Employee Handbook

Human Resources Office - Abilene Christian University   
Employment Policies and Procedures

Section 000: Employment
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 

Policy No. 010   
Responsible Department:
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources 
Effective Date: October 1995
Reviewed Date: September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review: 
September 2015

DEFINITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT STATUS

PURPOSE
To help provide uniformity and equity in applying personnel policies and benefits.

SCOPE
These definitions apply to all staff employees.

POLICY
The university maintains standard definitions of employment status and classifies employees for purposes of personnel administration and related payroll transactions according to the following definitions:

  • Staff. Employees who hold executive, exempt or non-exempt positions.
  • Exempt. Employees whose positions meet specific tests established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and who are exempt from overtime pay requirements.
  • (See Policy No. 110. Exempt/Non-Exempt Employee Status)
  • Non-Exempt. Employees whose positions do not meet FLSA exemption tests and who are paid a multiple of their regular rate of pay for overtime.
  • Full-Time. Employees scheduled to work 40 hours or more per week.
  • Reduced Full-Time. Employees scheduled to work 32 – 38 hours per week.
  • Half-Time. Employees scheduled to work 20-31 hours per week.
  • Part-Time. Employees scheduled to work less than 18.5 hours per week.
  • Orientation Period Employee. New employees with less than 90 days of service.
  • Temporary. Employees who are hired for a pre-established period usually during peak workloads or for vacation relief.  They may work a full-time or part-time schedule up to 22 weeks, or no more than 1,000 hours, whichever occurs first.  They are ineligible for university benefits and holiday pay.
  • Student Employees. Individuals whose employment is incidental to their status as full-time students at the university.  Individuals who have been admitted to the university, are enrolled at least half-time during an academic year as an undergraduate or a graduate student, and are simultaneously employed.  A half load is defined as 6 hours for undergraduate studies and 6 hours for graduate studies.  Employees on student payroll are limited to no more than 30 hours per week.
  • Contract Labor - A contractor is hired for services and work not generally considered to be a part of an ACU employee's regular work assignment.  To qualify as contract labor, in accordance with IRS guidelines, the following conditions are to be considered to determine if a contract labor relationship exists: contractor supplies labor, tools, material and additional employees.
    • Contractor stands to lose if job is not complete according to agreement, and would have to redo the work for no additional compensation.
    • Contractor is paid by the job contract, not on a routine basis such as hourly, weekly or monthly.
    • University has no right to change the methods used by a contractor or to direct, supervise or control the performance of a contractor as to how to do his work.
    • Contractor sets own schedule as to hours worked and sequence of work.
    • Contractor is free to work for other entities and to offer service to general public.
    • Contractor is not required to be involved with training by the university.
    • Contractor's work is not required to be full time, to be a continuing relationship, to be integrated into university's business or to require hiring, supervising or paying university assistants.
    • Contractor is not required to perform work on premises or to submit regular written or oral reports.
    • Contractor has significant investments in facilities of contractor's business.
    • Contractor cannot be discharged if producing results of contract.
    • Contractor cannot be discharged without the university incurring liability.

Additional information can be found in the forms section of the Financial Operations website.

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Policy No. 011   
Responsible Department:
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: May 2000
Review/Updated Date:
September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review: September 2015

STUDENT EMPLOYEE POLICY

PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines and definitions in order for supervisors to remain in compliance with federal regulations and agencies, and ACU policy.

SCOPE
The policy applies to all students who are working for ACU while attending school at ACU.

DEFINITIONS

Student Employee
A student employee is defined as an ACU student who is taking at least a half-time course load.  Student employees are also defined as individuals whose employment is incidental to their status of at least half-time students at the university—in other words, individuals who have been admitted to the university, who take at least half-time coursework during each semester, and are simultaneously employed.   The form to use to hire a student employee is the Student Hourly PAF.

Graduate Assistant
A Graduate Assistant is a student who is employed by the department they are getting their degree in and is simultaneously enrolled in at least a half-time course load in graduate studies.  Graduate Assistants are not considered employees of the university under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The form to use to hire a Graduate Assistant is the GA-RA PAF. 

Resident Assistant
A resident assistant is a student serving in a residence hall who participates in a bona fide educational program and receives remuneration in the form of free room and a monthly stipend.  Resident Assistants are responsible for community development in their hall, including taking care of the social, physical and spiritual needs of their residents.  Resident Assistants are not considered employees of the university under the FLSA.  The form to use to hire a Resident Assistant is the GA-RA PAF.

Interns
Interns are not considered employees of the university under the FLSA, and may receive stipends for reimbursement of living expenses through Accounts Payable.  In order to be considered an intern, the following criteria must be met:
1.  The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;   2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
2. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
3. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
4. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
5. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
In addition to the above criteria, an internship agreement that has been approved by the Office of General Counsel must be signed by the intern, and then sent to human resources for final approval.

Half-Time Course Load
A half-time course load is defined as 6 hours for undergraduate and 4.5 hours for graduate studies during Spring and Fall terms and 3 hours during Summer terms. 

