world.
Augustana College is focused on the overall mission of challenging and preparing our students. In order to meet this goal, it's essential that outstanding people are hired and provided the necessary tools and resources, as well as an appropriate employment atmosphere. In general, the employment goals include:
- Providing equal employment opportunities for all employees regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, veteran status, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor protected by federal, state or local law
- Providing a package of compensation and benefits commiserate with work performed as well as feedback on ways to improve
- Creating a safe, efficient and productive working environment that is in compliance with all safety regulations as well as federal and state laws
- Encouraging and acting on constructive suggestions that will help the college continually improve
- Creating an environment of open communication so that employees can make decisions and take responsibility for their workplace outcomes
This handbook was designed to provide an overview of the culture of Augustana College as well as specific policies and procedures for staff and administrative employees. In general, it is expected that Augustana College employees will:
- Approach their jobs with a positive attitude and put forth their best efforts
- Treat all students, customers, suppliers and co-workers with respect, courtesy and professionalism
- Act and dress in a safe and professional manner
- Maintain the confidentiality of all sensitive information regarding the college
- Look for opportunities to improve themselves and the organization, and provide suggestions for changes
- Follow the policies contained within this handbook and ask questions when a policy is unknown or unclear
Employees receiving this handbook are "at-will" employees and do not have an employment contract. At-will employees do not have a guarantee of continued employment and are also free to resign their position at any time for any reason with or without notice. Likewise, Augustana College may terminate the employment relationship at any time with or without prior notice for any reason not prohibited by law. Nothing within this handbook or any other college document or verbal communication is intended to create a contract of employment.
All non-faculty employees are required to sign an Acknowledgement of Receipt of Handbook that clarifies this condition of employment. A copy of this acknowledgement is provided in the appendix.
This policy of at-will employment may not be modified or changed by any cabinet member, manager or employee of the college.
Augustana College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is Augustana College's intent and policy to provide equal opportunity to all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability and any other category protected by federal, state or local law. This non-discriminatory treatment applies not only to employment but also to:
- Job assignment
- Rates of pay or other compensation
- Selection for training
- Any other employment-related decision
All decisions on job-related issues will be made based on job performance, education, training, experience, skill, attitude and other requirements specific for each situation. Should employees have questions or concerns about this policy or concerns about a specific situation, they should discuss their concerns with the Director of Human Resources, who also serves as the college's Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Augustana College strives to make the hiring and application process, as well as the work environment, accessible to everyone. Any employee who becomes disabled while employed at Augustana should notify the immediate supervisor if it is believed changes are necessary in order to perform the job. The college will review this request to determine if it is a qualified disability and what, if any, accommodations can be made to the essential duties of the job. Similarly, employees may be asked to adapt to changes necessary in work functions or work environment to accommodate such needs or special situations.
It is the policy and goal of Augustana College to provide a workplace free from harassment for all employees. It is expected that each and every employee will assist and support the college in reaching this goal. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by law is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, national origin or any other characteristic protected by law constitutes discrimination and is also prohibited by this policy.
Because of the serious nature of workplace harassment, periodic mandatory training may be provided to employees. Participating in this training is a condition of continued employment.
As used in this policy, the term harassment includes sexual and racial harassment as well as harassment based on any other protected class. Some examples of what may be considered harassment, depending on the facts and circumstances, include the following:
- Verbal harassment: derogatory comments regarding a person's race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ancestry, ethnic heritage, mental or physical disability, age, appearance or other
classification protected by law; threats of physical harassment or distribution of written or graphic material having such effects.
- Physical harassment: physical contact including touching, hitting, pushing or other aggressive contact. Derogatory gestures or the display of signs or pictures that may be offensive to others may also be examples of physical harassment.
- Sexual harassment: unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature such as sexual advances, demands for sexual favors or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual or other harassment can occur intentionally or unintentionally. An employee who feels harassed by another employee, a supervisor or manager or a third-party non-employee (such as a student, supplier or customer) should make this concern known by:
- Telling the person who is engaging in the conduct or communication that his or her actions are offensive to you and that those actions must stop
- If the offensive behavior does not stop, or the employee is not comfortable communicating directly with the person, the employee should advise the manager or supervisor or any member of the Office of Human Resources. This can be done by meeting in person or in writing.
It may be considered harassment if:
- Submission to such unwelcome conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment
- Submission or rejection of such unwelcome conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an individual (i.e. promotion, demotion and transfer)
Such unwelcome conduct unreasonably interferes with an employee's job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment
All complaints of harassment or discrimination will be kept as confidential as possible. A prompt and thorough investigation of all complaints will take place. No retaliation or adverse action against an employee making a complaint will be tolerated. Retaliation against employees who report harassment or discrimination or participate in the investigation of a report is strictly prohibited.
Any incident or suspected incident of retaliation should be reported to HR immediately. This policy applies to all staff and administrative employees and covers all Augustana College employees.
Title IX and Sex Discrimination
Augustana College prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in employment as well as in its education programs and activities, and a federal law known as "Title IX" requires that the College not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs. Questions about the College's Title IX responsibilities, or to file a complaint of sex discrimination under Title IX, contact the College's Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Evelyn Campbell, 794-7533. You may also Laura Ford, the Director of Human Resources, who serves as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for college employees, at 794-7352.
