D. Employee Relations

1.   Authority

1.1   The Board of Trustees authorizes the Chancellor, in consultation with the Administrative Board, to establish employee relations policies (exclusive of labor relations) that comply with state and federal legislation and that seek to maximize the effectiveness of USNH Human Resources.

1.2   The component institutions shall adopt such institutional policies as are necessary to meet the requirements of this University System policy.

2.   Drug Free Workplace

2.1   Goal. The University System of New Hampshire values its faculty and staff members. The University System of New Hampshire views alcoholism and drug addiction as highly complex diseases that, once they have been recognized, can be arrested by appropriate treatment, and for which the same consideration is given to faculty and staff as is given in cases of other illnesses. The University System's only purpose in involving itself in the complex areas of alcoholism and drug addiction is to assist the faculty or staff member in seeking treatment and returning to a state of effectiveness and productivity. The Employee Assistance Program (USY V.D.5.4) is available to assist with such illnesses. Every case is handled with the utmost confidentiality.

2.2   Commitment & Responsibilities. The component institutions of the University System of New Hampshire shall establish guidelines for the use of alcohol and controlled substances during work hours in conformance with the following general policy: using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages, amphetamine-type drugs, barbiturate-type drugs, cannabis-type drugs, Phencyclidine, Methaqualone, Benzodiazepines, cocaine-type drugs, morphine-type drugs, hallucinogenic drugs, or any controlled drugs as provided in RSA 318-B during work hours by University System employees is prohibited.

2.2.1   The use of prescription drugs will be permitted by policy in strict accordance with the prescription of a licensed health care professional.

2.2.2   Where the use of alcohol is permitted by policy, safety considerations and concern for the image of the institution require that discretion be exercised in the use of alcoholic beverages either on or away from University System property.

2.2.3   In situations where the use of certain types of prescription and non-prescription medication may negatively affect mental concentration or coordination (such as antihistamines or "mood altering" drugs), safety considerations may require temporary reassignment of duties and responsibilities.

2.2.4   Supervisors who have documented a faculty or staff member's deficient or deteriorating performance and believe such performance to be related to the use of alcohol or drugs must discuss options for handling the problem with the Personnel/Human Resource Office or other official designated by the campus Chief Executive Officer. Supervisors shall not engage in diagnosis or establishing treatment plans for employees. The supervisor will meet with the employee and make a referral to the EAP.

2.2.5   The decision to undertake treatment through qualified sources is the responsibility of the individual faculty or staff member. The individual's employment status will in no way be affected by the decision to seek treatment. He or she will continue to be covered by applicable personnel policies. If work performance continues to be deficient, a performance review will be conducted within the framework of USNH policy to allow for appropriate determination concerning the individual's future employment status. Such performance reviews will consider evidence of poor work performance, frequent absences, neglect of duties and responsibilities, drastically altered moods, physical or verbal abuse, and deterioration of working relationships.

2.3   Legal Requirements. In accordance with the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 (Pub. L. No. 100-690, Title V, Subtitle D) employees are prohibited from the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of any controlled substance in the workplace. The USNH will: (a) make a good faith effort to maintain a drug free workplace, (b) conduct a biannual review of its program to determine effectiveness, (c) implement changes to the program if needed, and (d) ensure that disciplinary sanctions are enforced.

USNH will take the following actions within 30 days upon notification of an employee conviction: (1) take appropriate personnel action against a convicted employee up to and including termination; (2) place a notice of the drug conviction in the employee's personnel file in accordance with normal disciplinary policy procedures; (3) require the convicted employee to utilize the services of the EAP and, (4) require the convicted employee to successfully complete an approved drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program recommended by the EAP as a condition of continued employment.

2.3.1   The component institutions of the University System of New Hampshire will notify, in writing, faculty and staff members working on a grant that as a condition of employment they will:   Abide by the terms of the USNH policy statement, and   Notify the Personnel/Human Resource office of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after the conviction.

2.3.2   The component institutions of the University System will notify the granting agency within ten days after receiving notice from the employee or otherwise receiving notice of the conviction.

2.3.3   Violations. In the event that a faculty or staff member is found to be acting against policy as stated above, he or she will be subject to appropriate action, which may include a warning, reprimand, suspension, referral to counseling or an employee assistance program, or discharge.

2.4   Programs. The institutions of the University System of New Hampshire will establish an ongoing drug/alcohol free awareness program that informs employees of:

2.4.1   The dangers of drug/alcohol abuse and the health risks associated with that abuse,

2.4.2   The policy of maintaining a drug/alcohol free workplace,

2.4.3   Any available drug counseling, rehabilitation program or an employee assistance program, and

2.4.4   The penalties that may be imposed upon employees

2.5   Employee Alcohol and Controlled Substance Testing under U.S. Department of Transportation Agency Regulations Implementing the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991, 49 CFR Part 40, Part 382, and Part 655 as amended.

2.5.1   Purpose. The University System and its component institutions shall comply with all applicable regulations of agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation as they relate to alcohol and controlled substance testing. Such testing is mandated for employees required to have a commercial driver's license and/or perform safety sensitive function as defined by 49 CFR Part 40 and Part 655 as amended. For reference see:   49 CFR § 40 - Office of the Secretary of Transportation: "Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs"   49 CFR § 655 – Federal Transit Administration: "Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations"   49 CFR § 382 – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations: "Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing"

2.5.2   Conducting the Testing   The USNH and its component institutions will contract with external agencies to conduct all testing as mandated by and in accordance with the federal regulations referenced in USY V.D.2.5.