Overtime
Overtime is defined as work in excess of 40 hours per week.

POLICY
Students should work no more than 30 hours per week.  This includes all ACU jobs.  If a student has more than one position, the cumulative hours should be no more than 30 hours per week.

Texas Pay Day Law requires that nonexempt employees must be paid at least semi-monthly.  The student PAF is the appropriate form to use to hire a regular student employee and must be submitted on time in order to pay the student on time.  See definitions section for information on hiring other types of student employees.

Employment with ACU is “at will”, which means that either the student or ACU may terminate the relationship at any time.

Taxes on Student Earnings
Students who are employed by ACU are exempt from paying Social Security taxes if they are enrolled and attending classes at a minimum of half-time hours.  (For international students, see Section VIII.)  This exemption applies to employment which continues during school breaks of 5 weeks or less.  Any break in status that lasts 5 weeks or more discontinues the Social Security exemption.  (See Section VI.)  Please visit the IRS website for more information on the FICA exemption.

If an international student holds a F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 Visa and is classified as a non-resident alien, he/she is exempt from paying Social Security taxes.  (See Section VIII for additional information concerning employment of international students).

Summer Terms
During the summer if a student is not enrolled in classes but is working on campus, the semester term is less than 5 weeks, and the student is enrolled in the appropriate number of hours for the term before and after the employment, the exemption from Social Security remains.  If the term is more than 5 weeks the exemption is discontinued.

Student work during the summer is limited to no more than 40 cumulative hours per week.   In the rare event that a student works more than 40 hours a week, hours worked past 40 hours a week must be paid at time-and-a-half.

Last Semester Enrolled
If a student is enrolled in his/her last semester, and will graduate at the end of the semester, an exception will be made to being enrolled at least half-time in order to be classified as a student employee.  For example, if the student only needs 3 more hours to graduate, the student may work during the last semester and receive the Social Security exemption.  The exemption applies for only one semester.

International Students
Federal regulations require that an international student must be enrolled in 12 undergraduate hours or 9 graduate hours to be eligible to work at ACU.  The international student does not have to be enrolled in Summer terms to work for ACU during the summer, but must be enrolled in the appropriate hours during the long semesters (Spring or Fall) immediately prior to work.

In accordance with federal regulations, international students can work up to 20 hours per week during Fall and Spring semesters.  International students are eligible to work 40 hours per week when school is not in session or during the annual vacation (for example, during the summer break).

Nepotism
ACU’s policy for employment of relatives is the same for student employees as it is for faculty and staff.  To help prevent problems of supervision, business-related conflicts of interest, improper influence, and favor or consideration, as it relates to employment, relatives are not allowed to be employed in the same department (please refer to Policy No. 022 in the ACU Employee Handbook).

Benefits
Student employees are not eligible to receive employee benefits.

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Policy No. 020  
Responsible Department: 
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:  Director of Human Resources
Effective Date:  April 1997
Reviewed Date:  September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review:  September 2015

RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION

PURPOSE
To establish the authority and responsibility of university personnel in recruitment and selection of employees; to maximize university resources.

SCOPE
This policy applies to the recruitment and selection of faculty and staff.

POLICY
When a personnel vacancy occurs, the appropriate supervisor and Human Resources will conduct a joint recruiting and selection program designed to identify the most qualified individual for the position, starting with those from within the university.

Please visit the Hiring Manager Resources page on the Human Resources website for tools to assist in recruiting and selecting applicants for positions.  See Policy No. 621 for information about Job Posting.

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Policy No. 020.1   
Responsible Department:
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: February 2008
Reviewed/Updated Date: October 2013
Date of Scheduled Review:  October 2017

SCREENING, BACKGROUND CHECK AND SELF-REPORTING POLICY

I.          PURPOSE
To maintain a safe and secure campus environment and protect the university’s financial and physical assets by establishing a formal process for screening, background checks and self-reporting.

II.         SCOPE
This policy applies to any individual engaged in a security-sensitive position (as defined in Section III(A) below) at ACU beginning on or after the date of this policy, including staff, faculty (including adjunct faculty), volunteers, graduate assistants, student employees, or interns (paid or unpaid). This policy does not apply to certain academic clinics or students hosting visiting high school students (as defined below).

III.        DEFINITIONS

A. “Security-sensitive positions” include all newly hired staff and faculty (including adjuncts), regardless of their specific responsibilities, and any new students, volunteers, graduate assistants, student employees, or interns with the following responsibilities:         

  1. Responsibility for Minors: Position with the possibility of care, supervision, guidance, control of minors or routine interaction with minors (e.g., camp counselors, Treadaway Kids volunteers). “The possibility of care, supervision, guidance, control of minors” means having any potential interaction that is not supervised at all times by the minor’s adult relative or guardian. A minor is a personunder age 18 who is not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at ACU. Students considered to be “dually enrolled” in ACU programs while also enrolled in high school are not consider minors in this policy unless such enrollment includes overnight housing in University facilities;
  2. Access to Facilities: Master key access to all or several rooms or offices within a campus residence or university building, including other off-site facilities (e.g., Resident Assistants)
  3. As Defined: Other positions as defined by certain departments or offices (in consultation with Human Resources) that may have job-related need for background checks.

