- 2.1 Personnel classifications
- 2.2 Christian life expectations
- 2.3 Romantic Involvement between Employees and Students
- 2.4 Equal employment opportunity
- 2.5 Job-related qualifications
- 2.6 Nepotism
- 2.7 Job or position descriptions
- 2.8 Recruiting and hiring
- 2.9 Orientation
- 2.10 Probationary period
- 2.11 Performance evaluations and feedback
- 2.12 Personnel files
- 2.13 Release of personnel information
- 2.14 Exit interview
- 2.15 Moonlighting
- 2.16 Terminations
- 2.17 Employee resignations
- 2.18 Involuntary termination
- 2.18.1 Job elimination
- 2.18.2 Termination for cause
- 2.18.3 Non-renewal of service
- 2.19 Disciplinary action
- 2.20 Suggested methods for resolving conflict
- 2.21 Procedure for filing a formal grievance
- 2.22 Health, safety and worker’s compensation
- 2.23 Social security
- 2.24 Retirement policy
Non-academic Personnel ––– Those whose main responsibilities do not involve academic teaching.
Exempt Personnel ––– Non-academic personnel whose main responsibilities are administrative or professional in nature and meet certain specific conditions set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Such personnel are exempt from minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Wage and Hour Law (i.e., do not receive overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week).
Non-exempt Personnel ––– Non-academic personnel whose main responsibilities are not administrative in nature. Such personnel do qualify for the minimum wage and for payment of overtime rates for hours worked in excess of 40 hour per week.
Full-time Personnel ––– Non-academic personnel who work a minimum of 1,560 hours per year. Full-time personnel who work less than 12 months per year will be eligible for prorated fringe benefits.
Part-time Personnel ––– Non-academic personnel who are designated to work less than full time. Letters of agreement signed by the Executive Director of Human Resources enumerate wages and hours.
Casual (full-time or part-time) Personnel ––– Those who are engaged for short periods of time on an “as needed” basis. They are not eligible for fringe benefits.
Historically, Houghton College is an avowedly Christian liberal arts college that consistently seeks to place supreme worth upon Christian character. Under the direction of The Wesleyan Church, we espouse wholeheartedly the evangelical faith and, in particular, the characteristic doctrines of John Wesley and historic Methodism. We, further, earnestly endeavor to maintain on the campus a standard of conduct compatible with vital spirituality and Christian growth.
Because of this position, all prospective employees of the college are asked to read the “Summary of the Articles of Religion” and the booklet “This We Believe” before signing the employment application. In signing, the prospective employees assert respect for these doctrines and practices, and agree to conduct themselves in harmony with them and be supportive of them while they are an employee. Prospective employees will also read the “A Vision of Our Common Life” and pattern their lives according to its philosophies as well as agree to follow the behavioral expectations for all employees.
Houghton College suggests that faculty, administrator, and staff exercise great care in relationships with students. Romantic relationships, appropriate in other circumstances, may be inappropriate in a professional situation because of the unequal levels of power between the employee and the student.
The difference in power makes it impossible to be certain that the relationship is truly welcome or consensual. In a subordinate position, such as in a student worker/supervisor situation, a student may find it difficult to refuse even a casual request from an employee. In addition, where a romantic relationship exists, other students may believe that the student is receiving preferential treatment.
If a student inappropriately initiates a relationship in order to induce preferential treatment, it is the responsibility of the employee to discourage and refuse such overtures, and to maintain appropriate professional boundaries at all times.
When a relationship is deemed by the involved parties to be appropriate – that is, where none of the above concerns are relevant—the employee may wish to enter voluntarily into an accountability arrangement with another employee.
While we are charged with the responsibility to preserve our distinctive Christian heritage and to screen prospective employees with respect to their religious commitment, we also take care to grant equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons. Thus, it is and will be the policy of the college to prohibit discrimination against any employee or prospective employee because of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. Houghton College provides equal opportunity in recruiting and employment, promotion, transfer and termination. We will continue to insure that all personnel actions such as, but not limited to, compensation, benefits, education, training, tuition assistance, social and recreational programs will be administered in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and all other applicable federal, state and local laws governing equal employment opportunity.