2.5.3   Penalties for Violations of Regulations. The USNH and its component institutions shall impose such penalties as required by the regulations referenced in USY V.D.2.5 on employees whose test results indicate prohibited alcohol and/or controlled substance concentrations. Any disciplinary actions taken under this section shall be in conformance with USY V.C.8.

2.5.4   Compliance. The USNH and its component institutions shall appoint an office or officer responsible for compliance with the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 and regulations promulgated for its implementation. This appointment is not necessary for components of the USNH which do not employ personnel required to have a commercial driver's license. These offices or officers shall be responsible for:   Developing policy and procedures to assure compliance;   Generating and making available materials explaining the federal regulations and the USNH policies and procedures designed to achieve compliance; and   Maintaining all records and submitting all reports as required by the regulations.

3.   Safety

3.1   A safe and secure environment is a fundamental prerequisite for fulfilling the University System of New Hampshire's mission of teaching, research and public service. Every employee is a member of the University System community and an integral participant in the mission of teaching and research. As such, each staff member is expected to exhibit a high degree of professionalism and personal integrity at all times. No member of the University System community may discriminate against any employee or student (see USY V.B.5) or engage in conduct that is harmful or inhibits an employee from performing job responsibilities or fully participating in the campus/workplace. The role of prevention is to be proactive so employees feel safe. Various components of prevention include hiring practices, interpersonal relations, safety training, and training in issues and recognition of safety, the workplace environment, workplace violence, effective policies and disciplinary procedures. (See USY V.C.8.2 and USY V.C.9.11.1). Employees have a right to work in safe surroundings, and the institutions of the University System of New Hampshire are strongly committed to providing a safe work environment. Institutional responsibilities include the following:

3.1.1   Communicate safety policy, programs and reporting structure to all employees.

3.1.2   Encourage employee awareness of safety and health risks.

3.1.3   Encourage employees to report observed hazards, violations of policy or risks of potential workplace violence or harmful work environment they observe.

3.1.4   Comply with N.H. Workers' Compensation Law, RSA 281-A.

3.1.5   Comply with N.H. Public Employee Health and Safety Regulations RSA 277.

3.2   Toxic Substances. In accordance with RSA 277-A, the Worker's Right-to-Know Act, employees have the right to know details concerning any toxic substance to which they are exposed in the workplace, and the USNH has the duty to keep on file and make available material safety data sheets for each toxic substance to which its employees may be exposed. If such information is not made available within five working days from the date of request, an employee who has requested information about toxic substances may refuse to work with or in proximity to that substance. Until the information is available the employee's supervisor will assign other duties.

3.2.1   The component institutions have the responsibilities to post notices warning employees of the toxic substances to which they may be exposed and referencing the availability of material safety data sheets. RSA 277-A also requires the USNH to conduct education and training for all employees routinely exposed to toxic substances.

3.2.2   No employee, prospective employee, or employee representative may be disciplined or discriminated against for filing a complaint or instituting any proceedings relating to his/her rights under the Worker's Right-to-Know Act. Any employee who perceives that such action has been taken may use the grievance procedure (USY V.D.12) to seek redress and/or file a complaint with the NH Commission of Labor.

3.3   Occupational Accidents/Injuries/Illness

3.3.1   Employment Related. Faculty/staff members who are injured or develop an occupational related illness in the course of employment with the University System must report the incident and should be examined and/or treated by a health care facility unless immediate hospitalization is required. It is the responsibility of the faculty/staff member's department head to see that such examinations and/or treatment take place. An Employer's First Report of Injury/Illness form must be completed and filed with the proper campus department responsible for Workers' Compensation. See the Workers' Compensation policy USY V.A.3.2.   The component institutions of the University System will designate a department or individual to develop, implement and maintain policies and procedures to ensure compliance with this policy and other applicable federal and state statutes.   Reporting. Within 24 hours the department head, supervisor or campus official specifically designated to investigate the cause and extent of an accident/illness must make a written report to the campus office responsible for Workers' Compensation. Written statements by any witnesses are also required.   Medical Attention. Any faculty/staff member consulting an outside physician or entering a hospital for treatment of a condition resulting from an injury/illness received while doing work for the University System must notify in writing the designated campus official responsible for complying with the Workers' Compensation policy. Medical evaluation information received by the faculty/staff member must be provided to the designated campus official for the purpose of determining eligibility for Workers' Compensation and the provisions of the Americans with Disability Act.   Return to Work. An employee who has been absent from work due to an injury received in the course of his/her work for the University System must be examined by a physician and must submit to the designated campus official a written report from such physician before his/her return to work. USNH will make reasonable accommodations in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Americans with Disability Act if requested.

3.4   Injuries to students, guests and visitors. Students, guests, and visitors who are injured on University System property should seek appropriate medical attention and inform the designated campus official responsible for safety and/or the campus security office of an accident, illness/injury as soon as possible.

3.4.1   Reporting. A written report of the accident, illness/injury should be submitted within 24 hours to the appropriate campus official. The report should be completed and filed before leaving the grounds unless the illness/injury required immediate hospitalization. Also, within 24 hours the campus official specifically designated to investigate the cause and extent of the accident, illness/injury should make a written report. Written statements by any witnesses should also be included.

4.   Non-Smoking

4.1   In accordance with RSA 155:64-77, Indoor Smoking Law, smoking is restricted in virtually all University System buildings and facilities. Specifically, smoking is prohibited in all classrooms, laboratories, studios, libraries, theaters and auditoriums, gymnasiums, athletic areas, and public reception areas.

4.2   In accordance with RSA 155:64-77, smoking is prohibited in any enclosed area where a person performs work-related duties.

4.3   These restrictions and prohibitions do not apply to designated smoking areas in each building, or non-public workplace occupied exclusively by smokers, or to effectively segregated single occupant offices.