B. “Certain Academic Clinics” means academic clinics and programs like those in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Curriculum and Instruction, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Therapy.  Those clinics and programs will establish specific requirements and applicable procedures regarding screening, background checks and self-reporting for their faculty and students in security-sensitive positions in keeping with all applicable licensing and accreditation requirements. (If no such standards exist the department should consider this policy and other best practices in the field.) The results of a department’s background check and self-reporting requirements may serve as the basis for barring a student from admission to a department, completing a specialized program, or participating in a departmental clinic. Before implementation and upon revision, the Chair of each appropriate department will review its departmental procedures with the Office of General Counsel.

C. “Students Hosting Visiting High School Students” means an ACU student hosting a high school student, including prospective athletes, participating in pre-enrollment visitation.

E. “Criminal Convictions” include all felony and misdemeanor convictions, as well as guilty pleas, pleas of no contest or nolo contendere, and acceptance of deferred adjudication.  The term does not include criminal convictions related to minor traffic violations unless the relevant position requires operation of a motor vehicle. 

F. “Tickets” and “Arrests” includes any felony or misdemeanor tickets or arrests but does not include tickets or arrests related to minor traffic violations unless the relevant position requires operation of a motor vehicle. 

G. “Background Checks” may include, but are not limited to, information regarding the applicant’s or employee’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living discerned through employment and education verifications, including all information provided on resumes and applications for employment; personal references and interviews; driving history, including any traffic citations; workers’ compensation records after a conditional job offer has been extended and to the extent permitted by law; a social security number trace; present and former addresses; criminal and civil history/records; and any other public record. 

H. In determining whether or not the convictions “bear a significant relationship to the applicant’s suitability,” the following factors may be considered:

  1. How serious was the misconduct? 
  2. When did the misconduct occur?
  3. Is there any pattern of repeat misconduct?
  4. Did the applicant self-report the misconduct and adequately address any questions raised by the misconduct?
  5. Does the combination of the applicant’s potential duties and the prior convictions create a foreseeable risk that certain criminal conduct could arise?
  6. Does the misconduct reflect poorly on the image or reputation of the university?

IV.       POLICY

A. Pre-Screening

  1. Applications and Pre-Employment Self-Reporting: All applicants for security-sensitive positions must complete a written application, which should include questions about prior convictions, pending charges, allegations involving minors, and the need to self-report. Candidates may be removed from consideration or, once in place, may be terminated or removed if it is later determined that they failed to self-report. 

a. Faculty, Staff, and Student Workers: For staff, faculty, and student workers, this application will be part of the online application with HRM Direct.  The Office of Human Resources, in consultation with the hiring/responsible department, will decide whether any reported convictions or pending charges bear a significant relationship to a candidate’s suitability to perform the required duties of the position. Departments hiring large numbers of student workers in security-sensitive positions at one time, such as Residence Life and ACU Camps, are not required to use HRM, but should instead follow the requirements set out for all other positions.

b. Others: For all other positions, each department, organization or office engaging individuals in security-sensitive positions will develop an application form [model form], which should include questions about prior convictions, pending charges, relevant experience, and the need to self-report. The department or office overseeing the work, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, will decide whether any reported convictions or pending charges bear a significant relationship to the volunteer’s suitability to perform the required duties of the position.

  1. Face-to-Face Interviews: All applicants must take part in a face-to-face interview conducted by the relevant administrator or designated official or panel.  This may be done over electronic means when necessary (e.g., Skype). 
  2. Background Checks

a. Types of Checks: Background checks are an important and necessary tool in selecting individuals for security-sensitive positions.  Therefore, any offer of such a position will be contingent upon the candidate consenting to a background check, which will include the following: 

    • Personal and professional reference checks (including past work with children, if applicable);
    • Sex offender registries checks (for each state of residence);
    • Criminal records check;
    • Residence history for past seven years; and
    • Social security number trace.

Other positions as defined by certain departments or offices may have job-related need for additional background checks (e.g., ACUPD, ACU drivers or CDL holders). If candidates refuse to authorize such checks, they cannot be considered for the position. (The procedures regarding background checks are outlined in Section V.)

b. Checks Following Absence: a background check is not required each time a student leaves campus for school break or the holidays nor each time a volunteer stops volunteering as long as he/she returns to the same security-sensitive position or one that is similar.  However, a new check is required if applying for a different security-sensitive position.  Moreover, faculty or staff returning to employment at the university after leaving its employ must undergo a new check.

4. Credential Checks: Upon the conditional offer, the responsible/hiring administrator will verify all educational credentials and professional licenses (if applicable).  Falsification of such is ground for withdrawal of the offer. 

B. Post-Screening

1. Self-Reporting: Once in a security-sensitive position, individuals must disclose to the Office of Human Resources (for faculty, staff, and student workers) or the responsible department (for all other positions) any and all felony or misdemeanor arrests or convictions that occur after the date of hire.   Failure to self-report any arrest or conviction is a terminable offense. This does not include minor traffic offenses (Class C) unless the individual is a Routine Driver under the ACU Driver’s Policy.