It is the established policy of Houghton College to utilize our available human resources by selecting the best-qualified person for the job to be performed. Personnel to be hired or promoted will be selected on the basis of appropriate qualifications, to be determined by the college, which are essential to satisfactory job performance.
Requests for employment of members of an employee’s family are frequently encountered on the college campus. No employee may be hired, transferred or promoted into a position where they will supervise or be supervised by a close relative. “Supervise” is defined as, but is not limited to, hire, train, monitor, and terminate. “Close relatives” are defined as spouse, father, step-father, father-in-law, mother, step-mother, mother-in-law, brother, step-brother, brother-in-law, sister, step-sister, sister-in-law, son, step-son, son-in-law, daughter, step-daughter, daughter-in-law, grandchild, step-grandchild, nephew or niece of an employee or an employee’s spouse.
This policy also applies to student workers and short-term temporary help.
Exceptions to this nepotism policy may be made by specific action of an administrator and/or council of the Board of Trustees, with the concurrence of the Executive Director of Human Resources. Employees hired prior to the adoption of this policy (November 15, 1982) are exempted from its provisions.
A job or position description is a detailed explanation of the duties and responsibilities of a position and a guide for the employee. A written position description clarifies the expectations of the supervisor and allows the employee to perform the job in an efficient manner. Each person applying for a job will be given a complete position description at the time of their interview. Employees should request and supervisors should provide current position descriptions in all cases. Position descriptions should be created/revised by the appropriate supervisor in conjunction with the Human Resources Office.
Vacancies or new positions are filled in one of the following ways:
1. Management Request ––– Requests by the supervisor to transfer an employee out of the department or to promote and transfer an employee from another department should be channeled through the Human Resources Office. In the interest of the most effective use of human resources and/or opportunity for advancement, the Executive Director of Human Resources may recommend the transfer or promotion of qualified personnel.
2. Job Posting ––– At such time when it is determined there is a full-time position to be filled, the Human Resources Office, as requested, will post as outlined below, any staff or administrative job openings.
a) Management requests for promotion or transfer of employees shall take precedence over job postings.
b) Postings will specify job title, grade, brief summary of job description, skills required, and any other information pertinent to that position.
c) Postings will be placed in a number of areas visible to employees.
d) Postings for part-time positions will be left to the discretion of the Human Resources Office.
e) An employee will be considered for an announced job in another department only after completing at least two (2) years at work in their present job position, unless a transfer is requested by the administration.
f) Employees interested in being considered have one week to make their wishes known to the Human Resources Office. Final selection will be made from all applicants, both in-house and outside, on the basis for hiring outlined in the section entitled “Job-related Qualifications.”
g) Job posting will remain for one week.
3. Promotion – A promotion is a personnel action that advances an employee to a different job carrying a higher job classification or evaluation than the employee’s previous job. A promotion is accompanied by a higher pay range and usually entails an increase in pay.
4. Transfer – A transfer is a personnel action that changes an employee’s work assignment from one employing unit to another at the same, or in some cases a lower, basic job classification and pay range level. A transfer is accompanied by an equal or lower rate of pay as provided in the job classification and pay plan.
5. Re-hire – A re-hire is a personnel action that results in the re-employment of a person who formerly worked for Houghton College. Employment consideration is given all former employees who left employment with the college with good work records and provided appropriate notice prior to their departure. Former employees qualified for position openings and having a satisfactory record of prior service will be given consideration. A strong recommendation from the applicant’s previous supervisor is essential. An employee who is re-hired is given credit for prior service with the college as it relates to certain benefits, such as vacation.
6. Selection – The department supervisor, in consultation with the Executive Director of Human Resources, shall make the final selection of each staff employee hired or promoted, subject to approval by the appropriate administrator and final approval by the Board of Trustees. The Human Resources Office will notify all unsuccessful applicants of the employment decision. Official notification of employment by telephone and/or in writing shall be made by the Human Resources Office or interviewing administrator, confirming the salary, fringe benefit status, and starting date.