4.4   Complaints and the appropriate constructive discipline will be handled by the component institution's "designated Administrator" in conjunction with the Human Resources Office. A person who smokes in a
non-smoking area is in violation of the criminal code, (RSA 155:64-77).

4.5   The component institutions shall adopt such institutional policies as are necessary to meet the
requirements of this University System policy.

5.   Wellness

5.1   The University System of New Hampshire recognizes that programs designed to increase health-related knowledge and self-awareness contribute to the improved well being of its faculty and staff, reduce medical costs, absenteeism and stress and help to promote positive morale and good employee relations.

5.1.1   Authority. The USNH Director of Organizational Wellness is responsible for monitoring, assessment, publicizing and promoting of health education program activities throughout the University System. The component institutions Human Resources Office shall designate an individual to coordinate and consult with the USNH Director of Organizational Wellness.

5.2   Embrace Life Fully (ELF) Program. The ELF program provides health promotion programs (e.g., nutrition and weight loss seminars, cancer screenings, smoking cessation, blood pressure clinics, cholesterol screenings, walking programs) to faculty and staff members. Some programs are provided free of charge, and others are provided on a cost shared basis.

5.2.1   Eligibility. All benefits eligible faculty and staff members may participate in the ELF programs. The University System of New Hampshire encourages the active involvement of faculty and staff members in the health promotion activities provided by the Embrace Life Fully program.

5.3   Visual Acuity Program. Employees who use a Video Display Terminal (VDT) on a frequent basis or have a position that requires a high degree of eye concentration are eligible for this program on a cost-shared basis 80%/20%. Depending on availability, a comprehensive eye exam will be administered by a pre-selected optometrist or ophthalmologist. Any follow-up exams, procedures, or purchase of corrective lenses as a result of any exam administered under this program will be the responsibility of the employee. Each campus will designate the specific time period during the year when exams will be offered. The USNH Benefits Office is responsible for funding and designating vendors.

5.4   Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP strives to provide an effective program to assist faculty and staff members and their families in resolving problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse, marital conflicts and job performance issues. The Employee Assistance Program provides counseling, assessments and referrals to outside professional resources for faculty/staff members and their eligible family members.

5.4.1   Eligibility. All employees in benefits eligible positions, their spouses and dependent children are eligible to participate in the USNH Employee Assistance Program.

5.4.2   Confidentiality. Information regarding individual participation will not be disclosed without the written consent of the faculty or staff member.

5.4.3   Coverage. The faculty or staff member, his/her spouse, and dependent children will receive a number of free visits to the EAP for each situation.

5.4.4   Supervisory Referrals. Supervisory referrals may be made on behalf of a faculty or staff member whose job performance is deteriorating. Although supervisors may recommend the EAP, the decision to seek assistance through the EAP is the responsibility of the faculty or staff member. Supervisors shall not engage in diagnosis or in establishing treatment plans for employees.

5.4.5   Employment Status. Employment status will in no way be affected by the decision to seek assistance. The services of the Employee Assistance Program must be used on the faculty/staff
member's personal time (i.e., accrued leave or earned time).

6.   Nepotism

6.1   More than one member of an immediate family may be employed by a System institution.

6.2   No faculty member, department chairperson, dean, supervisor, or other administrative officer may participate in decisions affecting the appointment, tenure, promotion or other personnel status of a relative. In situations where direct supervision by a relative is involved, the immediate senior to such a supervisor will be responsible for establishing special procedures as may be required to provide equitable treatment, including performance evaluations.

6.2.1   For all purposes involving the application of this rule concerning the employment of relatives of existing personnel, a "relative" is defined as parent, spouse, USNH hardship approved domestic partner, child, brother, sister (or the foregoing as in-laws), and other close relative by birth or
marriage (such as aunt, uncle, nephew, or niece).

7.   Conflict of Interest

7.1   Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in professional activities as a means of improving not only their own competence and prestige, but the prestige of the University System of New Hampshire as well. While engaging in these activities, faculty and staff have an obligation to avoid ethical, legal, financial and other conflicts of interest to insure that their outside activities and interests do not conflict with their primary employment responsibilities at the institution.

In addition to the general reference to Conflict of Interest in this policy, it is any misuse of USNH facilities, equipment or services as well as any employment or community service that interferes significantly with scheduled work.

7.2   Faculty and staff members must be sensitive to the potential for conflict of interest in professional
activities. The fact that the USNH is a public institution must always be kept in mind.

7.3   Professional consulting activities of faculty. This policy is intended to establish guidelines for faculty who receive compensation during the appointment period other than that paid by USNH for either teaching or a professional expertise in the areas of consulting, research or service.

7.3.1   It is understood that faculty regularly engage in normally unpaid activities such as holding office in a scholarly or professional organization or editorial office, or duties for a learned journal, writing books or articles, attending professional meetings, colloquia, symposia, site visits and similar gatherings, and the ad hoc refereeing of manuscripts. These scholarly activities further the mission of the University System by facilitating the development and dissemination of knowledge. Within reasonable limits, faculty are encouraged to undertake such duties, which are not specifically governed by this policy.

7.3.2   To the extent that compensated consulting activities involve faculty members' professional expertise, further the status of their profession, and contribute to their own professional competence, these activities are also encouraged. All such activities (including uncompensated ones), however, should meet the criteria of balance, appropriateness, and the avoidance of conflict of

7.4   Compensated professional activities for faculty. Any full-time faculty member may engage in such compensated professional activities, and is encouraged to do so, subject to the following conditions:

7.4.1   The activities should sustain or improve his/her own professional prestige.

7.4.2   The activities should be within the professional competence of the faculty member.

7.4.3   On average, the total commitment to the activities should not exceed a time equivalent of one day during each five-day academic week during the appointment period.