Upon receiving such a report, the Office of Human Resources or responsible department, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will determine whether the conviction or arrest bears a significant relationship to the employee’s suitability to continue to perform the required duties of the position.  If it is determined that the employee is no longer suitable, the employee will be terminated or removed from the position. 

While an arrest without conviction will not typically constitute valid grounds for terminating employment, an arrest may result in termination if the arrest bears a significant relationship to the employee’s suitability to continue to perform the required duties of the position. If it is determined that the employee is suitable or it is unclear whether the employee is still suitable, the employee may be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the arrest.

2. Additional Background Checks:The university reserves the right to require any individual in a security-sensitive position to consent to a background check as a condition of continued work.  The university also reserves the right to conduct additional background checks on an individual who has previously consented. The Office of Human Resources or responsible department, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will decide if and when such a check is necessary, ensure that the University complies with all applicable laws related to the additional check, and after receiving the report, will decide whether the results of the check bear a significant relationship to the employee’s suitability to continue to perform the required duties of the position.  Additionally, individuals in security-sensitive positions with Responsibility for Minors, Access to Facilities, or as otherwise required (as defined in III. A. 1-3) will undergo background checks every four years.

3. Notice to Candidate that Position is Security-Sensitive:All security-sensitive positions must be so identified in any job description and advertisement for the position.

4. Use of Information:Information obtained through background check reports or self-reporting will be used only for the purpose of evaluating applicants for work in security-sensitive positions and will in no way be used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

V. PROCEDURE FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS

A. Notice and Consent: A security-sensitive position will be contingent upon the candidate consenting to a background check. When any initial offer is made to any candidate, the responsible/hiring department will first provide the candidate with a Disclosure and Authorization Form, which is available in the Office of Human Resources.  If the candidate is willing to authorize the check, the responsible/hiring department will have the candidate complete and sign the form and return it to the Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) or the responsible department (for all other positions including, but not limited to, volunteer and interns).  The Office of Human Resources may also email the candidate an Authorization form to electronically sign and authorize.  If a candidate refuses to authorize the check, he or she cannot be considered for the position.

B. Conducting the Check: Once the candidate authorizes the check, an outside firm selected by the Office of Human Resources will conduct the check in compliance with applicable federal and state regulations and provide the results to the Office of Human Resources for staff, faculty, and student employees. For departments hiring large numbers of student workers in security-sensitive positions at one time (such as Residence Life and ACU Camps) and for all other positions, the responsible department will either utilize the vendor selected by HR or will conduct a background check in keeping with the guidelines attached as Appendix A to this policy.

C. Reviewing Results

  1. After receiving the results of the check, the Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) or the responsible department (for all other positions), in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will decide if the candidate should be precluded from consideration.  If it is determined that the candidate should not be precluded from consideration, the Office of Human Resources will inform the hiring department that it can proceed with offering the position. 
  2. On those occasions when it is determined that the results of the check should preclude the candidate from consideration, the Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) or responsible department (for all other positions) must first provide the candidate with an opportunity to review and dispute any inaccurate or incomplete information in the results.  Specifically, they will provide the candidate with a copy of the results and a copy of a summary of the candidate’s rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and notify the candidate that he or she has five business days to contact them and conclusively demonstrate the inaccuracy of the information, after which time they will make a final determination regarding the candidate’s suitability.  Disputing the results may not necessarily impact the final determination.    
  3. If it is finally determined that results of the check should preclude the candidate from consideration, the Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) or responsible department (for all other positions) must notify the candidate in writing that he or she is no longer being considered for the position based in whole or in part on information contained in the results. Additionally, the notice must include the following:

a. The name, address, and telephone number of the reporting agency that provided the results;
b. A statement that the reporting agency did not make the decision to remove the candidate from consideration and is not able to explain why the decision was made; and
c. A statement setting forth the candidate’s right to obtain a free disclosure of the results from the reporting agency if request is made within sixty (60) days and to dispute any part of the results with the reporting agency.

D. Maintaining and Destroying Background Check Information

  1.  The Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) and the responsible departments (for all other positions) will serve as the office of record for background check information. Specifically, they will maintain a log of all background checks and separate locked and confidential files containing the background check consent forms and background check results.  The log will include the following: name, department, position title, hiring official, date of consent form, date of background check, and date of hire.  University personnel are strictly prohibited from the unauthorized use or disclosure of the background check information to any third party except as required by law.     
  2. Background check results should be destroyed 180 days after receipt, but the log of background checks should be maintained by HR or by the responsible department for a minimum of 20 years (due to applicable statutes of limitations).