It is our practice to provide a carefully-planned orientation program of information to help all new employees learn more about Houghton College, the benefits provided to them and what we expect from them as members of our staff. Orientation begins in the Human Resources Office, but, to be effective, must be continued in the department where the new employee will work. To facilitate this, each supervisor is responsible for giving special attention to the orientation checklist and returning the completed form to the Human Resources Office, where it will become a part of the employee’s file. Please see Appendix #1.
Customarily, non-exempt staff appointments are made on a 90-day probationary basis. At the end of the probationary period the rating form should be completed by the supervisor and returned to the Human Resources Office. (See Appendix #2.) If, in the opinion of the supervisor, the employee successfully completed the probationary period, they achieve regular status. At the supervisor’s request, and with the concurrence of the Executive Director of Human Resources, employment may be terminated at any time during the probationary period if it becomes apparent that the probationary period will not be completed successfully. While a new employee is formally evaluated at the end of the probationary period, a supervisor should strive to provide frequent, informal feedback throughout the employee’s initial 90 days of employment. In the event that employment is terminated during or at the conclusion of the probationary period, the amount of notice or severance (if any) is solely up to the discretion of the College, based on the length of service and the issues leading to the termination.
Regular honest and open performance feedback is critical to communication and effectiveness in the performance of duties as it results in employee development and creative problem solving. Because we recognize that managerial styles and preferences differ from person to person, we do not believe it is advantageous to dictate that performance evaluations be done at a specific time or using a specific method or form.
Every supervisor is responsible to communicate performance standards to employees.
Employees and supervisors are strongly encouraged to jointly establish annual goals.
Supervisors have the responsibility to provide on-going consistent feedback to employees. In many instances this feedback is given informally and/or verbally rather than through a more formal, written evaluation. However, supervisors should conduct written appraisals on a consistent basis. Supervisors have the right to conduct performance evaluations as often as they believe necessary. It is appropriate for employees to request written performance evaluations periodically if they have questions or concerns about their performance. If such a request is not acknowledged promptly, please contact the Human Resources Office.
The Human Resources Office can provide materials and assistance to supervisors to help in performance evaluations. Management development programs on performance evaluations are also offered by the Human Resources Office.
Employees have the right to provide a written response to any evaluation or feedback received. The response should be presented to and discussed with the supervisor. The response will be kept with the documented feedback.
Employees are encouraged to approach their supervisor at any time with questions regarding expectations or performance.
The Human Resources Office maintains a personnel file for all employees. The file contains pertinent information relating to the employment status of the individual and is updated as necessary. Any employee may examine their own file and may give written consent for examination of the file by their representative. To make an appointment to review your personnel file, call the Human Resources Office. Supervisors are encouraged to document exceptional performance and forward such documentation to the Human Resources Office for inclusion in the employee’s file.
The college does not routinely release the names of students, staff, and faculty members to outside organizations or business firms. This rule also applies to information about addresses, telephone numbers, and financial matters. Every effort should be made to see that lists of names and addresses do not fall into the hands of the commercial organizations that make a practice of selling lists to numerous mail order concerns.
All requests for employee information are to be routed (1) to the Academic Dean of the College (for faculty members), (2) to the Vice President for Student Life (for students) or (3) to the Executive Director of Human Resources (for all other employees) for reply. In no case will there be an automatic issuance of names. Where necessary, full investigation is to be conducted as to the purpose of the request and the use that will be made of the information. Under no circumstance would any information for a specific individual be released except through these departments and then only upon written authorization of the employee concerned.
When an employee voluntarily terminates employment from the college, they should immediately inform the Human Resources Office so that necessary details can be completed prior to the employee’s departure. If the employee wishes, an exit interview will be conducted by the Executive Director of Human Resources or designee. The exit interview form will become a part of the employee’s permanent file. (See Appendix #3.)
A full-time employee should not accept a position with another employer that may have an adverse impact on their job performance at the college. If moonlighting or regular outside employment affects the performance of an employee, the supervisor is expected to bring the matter to the employee’s attention. Should persistence of such a situation be identified as detrimental to the employee’s function with the college, the matter will be handled through the disciplinary procedure.