7.4.4   The academic administrator of the college, through the chairperson of the faculty member's department, should be informed of the activities. Agreement should be reached between the chairperson and faculty member that the activities satisfy (7.4.1 and 7.4.3 above). When required, the confidentiality of a client will be honored.

7.4.5   The faculty member is primarily responsible for avoiding conflict with both his/her campus
obligations and USNH policies.

7.5   If such activities are expected to require more time in a given situation, arrangements shall be made with the department chairperson and/or dean.

7.6   Professional activities of part-time faculty and lecturers. Either the chairperson or the equivalent unit administrator must be informed of any change in the status of the following activities. At the time of and during employment in USNH, part-time faculty must not: engage in activities that interfere with their USNH responsibilities, have conflict of interest with either USNH or campus policies, abuse the association with USNH for personal financial gain, or bring discredit on USNH.

7.7   Cooperative Extension. These guidelines were developed to assist Cooperative Extension in handling potential conflict-of-interest situations. This document focuses on six areas of possible concern: outside consulting, private sector support; ownership of a business; commodity transportation; holding an elected office; and, providing expert witness testimony in court. The Director is responsible for administering policy in this area. The nature of Extension work requires considerable direct public contact and Extension employees are generally viewed as the primary educational outreach component of the institution. Based on this role, it is critical that Extension employees be particularly sensitive to potential conflicts-of-interest.

7.7.1   Consulting. Consulting by University employees provides organizations, institutions, corporations, and industries University expertise and resources that might not otherwise be available to them. As a guiding principle, Extension employees should not engage in contract services or consulting activities where personal gain is substituted for normal Extension obligations consistent with his/her job description. In addition to University consulting policies, Extension employees must abide by the following guidelines:

  • Extension employees are to obtain advance approval of the state Director or his/her designees for consulting activities.
  • Consulting in the areas of an employee's job responsibility is not permitted within the state.
  • Consulting should be allowed to occur within the state if it is not part of the employee's normal responsibility to the University and is not normally provided through the University's Extension component or other component of the University.
  • An Extension employee must insure that consulting is done by him/herself as a private citizen and not as an Extension employee. This includes avoidance of the use of official position in media solicitations for commercial or group activities, such as overseas tours, etc.
  • The Institution's name, facilities, materials, supplies, etc. cannot be used without prearranged approval.
  • An Extension employee must insure that the consulting is done on his/her own time and accomplished without interference with assigned duties.
  • Faculty who have a "split appointment" with Extension may be able to consult (for a fee) within the state as long as the consulting activity is not in conflict with the faculty member's Extension responsibility or POW.

7.7.2   Review (Appeal) Process. In the event an Extension employee disagrees with Extension Administration decision, the employee may request the decision be reviewed by a board of peers
which should include Extension employees who are similarly affected by these guidelines.

7.8   Professional activities of Principal Administrators, Academic Administrators and PAT Staff. This policy is intended to establish guidelines for professional activity by full-time Principal Administrators, Academic Administrators and PAT Staff members.

7.8.1   Professional activities include work for a non-University System entity for which staff members receive remuneration other than their University System salary.

7.8.2   Normally, unpaid activities, such as holding office in a scholarly or professional organization, editorial office or duties for a learned journal, writing books or articles, attendance at professional meetings, colloquia, symposia, site visits and similar gatherings, or the ad hoc refereeing of manuscripts are covered by this policy.

7.8.3   When the above activities involve a staff member's professional expertise, further and contribute to the development of his/her own profession, and contribute to the development of his/her own professional competence, these activities are permitted.

7.8.4   The staff member's immediate supervisor should be made aware of such activities, and the activities must not interfere with the staff member's other University System obligations and must not involve duplication of payment by USNH for duties of the staff member.

7.8.5   If Staff members wish to engage in outside activity to such an extent that they cannot fulfill their University System obligations to the satisfaction of their supervisor, they shall request a reduction in their percentage of appointment. Such requests will be considered in relation to the demands of the staff member's position. Other alternatives such as professional development leaves, etc., may also be appropriate.

7.9   Professional Activities of Operating Staff. This policy is intended to establish guidelines for professional activity by Operating Staff members. Such activity includes:

7.9.1   Work for a non-University System entity for which staff members receive remuneration other than their University System salary.

7.9.2   Normally unpaid activities, such as holding office in a professional organization, attending professional meetings and conferences, or serving as a representative of the institution.

7.9.3   Operating Staff members may carry out such activities to the extent that the activities do not interfere with their primary University System responsibilities, and do not involve conflict of interest.

7.10   Other Conflict-Of-Interest Policy -- Cooperative Extension

7.10.1   Private sector support for Extension Activities. Each employee must exercise extreme caution and professional judgment, deliberated with diligent care, when using any brand name in any service, work product, or program resulting from performing the responsibilities of the position of appointment. As a general rule, promoting or endorsing brands of commercial products is prohibited. Extension employees are required to always be objective in dealing with topics that are controversial or an issue of public debate and employees have a responsibility to provide facts of the issue equally to all interested members of the public regardless of their views concerning such issue. Employees primarily involved with one client group are governed by the same requirements of objectivity as those with varied clientele.

Outside monies from private sector should support the major programs and objectives of Extension. An organization's contributions may be recognized, but acknowledgment of acceptance of support is not an endorsement of contributor's products/services by the University. Use of educational foundations may be used as a method of receiving private funds rather than by direct transfer.

Clarification of potential conflicts should be sought from the Director or his/her designee.

7.10.2   Ownership or operation of a personal/private business. Occasionally employees may own or operate a business when entering Extension employment or they may acquire it after being employed. This may or may not be a potential conflict-of-interest with the employee's Extension job.