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APPENDIX A: BACKGROUND CHECK GUIDELINES 

Registered Sex Offender Check:

  • Go to the Texas DPS website at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DpsWebsite/Index.aspx
  • Search by name for counselor/volunteer’s first and last name. If a name does come up, make sure it is the correct person who is applying. If someone does register, inform Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) and the responsible program director (for all other positions).
  • Create or update a background check log as specified in Section V(D)(1) of the Background Check Policy.  
  • If a counselor/volunteer comes from another state, go that state’s Department of Safety and find the Sexual Predator (offender) Records and proceed from there.

Criminal Background Check:

  • Go to the Texas DPS website at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DpsWebsite/CriminalHistory
  • Set up account with user i.d. and password.
  • Purchase “credits” to be used for each search. (Ex. - $3.07/per for 300)
  • Search “Criminal History Conviction Search” by first/last name and birthdate.
  • If a name does come up, make sure it is the correct person who is applying. If the applicant does have a criminal history, inform Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) and the responsible program director (for all other positions).
  • Create or update a background check log as specified in Section V(D)(1) of the Background Check Policy.
  • If a counselor/volunteer comes from another state, go that state’s Department of Safety and find the Criminal Background Records and proceed from there.

 

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Policy No. 021   
Responsible Department:
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director, Human Resources
Effective Date: April 1, 1997
Revised: July 2011
Scheduled Review:
July, 2015

Nondiscrimination Policy

PURPOSE
To preserve a work environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. Abilene Christian University's policy is to ensure that persons who apply for employment and persons who are employed are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner in matters of gender, race, age, color, national origin, veteran's status, genetic information or disability in employment or the provision of services, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. 

SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty and staff of the university.  This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

POLICY
Abilene Christian University affords equal employment opportunity (EEO) and does not engage in unlawful discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age, color, national origin, veteran's status, genetic information or disability in employment or the provision of services, in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. Abilene Christian University is exempt from compliance with some provisions of certain civil rights laws, including some provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The university is also exempt from the prohibition against religious discrimination of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and it shall not be in violation of the equal opportunity clause required by Executive Order 11246 for ACU to establish a hiring preference for applicants who are members of the Churches of Christ.

  1. All employees who are in positions to make decisions or participate in decision making which may affect the mission or purpose of ACU must be active, involved members in a local congregation of the Churches of Christ as defined by Article III of the Articles of Incorporation, and as stipulated by the ACU Board of Trustees.
  2. All persons who are in positions to meaningfully influence the religious beliefs of the students of the university must be active, involved members in a local congregation of the Churches of Christ as defined in Article III of the Articles of Incorporation, and as stipulated by the ACU Board of Trustees.
  3. Any persons who serve the university as employees in positions which do not require membership in the Churches of Christ must be believers in Christ and support the Christian purposes of the university.  In hiring for positions not requiring Church of Christ membership, the university will give preference to members of the Churches of Christ if they are qualified for the position, as stipulated by the ACU Board of Trustees.
  4. The following specific examples are provided in order to clarify the foregoing policy statement:
    1. Persons serving in certain employee groups must be members of the Churches of Christ including:
      1. All senior administrative officers including vice presidents and deans;
      2. All full-time members of the faculty
      3. All faculty serving in the College of Biblical studies
      4. All full-time coaches and senior athletic administrators
      5. The President's Cabinet shall have the authority and responsibility to determine other employment positions requiring Church of Christ membership.
  5. ACU encourages applicants for employment or employees with a complaint regarding discrimination to report the offense to the director of Human Resources or the general counsel of the university.  If a supervisor should receive a complaint of discrimination, he or she shall first consult the Director of Human Resources or the general counsel of the university.
  6. The Director of Human Resources and the General Counsel of the university will investigate all complaints of discrimination and make recommendations to the appropriate vice president for appropriate action.
  7. All advertising for employment will indicate that the university is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.  No preferences will be shown for men and women in advertisements unless a religion tenet or bona fide occupational qualification is applicable.
  8. Periodic surveys of the workforce will be conducted for the purpose of determining the makeup of the workforce with regard to minority groups and by gender and such other categories as may be helpful in the advancement of nondiscrimination.
  9. Unless gender is a bona fide occupational qualification or a religious tenet is applicable, women will be given equal opportunity and promotion, and the Director of Human Resources shall have the designated responsibility of monitoring endeavors consistent with this policy.
  10. It shall be the duty of the Director of Human Resources to monitor employment practices and report to the Vice President and General Counsel of the university, and any other appropriate vice president, any questions that are specifically relevant to the university's position as a private church-related institution.

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Policy No. 022   
Responsible Department:
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: April 1997
Reviewed/Updated Date: November 2011
Date of Scheduled Review:  November 2015

EMPLOYMENT OF RELATIVES

I.  PURPOSE
To help prevent problems of supervision, business-related conflicts of interest, improper influence, favor/bias or consideration as it relates to employment of relatives.

II. SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty, staff, student employees, temporary workers and volunteers (including children of faculty and staff), hereinafter referred to as "employees."

III. DEFINITIONS

  1. "Immediate relative" includes an employee's spouse, child, step-child, son- or daughter-in-law, parent, step-parent, mother- or father-in-law, guardian, sibling, step-sibling, or brother- or sister-in-law.
  2. "Extended relative" includes an employee's grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew (or the spouse, child or grandchild of any of these) of either the employee or the employee's spouse, and any other related person or non-related person who is part of the employee's household.  This includes roommates.