Houghton College Letters of Agreement call for employees to give 30 days written notice of intention to resign. Notice to the employer shall be given to the office of the President, and any notice to the employee shall be delivered to him or her personally. The Houghton College staff application states “Applicants subsequently hired by the college are issued contracts or letters of agreement for a specified time period. Houghton College reserves the right of non-issuance of succeeding contracts with or without cause.”
When an employee announces an intention to resign, immediate steps should be taken to determine the cause, and where possible and desirable, investigate avenues that may allow the college to retain the employee. When an employee wishes to resign because of illness or for personal reasons, the possibility of a leave of absence should be explored if the employee has a good work record and has sufficient length of service. Employee resignations should always be received in writing. Copies should be sent to the Human Resources Office and the department manager and/or administrator in charge of that area. A termination date should be arranged between the supervisor and the employee. In no case should an employee be allowed to terminate sooner than the 30-day notification period, unless the supervisor feels it would be desirable or beneficial to do so.
Employees who leave their jobs without securing permission or giving an acceptable explanation will be considered involuntarily terminated. When this occurs, the supervisor should carefully document the situation and report it immediately to the Human Resources Office and the department manager and/or administrator in charge. The employee will then be notified by the Human Resources Office that their employment is terminated and that they have disqualified themselves from future employment at the college.
Note: This section is not applicable to employees during their initial 90 day probationary period.
In order for a personnel termination to be categorized as “job elimination,” there must be no intention to reconstitute the eliminated position for a period of at least one year. However, the college may reinstate the position if deemed necessary.
The appeal process in a job elimination is not applicable unless more than one employee performs the job. In this case, the affected employee can file a grievance questioning why he/she was selected for termination over another employee.
The Human Resources Office will write a letter to the employee indicating his/her job is to be eliminated. The employee will be notified of the job elimination in person by the supervisor and given a copy of the letter. A copy of the letter will also be placed in the employee’s personnel file.
The Human Resources Office will notify the staff cabinet president of the job elimination immediately after the employee is notified.
After the decision to eliminate a position has been made and the employee has been notified, the college will attempt to transfer the employee to another department or open position. The college will also consider training an individual to qualify them for transfer to another job. If there are no positions available, the college, not the employee, will decide whether the employee receives notice or severance benefits. Notice is defined as the period of time an employee may continue to work until his/her job is eliminated. Severance is defined as immediate termination with full salary and benefits for a specified period of time. In no instance will an employee receive both notice and severance. The time allowed for notice or severance is defined by length of employment as follows:
- Less than one year of employment: One-month severance or notice.
- More than one year but less than three years of employment: two months severance or notice.
- More than three years of employment: three months severance or notice.
Any dependent who is currently attending Houghton College will be able to continue receiving ETAG benefits until they graduate or meet the maximum benefits allowed under the policy. Additionally, one additional semester of ETAG benefits for each year of service in excess of the two year waiting period will be granted. These extended benefits may be applied to a spouse or dependent child not yet of college age. Please note that ETAG benefits continuing beyond separation from Houghton are applicable only for attendance at Houghton College as we can not guarantee that other institutions participating in exchange programs will continue to grant benefits. Further, these extended benefits will be administered according to the ETAG policy in effect for employees at the time the dependent attends Houghton. Finally, as always, the dependent must qualify for admission according to normal Houghton admission standards.
If an employee is terminated for cause or asked to resign for cause, the employee’s supervisor and/or the Human Resources Officer will communicate this to the employee in a private meeting. At this meeting the employee will be given a letter outlining the documentation that lead to the decision. The Human Resources Officer will also notify the staff president of the termination.
Employees terminated for cause not involving a severe ethical or legal violation (as determined by the president) will receive either notice or severance. Notice is defined as the period of time an employee may continue to work until his/her job is eliminated. Severance is defined as immediate termination will full salary and benefits for a specified period of time. The college, not the employee, will decide whether the employee receives notice or severance benefits. In no instance will an employee receive both notice and severance. The time allowed for notice or severance is defined by length of employment as follows:
Less than three years of service: One-month notice or severance.