Determination should be made of employee time commitments to manage, operate, or be involved in such business. If appreciable employee time is required away from Extension job, suitable arrangements need to be made (i.e., time arrangements, business divestiture, or employee termination). Approval of the Director or his/her designee is required for all outside employment/business ventures. Insure that time spent on such business is done on the employee's own personal time (i.e., vacation or other approved leave). Insure that the employee's business does not unfairly compete with similar private businesses. Approval cannot be granted if the employee has an unfair advantage over private business because of special Extension job related knowledge he/she may have about the private business operations.

7.10.3   Buying, selling, and/or trading in commodities and related contracts. As a side interest, employees may become involved in trading commodities or related contracts that are closely interrelated to their Extension job. Personal investments (stocks and bond, etc.) would not normally fall into this category, unless it required too great a time commitment away from work.

Determination should be made if the employee's job assignment closely involves the commodity in question. If so, he/she needs to identify involvement in trading activities. A determination must be made regarding whether the employee's involvement presents unfair competition to others trading such commodities. If his/her activity appears to conflict with the employee's job time or job assignment the approval of the Director or his/her designee is required before further activity is undertaken.

7.11   Use of University System facilities, supplies, equipment, services, letterhead or name. Faculty and staff members shall not use University System facilities, supplies, materials, equipment or services for professional activities, without first obtaining approval of the appropriate department chairperson, dean, or director and arranging for the payment of the total cost for such use. Such prior approval is not necessary, however, when the facilities, supplies, materials, equipment and services are generally available to University System faculty and staff members upon the payment of an established fee.

7.11.1   The name of the University System or the institutions may be used in connection with professional activities where necessary to identify the faculty/staff member but may not be used to imply that the University System officially supports, endorses, insures or guarantees the results of the professional activity. When the potential for confusion about official endorsement exists, an appropriate disclaimer should be used, such as "This report was written by ______________________ in his/her private capacity. No official support or endorsement by the University System of New Hampshire or (name of institution) is intended or should be inferred."

7.12   Faculty or staff members who would benefit financially from the supplying of goods or services to the University System by any prospective supplier may not participate in the decision process leading to the choice of supplier.

7.12.1   Faculty or staff members who have or who reasonably anticipate having either an ownership interest, a significant executive position in, or a consulting or other remunerative relationship with a prospective supplier may not participate in the recommendation of, drafting of specifications for, or the decision to purchase the goods or services involved.

7.12.2   Faculty or staff members who know that a member of their family (or any person with whom they have a personal or financial relationship) has an ownership interest or a significant executive position in a prospective supplier are also disqualified from participating in the process of the purchasing of goods and services.

7.12.3   Faculty or staff members whose sole ownership interest in a potential supplier is held by a fiduciary that has the power to acquire or dispose of the interest without consultation with the faculty or staff member are not disqualified from participation in the purchase decision.

7.12.4   When a faculty or staff member is disqualified from participating in a procurement decision, the fact of the disqualification and the reason for it must be reported to others involved in the decision. If necessary, a substitute may take the staff member's place under procedures established by the appropriate administrative official.

7.13   Appropriation of Institutional Services or Business Opportunities. As part of its mission of public education, USNH becomes involved in activities that may be competitive in nature. In areas where USNH is providing goods or services that are also available outside USNH, faculty, staff members, and administrators are prohibited from appropriating business opportunities from USNH.

7.13.1   Appropriation in this context means: to take or make use of without authority or right and is intended to prohibit the taking, through use of the USNH name, equipment, facilities or supplies, or by action of a faculty or staff member or administrator, of those service or business opportunities that ordinarily would have been contracted or supplied by USNH, except in areas of business or service where no specific advantage is gained by virtue of one's employment duties or responsibilities.

8.   Political Activity Regulations -- Faculty/PA/PAT/OS/AA

8.1   This policy is intended to express the System's desire to facilitate free discussion of all points of view to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States and of the State of New Hampshire.

8.2   The rights of assembly and freedom of speech within the University System of New Hampshire shall be limited only to the extent applied to other citizens for the purpose of preventing assembly for illegal purposes or the advocacy of overthrow of government by force. Such rights shall be respected according to their meaning and application under law and within the function and program of the System.

8.3   Reasonable use may be made of institutional facilities for political meetings and discussions.

8.4   Outside speakers may be invited to address groups on the same basis as speakers invited to address student organizations.

8.5   The University System does not accept responsibility for views expressed or entertained by either
speakers or groups, except as stated above in 8.1.

8.6   Participation of Faculty members in political action is governed by paragraph 1 (B) of the 1940 Statement of Principles of the American Association of University Professors that reads:

8.6.1   "College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution."

8.7   The philosophy of the statement above in 8.6.1 applies to all professional staff members.

8.8   Holding Political Office. The Board of Trustees will not object to any member of the faculty or staff running as a candidate for political office. However, should the amount of time required by the office or the candidacy for the office be such as to materially affect the time the faculty or staff member is expected to spend on his/her University System position, he/she may be required to take a leave of absence or the terms and conditions of his/her appointment may be amended.

9.   Political Activity -- Cooperative Extension

9.1   Holding elected or appointed public office.

9.1.1   Partisan Politics

Strongly discourage Extension employees from engaging in "partisan politics", (i.e., candidate for public office in a partisan election), and also minimize the risk or perception that Extension is associated with or endorses the "platform" of a particular political party.

9.1.2   Non-Partisan Politics

Require the advance approval of the Director or his/her designee.

Insure that the time required to carry out the public office assignment is done on the employee's personal time (approved absence or leave without pay).