IV.  POLICY

  1. The basic criteria for hiring and promotion of all faculty and staff are appropriate qualifications and performance.  Relationship to another individual employed by ACU will not constitute an advantage for appointment, promotion, retention, salary or leave of absence granted by the university.
  2. Employees will not supervise or be supervised by either an immediate or extended relative, as defined in "Definitions" section above.
  3. No employee should either initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving a benefit to his or her immediate or extended relatives (e.g. initial appointment, retention, promotion, salary, leave of absence, etc.).
  4. Employees will not be permitted to work in the same department with immediate relatives, as defined in "Definitions" section above.  However, it is permissible for a student to work in the same department as an immediate relative for the purpose of completing requirements for a given field of study, provided the faculty member notifies his or her department chair.  Immediate relatives who are currently employed in the same department on or before February 2008 will be exempt from this stipulation.
  5. Relatives will not be placed in positions where there is an actual or apparent conflict of interest, or where interaction or potential interaction between them is deemed to be against the best interest of the university.
  6. If a violation of this policy results because employees become related after employment or because a departmental or divisional reorganization causes employees in the same department to be related to one another, the university will typically give the relatives reasonable time to decide which employee will terminate employment or transfer to another department.  If the related employees do not decide within a reasonable time frame, the university reserves the right to make the selection after balancing the interests of the university and the employees.
  7. Any exceptions to this policy must be authorized in writing by a vice president of the university.

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Policy No. 023 
Responsible Department:
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: November 2011
Date of Scheduled Review:  November 2015

EMPLOYMENT OF MINORS

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines to occasionally hire minors during school breaks, at peak work periods, or when ACU students are unavailable, and to ensure compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

SCOPE
This policy applies to all positions in the university.

POLICY
As a general rule, employees of the university must be 18 years of age or older.  Prior to a supervisor offering employment to a minor, he/she must contact Human Resources.  A "minor" is defined as any individual under the age of 18.  Minors who satisfy one of the following criteria are not subject to the FLSA:

  • Have a high school diploma or certificate of attendance or high school equivalence.
  • Are heads of households or parents contributing to the support of children.
  • Are employed by their parents in occupations not prohibited to minors.
  • Are participating in a vocational program approved by the State Department of Education.
  • Are employed delivering newspapers, mowing residential lawns, shoveling snow on a casual basis, acting or performing in motion pictures or theatrical productions or in radios or television productions, wreath making, and loading scrap balers or paper box compactors (if certain requirements are met).

Types of Work and Ages
Work prohibited to all minors include excavation work.
Work prohibited to 14- and 15-year-olds includes:

  • Occupations involving the operation of hoisting apparatus or power-driven machinery (including lawn mowers) other than office machines.
  • The operation of motor vehicles or service as helpers on such vehicles.

Work prohibited to children under 14:

ACU may not employee children under age 14 unless they are exempt from the FLSA, as detailed above.

Hours of Employment

Children under 16

No one under 16 may be employed during school hours except as part of certain vocational programs.  People under 16 may only be employed three hours a day and 18 hours a week when school is in session.  They may be employed up to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week when school is not in session.  During the school year, people under 16 may not work more than three hours in a day between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.  During vacations lasting five or more days and from June through August, people under 16 may work until 9 p.m.

Children 16 and 17

Teens aged 16 and 17 are permitted more extended hours.  They are prohibited from working:

  • Before 7 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Before 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in any week school is in session.
  • After 11 p.m. on days before school days.

Required Breaks

No minor may be employed for more than five consecutive hours without a rest period of at least 30 minutes.

Wages

Minors are generally covered by the minimum wage laws applicable to adults.  Overtime compensation should generally not be a concern since virtually all minors are prohibited from working more than 40 hours a week.

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Policy No. 025   
Responsible Department: 
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:
  Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: 
September 2003
Reviewed Date: 
September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review:  September 2015

APPLICANT MOVING EXPENSE

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines within which the university will pay costs to move newly hired faculty and staff to Abilene.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty, executive staff and other staff, when moving expense reimbursement is approved by the division head of that area.

DEFINITIONS
Division Head:  Anyone who reports directly to the President

POLICY
The university will pay for reasonable costs to relocate faculty, executive and other staff whose relocation is at the university's request and whose new, principal place of work is at least 50 miles further from the employee's home than his or her former job if division head approves.  Expenses will be reimbursed as follows:

  1. All moving expenses if the employee moves himself or herself.  Packing materials will be paid for (boxes, tape, rental blankets, dollies).  Professional packing cost will not be paid.  Contact the manager of University Purchasing for assistance and to begin the process.  He or she can obtain a discount with a self-move company through ACU.
  2. Half the moving expenses will be reimbursed if a professional moving company is used.  The same provisions and exclusions apply here as in item 1.  Contact the manager of University Purchasing for assistance and to begin the process.  He or she can obtain a discount with the moving company.
  3. Reimbursement for lodging up to three nights in a hotel en route, if necessary.
  4. Mileage for one passenger car for the length of the move or reimbursement for your receipts, at the current mileage rate set by the IRS.