More than three years of service: Two-months notice or severance.
Those employees who commit a serious ethical or legal violation, as determined by the president, will receive no notice or severance.
If employment is to be terminated immediately (severance), a mutually, agreeable time will be arranged to remove the employee’s personal items from a work area. The supervisor can require that this time be outside normal working hours and that the supervisor or Human Resources Officer accompany the employee. The employee will be required to forfeit college issued keys and property immediately, if requested. E-mail and network access will also be immediately terminated if deemed necessary by the college. If an employee needs access to his/her e-mail after termination, he/she can contact the Human Resources Office to arrange a time.
In certain instances the college may decide not to continue an employee’s service after the completion of a fiscal year. The employee will be notified of this decision as soon as possible, but no later than the end of February in any given year. If a decision is made after February, the college reserves the right to pay three months severance (to include full pay and benefits) in lieu of proper notice. In no instance will an employee receive both severance and notice.
Certain standards of performance and conduct must be maintained to ensure a satisfactory work climate in the institution. Generally, these standards are recognized and observed by the employees of the college without any need of action by the supervisor. When an employee fails to observe these standards, an oral reminder and/or counseling by the supervisor will normally result in corrected behavior.
It is necessary to enforce college rules and policies and to see that employees are performing assigned tasks and carrying out their responsibilities satisfactorily. Violation of college rules and performance expectations as set forth will result in one or more of the following disciplinary actions according to the frequency, seriousness, and circumstances of the offense.
Initial disciplinary action should be in the form of an oral discussion and warning. The supervisor should discuss the matter with the employee in private and in a pleasant manner. The supervisor’s first objective should be to find out whether an employee understands the rules involved or the standards expected. If not, the supervisor should fully explain what is expected. The employee will be told what action will be taken should another violation occur. A written record of the date and content of such discussion should be made by the supervisor and placed in the employee’s personnel file.
If the problem continues, a more formal discussion should take place in the presence of the department manager and/or administrator in charge of that area. This discussion should be confirmed by a letter to the employee that is sufficiently detailed to let the employee know how they have failed to meet standards. The letter should also advise the employee, in general terms, of the possible consequences for failure to comply. A copy of the letter will be given to the department manager and/or administrator in charge of that area. A second copy will be placed in the employee’s personnel file. No written warning will be issued to an employee without first being reviewed by the appropriate Vice President and Executive Director of Human Resources.
If repeated violations occur as addressed in the foregoing warnings or a serious and significant college rule has been broken, the supervisor may begin taking steps that may result in a permanent discharge of the employee. A written record enumerating the reasons, previous warnings, and other pertinent data should be submitted to the Human Resources Office which, in turn, will inform the administration of the requested termination. On their agreement, the Executive Director of Human Resources, along with the supervisor and/or the department manager or administrator in charge of that area, will inform the employee of the termination and applicable date. An employee will be permitted to utilize the grievance procedure to protest dismissal. However, the 30-day termination notice will not be suspended while the grievance procedure is being pursued. If the grievance has not been settled within the 30-day period, the supervisor should consult with the Human Resources Office on the status of the grievance and decide if it may be more prudent to extend the termination date until the matter is settled.
The college, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to skip any of the steps in the discipline policy, based on its judgment of the seriousness of the offense.
Matthew 18: 15 – 16 (NIV):
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along …”
Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV):
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
I. If you are offended, please meet with the individual who offended you to discuss the situation (see the 10 suggestions for conflict resolution that follow). It is very important that you discuss the offense with the individual involved and not with any others.
II. If for whatever reason a one-on-one meeting is not possible or you have met with the individual and did not feel like there was resolution, request your supervisor (or your supervisor’s manager) to meet with the two of you. Your supervisor will arrange a meeting immediately. While it is preferable that things be handled at the departmental level when possible, your supervisor may, at their discretion, request that a member of the HR staff serve as a mediator for the meeting. HR is experienced and trained in such activities. Again, what is said in this meeting is confidential and should stay between the parties involved.
III. If there is still no resolution, talk to your supervisor (or manager) again. At this point the supervisor may contact Human Resources to receive advice/guidance.