Insure that all time, facilities, and materials required to conduct an election campaign are separate and apart from the employee's job.

9.2   Providing expert witness testimony in courts, etc. Due to expertise and position of Extension employees, they are frequently sought after in courts of law to provide expert opinions that may assist in resolving various claims, cases, suits, etc. Expert witness testimony usually benefits one party and is detrimental to the other. It is important that UNH Cooperative Extension not violate its public trust in that it maintains impartiality during any dispute, especially when the dispute involves litigation.

9.2.1   Expert Testimony. Expert testimony usually involves supporting one or the other of the litigants with a professional opinion. While partiality may not be intended, it easily can be construed. For this reason, Extension staff, acting in their official capacities must refuse any request to provide expert testimony. This would include requests to estimate damages for insurance claims. However, employees should suggest other institutions or individuals which could provide the same information whenever possible. Extension staff, acting in their personal capacity and on their own time, may provide expert witness services. In such cases, Extension staff must make clear they are not representing, or acting on behalf of, Cooperative Extension.

9.2.2   Witness to the Fact. A witness to the fact will testify to factual matters within personal knowledge and observation. A factual witness may be compelled to testify by subpoena. If an Extension employee is subpoenaed, the employee should indicate that due to his/her position in Extension, it is important to maintain public trust and to remain impartial. If an employee is subpoenaed to be a witness in his or her official capacity, he/she should notify the Director of Cooperative Extension who will consult with the General Counsel for the University System of New Hampshire and render advice on how to proceed. When testifying in an official capacity, an employee is eligible for full pay for the time he/she is required to be in court; thus, the employee is not penalized for good citizenship. In such cases, witness fees and expense reimbursement received by the employee are the property of, and must be paid to, Cooperative Extension.

9.3   Review (Appeal) Process. In the event an Extension employee disagrees with Extension Administration decision, the employee may request the decision be reviewed by a board of peers which should include
Extension employees who are similarly affected by these guidelines.

10.   Communicable Diseases. The University System of New Hampshire recognizes the need to establish procedures for implementing infection control policies and procedures that help limit the spread of communicable diseases within its institutions and will comply with all federal and state laws applicable to students, faculty and staff with communicable diseases. In cases of communicable diseases, it is the employee's responsibility to follow her/his medical care provider's judgment concerning the advisability of working while ill (see USY V.C.8.2). The Fitness for Duty policy will apply to those who are ill when they report to work (see USY
). See also the Emergency Response policy (USY V.D.14).

10.1   Definition. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control define diseases considered communicable. Such diseases include, but are not limited to hepatitis, meningitis, mumps, AIDS, whooping cough, measles, diphtheria, chicken pox, tuberculosis, avian influenza, and any other disease that could result in a pandemic.

10.2   Commitment & Responsibilities. USNH is committed to maintaining a safe work environment for faculty, staff members and students. Each institution shall have policies and procedures to identify a serious health situation due to communicable disease. Universal precautions must be observed.

10.2.1   Institutional policy will reflect universal precautions as defined by The Center for Disease Control. These precautions are infection control guidelines designed to protect workers from exposure to diseases. Examples of these precautions are washing hands, wearing gloves, and procedures for handling infectious wastes.

10.2.2   Each institution will establish policy concerning authority, conditions, and procedures for medical assessments of faculty and staff in relation to communicable diseases (see also HIPAA policy, USY V.C.15).

10.3   Confidentiality. USNH is committed to maintaining a safe work environment for faculty, staff members and students. All medical information concerning faculty, staff members and students infected with a communicable disease or its related conditions will be treated confidentially as required by law (see HIPAA policy, USY V.C.15).

10.4   Non-Discrimination. The University System of New Hampshire and its component institutions will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that federal protection in housing and employment be granted to faculty, staff members, and students who are infected with a designated
communicable disease. Retaliation against an infected faculty or staff member is prohibited.

10.5   Authority. The Board of Trustees has delegated to the Chancellor the responsibility to establish procedures to manage outbreaks of communicable disease within the University System. Such procedures should be based on CDC recommendations. The Chancellor shall delegate to the President of each institution the authority, in consultation with health professionals, to determine the need to:

  • Close part or all of a USNH institution
  • Determine essential services
  • Declare curtailed operations
  • Implement alternative work schedules
  • Address security issues
  • Identify a key spokesperson and information data base (See also USY V.D.10.6)
  • Implement the lay-off policy (USY V.C.10)

10.5.1   The Chancellor's Office will provide consultation to the component institutions regarding financial, human resources, and/or any legal requirements related to campus procedures beyond those listed in policy.

10.6   Preparedness. Each component institution will develop a written communicable disease plan which defines internal authority and processes for decision-making and includes specific information regarding roles, responsibilities, and procedures related to ensuring continuity of instruction and protection of students, faculty, and staff and a communication plan for use at the onset of a communicable disease. (See also USY VI.F. and Curtailed Operations policy, USY V.F.5 and USY V.F.6.3.)

10.7   Education. The USNH encourages the development and implementation of educational programs concerning the transmission of communicable diseases. Such education should include topics such as
routine infection control (such as hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette, etc.).

11.   Uniforms, Equipment and Other Special Clothing. When, because of the nature of the work performed, uniforms, protective clothing, or equipment are required, they will be furnished by the institution. The normal costs of clothing that is furnished by the institution may be supported in total or in part by the campus. If the employee is required to share these costs, his/her portion may be handled as a payroll deduction. The institution will bear all maintenance costs for uniforms and other special clothing that it rents.

11.1   A list of the required uniforms, protective clothing, and equipment that is furnished by the institutions will be available at both the office of the appropriate department head and the campus Human  Resources or other campus designated office.