PROCEDURE

  1. Approvals - Reimbursement of expenses depends on submittal of complete forms with accompanying receipts.

Income Tax Considerations - Moving expenses that are not tax deductible, as outlined in IRS publication 521, are considered taxable income to the employee and will be included as such on the employee's W-2

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Policy No. 030 Responsible Department: Human Resources  
Responsible Administrator:   Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed Date: September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review: July, 2015

NEW EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION PERIOD

PURPOSE
To complete the new employee selection process by providing an orientation period of on-the-job work experience by which the new employee and the university may evaluate employment suitability in terms of knowledge, skill, ability and interest.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all staff.

POLICY
New employees will serve an orientation period of 90 days from date of hire.  During the orientation period, frequent informal performance conversations and one formal employee performance evaluation will be held.

PROCEDURE

  1. Department supervisors will be responsible for evaluation during the employee orientation period.
  2. Performance appraisals will be conducted after 90 calendar days.  Employees will be evaluated annually during the anniversary month of their date of hire, or at a date (recurring annually) set by their supervisor.  Informal coaching and feedback should be provided on a daily or as-indicated basis.
  3. Employee will complete a "90 Day Follow-Up Questionnaire" to return to the Human Resources Office along with the "90 Day Performance Appraisal," both of which can be found in the Performance Appraisal section of the Human Resources website.
  4. Upon satisfactory completion of the orientation period, employees are subject to the standard performance appraisal process and other university policies.
  5. All employees, regardless of status or length of service, are required to meet and maintain university standards for job performance and behavior and are considered "at will" employees.

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Policy 040   
Responsible Department:
Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date:  January 1, 1994
Review/Updated Date:  September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review:  September 2015

PERSONNEL RECORDS AND PRIVACY

PURPOSE
To establish standards by which information contained in personnel records will be managed to achieve accuracy, privacy and legal compliance.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all departments and employees of the university.

POLICY

  1. Personnel Records.  Personnel records will be maintained containing information on each university employee to meet state and federal legal requirements and to assure efficient personnel administration.
  2. Notification of Changes.  Changes of address, telephone number and/or family status (births, marriage, death, divorce, legal separation, etc.) must be reported immediately to the Human Resources Office, as an employee's income tax status and group insurance may be affected by these changes.
  3. Files Access.  Access to personnel files is restricted to authorized employees of the Human Resources Office and supervisors, or managers on a "need to know" basis.  Personnel files are the property of the university and may not be removed from the Human Resources Office except by an authorized Human Resources employee.
  4. Information Requests and Employment References.  Requests for information from employee files received from other departments and inquiries from outside the university, including requests for references on former employees, will be directed to the Human Resources Office.  Supervisors and other employees are prohibited from providing personal or employment references on ex-employees or current employees.
  5. Satellite Files.  Supervisors with a legitimate need to keep satellite personnel files on their employees may do so only if the following guidelines are strictly followed:
    1. The information must be kept confidential and disclosed only to those with a "business need to know."
    2. All satellite files must be kept in a secure, locked area.
    3. Only copies of original documents (which are centrally located in the Human Resources Office) are allowed in the file.
    4. When a supervisor finds it necessary to add documents to the file, the original document must be sent to the Human Resources Office.
  6. Personnel File Contents.  When an employee is hired at the university, a personnel files will be established generally containing the following information:
    1. Application for employment and related hiring documents, such as resumes and course transcripts.
    2. Personal information changes such as change of address, telephone number and/or family status (births, marriage, death, divorce, legal separation, etc.).
    3. Performance documents including performance appraisals.
    4. Employee history updating information submitted by employees such as recent education or records of outside achievement.
    5. Other documents pertaining to employment such as appreciation letters, corrective action reports, employment contracts, driving record service report, employment verifications, training records and references from previous employers.
    6. Medical records, documents necessary for the administration of university benefit programs, and any investigation information will be kept in a separate confidential file.  I-9 forms are also kept in a separate file.  These files may be examined only by appropriate officials conducting an investigation.
  7. Examination of an Employee's Personnel File.  Inspection of an employee's file may be accomplished at reasonable times during office hours under the following conditions:
    1. Employee.  Employees may examine their files upon prior 24 hour notice submitted to Human Resources.  This review will take place in the Human Resources Office with a Human Resources representative present.  Employees may obtain a copy of documents in the file that contain their signature.
    2. Management Staff.  Management staff may examine active and separated employee files on a "need to know" basis.
  8. Government Inquiries.  ACU generally will cooperate with federal, state and local government agencies investigating an employee if the investigators furnish proper identification and proof of legal authority to investigate.  However, the university may first seek advice of legal counsel.  The university may permit a government investigator to review a personnel file on university premises, but the investigator will not be allowed to remove or reproduce this information without consent from Human Resources and/or the university's attorneys.
  9. Information Requests and Employment References.  If employees wish the university to verify information requested by outside sources for credit or other purposes, a release form with the employee's signature must accompany the request.  Employment references on former employees will be provided by Human Resources only, as follows:
    1. References with Written Approval.  Salary history, job chronology and performance information may be released with written approval of the employee or ex-employee.  This information will be released in writing and a copy   is kept in a separate file in the Payroll office for one calendar year.
    2. Telephone Inquiries.  Information will be verified by Human Resources via telephone (after a reasonable caller identification) but will be limited to the following:
      1. Date of hire and date of separation
      2. Job titles
      3. Eligibility for rehire
  10. File Retention.   Originals of personnel records will be maintained by the Human Resources Office and retained for seven years after an employee's separation date.