** If at any time during this process you do not feel that your concern is being taken seriously enough, contact the Human Resources Office.
Ten Suggestions for Conflict Resolution
1. Ask to meet with the other person. Briefly tell the individual why you want to meet. Let the person know you’re concerned about the relationship – not about being “right.” Don’t express your total disappointment by saying things such as “I can’t believe you …”
2. Affirm your love for them. Start the meeting by letting them know you care for them and you don’t want there to be a wall in the relationship. Express your desire to work things out.
3. Have a mature attitude. Treat the other person with respect and the way you would want to be treated. Don’t be condescending or negative.
4. Honestly express your feelings. Be clear and direct. Say things like “when you did _______ I felt ________.” Don’t say things such as “you always” or “you never.”
5. Ask for feedback or reply. Give them time to think about what you said and then encourage a response. Silence is OK. Don’t just keep talking and not let them respond.
6. Listen to them. Try to understand them. Endeavor to hear their heart. Don’t already have your opinion formed before they say a word.
7. Search for a solution. Look for ways to resolve differences. Don’t exaggerate the other person’s wrongs.
8. Affirm your responsibility to help solve the matter and relationship. Don’t put all the responsibility on the other party. Look for ways you could change to make a solution viable.
9. Be open for further steps to resolving the problems. Don’t see one meeting as a final step. See it as a beginning to a better relationship. Don’t end your discussion by walking out on them or saying you never want to speak with them again.
10. Take the 4 actions steps of forgiveness:
i. I will not dwell on (continually think about ) the incident.
ii. I will not bring this incident up and use it against you in the future.
iii. I will not talk to others about this incident.
iv. I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our personal relationship
Houghton College earnestly solicits the cooperation of all employees in exercising proper health and safety practices to prevent on-the-job accidents and health hazards. Use of safety devices and equipment provided by the college for your protection is required. Hazardous or unsafe conditions should be reported to the supervisor in charge. If the hazardous or unsafe condition is not rectified in a reasonable amount of time, contact the Human Resources Office.
The workers’ compensation insurance program of the college conforms with the Workers’ Compensation Law of New York state. The college has joined together with other upstate New York colleges and universities to form the Upstate New York College and University Risk Management Group, which operates independent of the New York state fund and in place of a private carrier in providing workers’ compensation coverage to its members. Since this is a self-insured fund, Houghton College pays premiums based on its own incident experience. Therefore, every employee is requested to work in a safe manner.
The following procedures should be followed in case of any accident, even though it may seem insignificant:
1. Report the accident or illness if work-related! Report forms are available in the Human Resources Office or online and are to be filled out and returned to the Human Resources Office within 24 hours.
2. Report to your doctor if X-rays or any other medical assistance is needed.
3. Emergency help may be received at the college health center.
4. A call should be made to the Human Resources Office by the employee or supervisor if the employee reports to a doctor or hospital.
5. Every precaution should be taken to prevent accidents.
On-the-job accidents or work-related illness should be reported to your supervisor and to the Human Resources Office immediately.
Faculty and staff are covered under the federal Social Security program, with the employee and the college paying equal amounts to the federal government as required by law.
Social Security is a government insurance program designed to provide you and your family with income in your retirement. Social Security will also make payments in the event of your death or disability. You will be eligible for Medicare health coverage once you reach 65 years of age.
You are encouraged to contact the Social Security office at least 45 days before you reach the age of 65, whether or not you plan to continue working.
The normal retirement age for staff personnel is 65 years of age. Staff members desiring to continue working after age 65 may to do so and will retain their fringe benefits. If you are interested in retiring, please contact the Human Resources Office. Employees who retire may continue their Group Health Insurance, provided they pay the full cost of coverage.
Staff members choosing to retire at age 65 should also apply for Medicare benefits. Retirees may exercise their option to convert from the current college medical plan to an individual plan for themselves and their dependents within 31 days of retirement. This may be done with no evidence of good health required. The premiums for the new individual policy will be paid by the retiree. Further details on conversion insurance may be obtained from the Human Resources Office.