Augustana College's reputation for integrity is one of its most valuable assets and is dependent on the ethical actions of each and every employee. The college's reputation is paramount, and drives its interactions with its students, the community and employees. To maintain these high standards, the college depends on every employee to adhere to the highest legal and ethical standards. The college's business is conducted in the strict observance of both the letter and spirit of all applicable laws.
This Code of Conduct sets out basic principles to guide all employees of the college. It is supplemented by the policies and procedures outlined in the employee handbook, together providing a framework for prudent decision-making. All employees must conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Conduct, and seek to avoid even the appearance of improper behavior.
Employees will not engage in conduct or activity that raises questions as to the college's honesty, impartiality or reputation, or otherwise cause embarrassment to the college. Employees will avoid any action, whether or not specifically prohibited in the personnel policies, which might result in or reasonably be expected to create an appearance of unethical conduct.
This code should also be provided to and followed by the college's agents and representatives, including consultants.
Employees who violate the standards in this code will be subject to disciplinary action. If you are in a situation that you believe may violate or lead to a violation of this code, follow the guidelines described in section 6 of this code.
A "conflict of interest" exists when a person's private interest interferes in any way with the interests of the college. A conflict situation can arise when an employee takes actions or has interests that may make it difficult to perform college work objectively and effectively. A conflict situation can also arise when an employee of the college benefits personally, either directly or indirectly, from activities conducted on behalf of the college. All decisions made by employees of Augustana College in the course of their professional responsibilities are to be made only on the basis of their desire to promote the best interests of the college, as also described in the college's conflict of interest policy for the Board of Trustees. A copy of this policy is found in the handbook appendix.
Working for another institution of higher education or another employer outside your employment with the college may create a conflict of interest. Prior to engaging in any outside employment, employees must obtain approval from their supervisor. Any employee who wishes to perform paid consulting services of any kind must inform and obtain prior approval from the Office of the President.
Acceptance of gifts in a business relationship can also result in a conflict of interest. No gift or entertainment should ever be accepted by a college employee, directly or indirectly through a family member or agent, unless it: (1) is not a cash gift, (2) is consistent with customary business practices, (3) is not excessive in value, (4) cannot be construed as a bribe or payoff, and (5) does not violate any laws or regulations. Please discuss with your supervisor any gifts or proposed gifts that you are not certain are appropriate. Any gift given or received that is valued in excess of $100 must be disclosed to the Office of the President.
Conflicts of interest may not always be clear-cut, and any question should be forwarded to the Office of the President or the General Counsel. Any employee who becomes aware of a conflict or potential conflict should bring it to the attention of a supervisor or follow the procedures outlined in section 6 of the Code of Conduct.
Augustana College employees must maintain the confidentiality of confidential information entrusted to them by the college, except when disclosure is authorized by the General Counsel or required by laws or regulations. While it is not possible to list every item that is confidential, the following are examples of information that is considered confidential by the college: admission lists, supplier information, pricing, cost allocations and marketing plans. The information that the college deems appropriate to share with the public is typically available on the college's website. The obligation to preserve confidential information continues even after employment ends.
It is important to take an active interest in political and governmental activities and to support principles, issues, parties or candidates. All such involvement, however, must be done on an individual basis, and not as a representative of Augustana College.
Similarly, no statements may be made to the public on behalf of the college or as a representative of the college without prior notice to the Director of Public Relations in the Office of Communication and Marketing.
All college transactions must be authorized by appropriate individuals and conducted in accordance with college policies and procedures. Individuals who enter into contracts on behalf of the college should confirm the extent of their authority to do so on a regular basis.
Any waiver of this Code may be made only by the Board of Trustees and the President of the College.
The college’s policies, internal controls and operating procedures are intended to prevent, detect or deter improper activities. Intentional and unintentional violations of laws, regulations, policies and procedures may still occur, and may jeopardize the college's resources or the safety of employees and others. All employees are expected to report behavior which is believed to be illegal, unethical, or otherwise in violation of college policies. These are the steps to keep in mind:
• Try to get as many facts as possible.
• Ask yourself: What specifically am I being asked to do? Does it seem unethical or improper? This will enable you to focus on the specific question you are faced with, and the alternatives you have. Use your judgment and common sense; if something seems unethical or improper, report it.
• Discuss the problem with your supervisor. This is the basic guidance for all situations. In many cases, your supervisor will be more knowledgeable about the issue and will appreciate being brought into the decision-making process. Remember, it is your supervisor's responsibility to help solve problems.
• Seek help from college resources. In rare cases where it may not be appropriate to discuss an issue with your supervisor, or where you do not feel comfortable approaching your supervisor with your question, discuss it with the Human Resources manager. If that alternative is also not appropriate, you may address your concerns to the President of the college or the General Counsel, or to any other member of the Cabinet.
• Submit your report in writing. Allegations of suspected improper activities should be made in writing to assure a clear understanding of the issues raised. The written report should be factual and contain as much specific information as possible.
You may report violations without fear of retaliation. The college strictly prohibits retaliation of any kind against an employee or any other individual who reports, in good faith, behavior or activities that are believed to be illegal or unethical. Retaliation is also prohibited against any individual who participates in the college's investigation of such behavior or activities. Any individual who believes they been subjected to or affected by retaliatory conduct for reporting a suspected violation or participating in an investigation should report their concern immediately, following the complaint procedure outlined above. The prohibition against retaliation is not intended to prohibit managers or supervisors from exercising legitimate supervisory responsibilities within the normal scope of their duties, the college’s workplace expectations, other institutional policies and valid performance-related factors.
Updated Aug. 24, 2011