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Policy No. 041   
July 2005

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT POLICY

PURPOSE
To ensure that applicants and employees with disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodations and to comply with provisions of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

SCOPE
This policy applies to all applicants, faculty and staff of the university.  This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion and training.

POLICY
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace.  A disabled individual is any of the following:

  • Person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  • Person who has a record of such impairment.
  • Person who is regarded as having such impairment.

An individual with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the job and must meet all other qualifications for a particular job, such as education and/or experience, but may need a reasonable accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of the job.

PROCEDURE

  1. If an applicant or employee of the university wants to request an accommodation under ADA or has questions about an accommodation, he or she is to contact the Director of Human Resources.
  2. The Director of Human Resources will consult with the applicant or employee and others as necessary and determine if: 1) The individual is eligible for a reasonable accommodation; and 2) The university is able to meet the request, and if so, in what manner.
  3. If it is determined that a reasonable accommodation can be made, the Director of Human Resources will work closely with the department chair or manager to ensure that the accommodation is made.
  4. If the applicant or employee is not satisfied with the result of his or her request for a reasonable accommodation or the way in which it was handled, he or she may express concern in writing to the Executive Vice President of the university who will review the concern and respond in writing within five business days.

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Policy No. 042   
March 2009

PURPOSE 
The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for when the University may provide indemnification for individuals who have a legal action brought against them as a result of their work for the University. 

SCOPE 
This policy applies to all University employees and volunteers. 

DEFINITIONS

“Indemnification” – payment of expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, penalties, fines, and amounts in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by the individual in connection with a Legal Action.

“Legal Action” – an action, claim or processing brought or threatened by an outside party against an individual based on an alleged violation of the law that occurred as a result of his or her work for the University.

“Volunteers” – persons performing uncompensated services for or on behalf of the University at the request of an authorized University official. 

PROCEDURE 
The following sets out the required steps an individual must follow before the University determines whether to provide indemnification.

  1. Provide Timely Notice and Request for Indemnification – The individual must notify the Office of General Counsel regarding any Legal Action within five calendar days after receiving notice. Discussing the Legal Action with any outside party or incurring legal expenses without first having notified the Office of General Counsel may be grounds for denial of indemnification. Along with such notice, the individual must provide a written request to be indemnified by the University.  That request should also state the reasons why the individual believes he or she is eligible for indemnification under this policy.
  2. Obtain Determination from President – Upon timely receipt of the notice and request for indemnification, the Office of General Counsel will review the information provided, conduct a fact-specific investigation, and make a recommendation to the President as to whether the University should indemnify the individual.  To be eligible to receive the protection offered by this policy, the individual must have (1) complied with all applicable university policies and (2) acted within the scope of his or her assigned duties in a manner reasonably believed to be lawful and in the best interest of the University. Additionally, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, the individual must have had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful. Decisions on the extent of eligibility will be made on a case-by-case basis and at the sole discretion of the President. The decision of the President, which will be communicated in writing to the individual, is final. If the President is the individual seeking indemnification, a three member committee appointed by the Legal Office will decide the issue.
  3. Conditions of Indemnification – If it is determined that the University should indemnify the individual, the following conditions will apply:
    • If indemnification for the expense of a defense is paid in advance of the final disposition of a Legal Action, the individual will be required to furnish a general, unsecured obligation to repay the University if it is ultimately decided by the University, wholly at its discretion, that the individual is not entitled to indemnification under this policy;
    • Indemnification will be made only to the extent that the individual is not made whole for his or her loss and expenses from all other sources, including insurance. In no case will indemnification be in an amount which, when combined with all other sources of indemnification, exceeds the actual amount of expenses, including attorney’s fees, judgment penalties, fines and amounts paid in settlement; and
    • The individual will cooperate fully with the University in his or her defense by providing any and all pertinent information concerning the act or failure to act that is the subject of the Legal Action. 

MISCELLANEOUS
The University’s decision regarding whether to defend and/or indemnify the individual  does not affect the University’s ability to take necessary and lawful corrective action, including termination, if warranted by the events leading up to the Legal Action. 

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Policy No. 043   

Intellectual Property Policy

The policy on Intellectual Property can be located at: Intellectual Property Policy

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Policy No. 044   

Policy on Policy Development

The policy on Policy Development can be located at: Policy on Policy Development

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