11.2   Exceptions to this policy may be made with the approval of the institution's Human Resources Office when the usual practice is for employees to furnish their own work clothes (i.e., nurses' uniforms). Also, even if required for work, clothing and footwear that can be readily worn outside of work (i.e., white shirts or blouses, dress slacks, hosiery, regular shoes, accessories, etc.). Academic robes are supplied by individuals.

11.3   Termination. A terminating staff member who, when requested, fails to return an article of apparel or equipment that has been provided by the institution may be billed for the cost.

12.   Employee Complaint and Grievance Procedures

12.1   Authority

12.1.1   The Chancellor, in consultation with the Administrative Board, is authorized by BOT V.C.2.1, 3.1, and 3.2 to adopt employment policies which will maximize the efficient and effective use of USNH Human Resources, ensure compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, and provide for a well-coordinated system of public higher education.

12.2   Standard of Conduct

12.2.1   Every person working for USNH - including faculty, staff, student employees, and volunteers has a basic responsibility to cooperate in complaint and grievance procedures, including investigations, in an ethical and professional manner (BOT III.K.1.2).

12.2.2   Retaliation against anyone filing a complaint or grievance or participating in the process is strictly prohibited.

12.3   Delegation

12.3.1   Each component institution shall establish a procedure for the resolution of employee grievances that shall be consistent with the requirements of this policy. (See also USY V.B.5) The initial adoption and any subsequent amendment of an institutional grievance procedure shall be effective only after review and approval by the USNH General Counsel and USNH Director of Human Resources.

12.3.2   Each component institution may also establish a mechanism for considering employee complaints. Complaint procedures may not be used to address termination of employment. The definition of issues to be considered under the complaint mechanism may be broader than that of a grievance complaint. Such nongrievance complaint resolution mechanisms shall not, and shall not be construed to, provide employees any rights other than the right to have a complaint heard and considered. They also shall not bind the institution to a particular outcome or course of action or in any other way limit the institution's discretion to determine an appropriate outcome or course of action.   A complaint may be filed with Human Resources to address inappropriate workplace behavior, whether by verbal or physical behavior or electronic means, which is conducted by one or more persons against another or others that is harmful or inhibits their accomplishment of work or inclusion as members of the college/university community. It may include abuse of power. These behaviors may result in disciplinary actions, including termination. Examples of such conduct, which may, if continued or repeated constitute inappropriate workplace behavior may include, but are not limited to:

  • Spreading rumors, hurtful gossip or innuendo
  • Yelling, public reprimands, name-calling, mocking, insulting or ridiculing
  • Unwanted physical contact or physical gestures that intimidate or threaten
  • Taking credit for another's work
  • Withholding information and/or resources essential to performs one's job
  • Ignoring a coworker such that the coworker is unable to perform her/his job
  • Ostracism, isolation, humiliation, dissociation or exclusion from others   Human Resources shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 5 work days.

12.4   Institutional Procedures

12.4.1   The employee grievance procedure adopted by any component institution shall provide for the following:   The definition of a grievance shall be "A written statement alleging a violation of a Board of Trustees, University System, or institutional policy." The grievance procedure shall not be used to review the substantive merits of an administrative judgment, evaluation, or other discretionary act or decision, except as may be necessary when a violation of a nondiscrimination policy is alleged.   Status faculty and staff, excluding principal administrators and members of a certified collective bargaining unit, are eligible to file grievances under an institutional grievance procedure.   Staff members in the Initial Introductory Period (see USY V.C. of employment are excluded from using the Grievance Procedure to appeal termination for inability to meet the requirements of the position.   The deadline for the filing of a grievance shall be ten (10) calendar days from the day on which the aggrieved employee becomes aware of the action that is alleged to violate policy and within one year of its occurrence.   A grievant may bring an advocate to any meeting or hearing held pursuant to a grievance procedure. The advocate may act in an advisory capacity to the grievant or, at the grievant's request, may speak on the grievant's behalf. The third party must be a status USNH employee and shall not be an attorney.   The campus procedure shall provide some appropriate opportunity for the parties to the grievance to present material and relevant testimony including documents from one or more witnesses. Such opportunity need not be present at each step of a campus procedure that provides for more than one step.   The remedies available under a grievance procedure shall be limited to that necessary to bring the grieved action into conformance with policy or policies which were violated.   Subject to the provisions of, below, the Chief Executive Officer of the institution shall retain the authority to either: (a) make the final decision on an employee grievance or (b) modify or reverse the final decision (if made by some other person or committee) under the following circumstances: (i) the final decision maker exceeded his or her authority or (ii) implementation of the remedy would cause grave harm to the institution. The Chief Executive Officer’s determination shall be final. Exception.  If the Chief Executive Officer is named as a party in a grievance, the grievant may request review by the USNH Chancellor if campus procedures do not result in resolution.  In such cases, the grievance must be received by the Chancellor’s office no later than 10 calendar days after the final campus review.  The Chancellor or his/her designee shall review the record of the grievance, hold a hearing, and/or make any such further inquiry as may be deemed necessary or expedient.  The Chancellor or his/her designee shall then decide the grievance and so notify the grievant and the Chief Executive Officer of the institution.  Any such decisions shall be final.

12.4.2   The filing of a grievance shall not affect the rights of an employee to seek any remedy that may be available in an external forum. However, the filing of a grievance does not postpone any deadlines for pursuing remedies in any external forum.

12.4.3   An employee who is grieving a termination may be placed on leave of absence without pay during the time involved in processing the grievance. Under such circumstances, USNH shall continue its benefits contributions for up to ninety (90) days for a member of the operating staff and for up to one hundred and twenty (120) days for a member of the PAT, Extension Educator or Academic Administrator staff unless otherwise stated by collective bargaining contract or faculty handbook. If the ninety (90) days or one hundred and twenty (120) days expire while a Chancellor level review is still underway, the USNH benefit contributions for the grievant shall continue until the Chancellor's decision is made. This policy shall also apply to faculty. Normal notice periods shall apply in cases of termination (see USY V.C.9.8.5)

12.5   Record Keeping and Reporting

12.5.1   All materials generated in a grievance proceeding, including tape recordings, exhibits, minutes, and affidavits, shall be the property of the institution. At the conclusion of the grievance all such materials shall be held in a confidential file in an appropriate institutional office. This shall be separate from the official personnel file.

12.5.2   All grievance materials will be held at least three years after the termination or retirement of the grievant. In cases where an employee lawsuit is involved, records shall be retained at least three years after conclusion of the suit.   At the time of destruction of grievance files, a permanent record will be maintained of the facts of a grievance, the outcome, the records to be destroyed, and date of destruction.   Nothing in the above policy shall preclude expunging records from the personnel file or the official record of an employee.

12.5.3   Each component institution shall maintain the following information regarding the operation of its grievance procedure:   The number of written grievances received by the institution annually.   The number of grievances resolved prior to formal hearing steps.   The broad section of policy upon which grievances are alleged.

12.5.4   Each component institution shall report annually to the USNH Director of Human Resources the information enumerated in section USY V.D.12.4.3 along with any other information he or she may from time to time request.

13.   Non-work Related Solicitations

13.1   The University System of New Hampshire also strives to provide a work environment free of non-work related interruptions. Faculty and staff are expected to engage in the work of the University System or USNH-sponsored activities during work time and in the work place, free from interruption, disruption, or distraction from sources unrelated to their work.

13.1.1   As such, solicitation of or by faculty and staff on behalf of non-USNH entities during work hours and in the workplace is restricted to non-working hours and non-work space, such as a designated web site. Institutional level policy may permit the use of lunchrooms and/or other appropriate common areas for solicitation by, or on behalf of, appropriate non-USNH organizations so long as that activity does not interfere with the ability of faculty, staff, and supervisors to maintain a work environment appropriate to the conduct of USNH’s work.

14.   Emergency Response. In the event of an emergency situation, which is expected to last more than a week (7 calendar days) in length and declared by the Chancellor or the campus' Chief Executive Officer, all normal USNH and campus policies for the safety rights of employees and management rights to direct work will remain in effect. (See also USY.V.D.10, USY.V.C.12, USY V.F.5.3, USY V.F.6.3, and USY VI.F. The Chancellor or CEO may declare either partial or full Emergency Operations for an extended period of time.

14.1   Staffing. All employees are expected to report to work, unless notified otherwise. The institution and its managers will assess the safety of working conditions and will account for that in assigning work. They may also apply the Fitness for Duty policy (USY V.C.12). In addition, each employee is expected to assess her/his personal safety and respond accordingly.

14.2   Monetary Payment

14.2.1   In addition to their normal rate of pay plus any applicable additional pay, such as shift and overtime, staff members who work during an Emergency Operations may receive an emergency work stipend as determined by the CEO, in conjunction with the Human Resources Office, based on circumstances of the emergency, the nature of the emergency, and institutional needs.

14.2.2   Those status staff and fiscal year faculty not required to report to work and not assigned to work will be paid for the first 5 emergency leave days of time where offices are closed. After the first 5 emergency leave days, it is expected that staff will use accrued Earned Time/vacation leave, or be on leave without pay, unless they are already using paid sick leave or other appropriate paid leave.

14.2.3   If there is no communication with an employee after the first week (7 calendar days), the employee’s paid earned time or leave time will be used until there is notification from the employee not to use leave time, curtailed operations end, or the leave time is exhausted, whichever comes first. (See USY V.F.10.4.7 if there is an overpayment.)

14.2.4   When an employee exhausts paid leave time, s/he has a choice of taking a leave of absence without pay with benefits for up to 90 days or terminating employment in order to seek eligibility for unemployment compensation. (For leave of absence, see USY V.C.16). If an employee fails to return after a leave of absence during curtailed operations, the institution may make an exception and not require repayment of benefits paid on the employee’s behalf during the first 90 days of the leave without pay if it is determined that the circumstances of the emergency are the main reason that the employee chose not to return to work.

14.2.5   It is expected that active status and non-status faculty hired on an academic year or semester/term basis (i.e. with no accumulated vacation time) will continue in a paid status for the remainder of the semester in which the institution is closed with the expectation that work to complete a semester may be made up at a later date (e.g. semester dates are extended into the summer). Any decision to continue pay beyond the end of the semester in which the emergency occurred will be made by the Chancellor based on the conditions at the time of the decision.

14.3   Benefit Continuation. Medical, dental, and life insurance benefits will continue for the first 90 days of a declared emergency status regardless of the employees active work status. Retirement benefits will continue if an employee is in a paid status. Conditions for continuation of benefits for a period more than 90 days will be determined by the Chancellor before the end of the 90 day period. Continuation of benefits will require employees to make their own benefit contributions, but arrangements may be made for later payment.

14.3.1   Employees are not eligible for long term disability for an illness or injury that begins after the end of employment, but will remain eligible for long term disability while in an active leave status as described in the plan document. The exclusions of that plan (e.g. injury resulting from participation in a riot, or as a result of an act of war) will continue to apply.

14.4   Other Considerations. The following delegations are made to each campus Human Resources Office:

  • Suspension of deadlines for grievances
  • Extension of probationary periods
  • Extension of introductory periods
  • Extension of leaves of absence about to expire
This page last updated Thursday, September 29, 2016. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.