Employee Handbook

Affirmative Action Issuance of Keys
Americans with Disabilities Act Long Term Disability
Appearance Mail Services
Athletic Facilities and Dining Services Military Leave With Pay
Attendance Military Leave Without Pay
Automobile Registration and Parking Miscellaneous Leave
Breaks Orientation
Changes in Status Other Leave
Children in the Workplace Pay Plan
Conditions of Employment Paydays
Confidential Information Performance Evaluations
Conflicts of Interest Personal Leave of Absence
Courtesy Political Activities
Credit Union Membership Promotions
Deductions from Salary Provisional/Probationary Appointments
Dental Insurance Random Drug Testing
Direct Deposit Resignations
Dismissal, Demotion, or Suspension Retirement Benefits
Disruptive Behavior Safety
Drug Free Schools & Communities Act Selective Serv. & Military Physical Exams
Economy Service Awards
Educational Leave Without Pay Sick Leave With Pay
Employee, The Sick Leave Without Pay
Employee Development and Continuing Ed Social Life
Employee Travel Social Security
Employment of Relatives Tax-Sheltered Annuities
Exit Interview Teachers Retirement System of Georgia
Fair Labor Standards Acts Telephone, Equipment & Software
Family Medical Leave Act Time Records
Garnishments or Legally required deductions Transfers
Georgia's Open Records Act Tuition Remission and Reimbursement
Gifts and Gratuities Types of Employment
Grievance Procedure Unemployment Compensation
Group Life Insurance University Property, Use of
Harassment University System Health Benefits Plan
Hazardous Chemical and Right to Know Vacation Leave
Holidays Voting
Identification Cards Workers' Compensation
Internal Investigations Working Conditions
  Workweek
   


Affirmative Action


Armstrong State University is an equal employmentopportunity / affirmative action institution. In accordance with the policy of the Board of Regents, the university stipulates that there shall be no discrimination based upon race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age, or handicap of employees in their appointment, promotion, retention, remuneration, or any other condition of employment.

As a government contractor, Armstrong State University is also committed to taking affirmative action to hire and advance minorities and women as well as qualified individuals with disabilities and covered veterans.

We invite employees who are disabled or protected veterans and who wish to be included under our Affirmative Action Program to self-identify as such with the EEO Coordinator.   This self-identification is strictly voluntary and confidential and will not result in retaliation of any sort.

Employees of and applicants to Armstrong State University will not be subject to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination because they have engaged or may engage in filing a complaint, assisting in a review, investigation, or hearing or have otherwise sought to obtain their legal rights related to any Federal, State, or local law regarding EEO for qualified individuals with disabilities or qualified protected veterans.

As President of Armstrong State University, I am committed to the principles of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity.   In order to ensure dissemination and implementation of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action throughout all levels of the company, I have selected Rebecca N. Carroll as the EEO Coordinator for Armstrong State University. One of the EEO Coordinator's duties will be to establish and maintain an internal audit and reporting system to allow for effective measurement of the company's programs.

In furtherance of Armstrong State University's policy regarding Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity, Armstrong State University has developed a written Affirmative Action Program which sets forth the policies, practices and procedures which the company is committed to applying in order to ensure that its policy of non-discrimination and affirmative action for qualified individuals with disabilities and qualified protected veterans is accomplished. This Affirmative Action Program for qualified individuals with disabilities and qualified protected veterans is available for inspection by any employee or applicant for employment upon request, between 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM at the Human Resources department. Any questions should be directed to me, your supervisor, or Rebecca N. Carroll, EEO Coordinator.
 

Dr. Linda M. Bleicken

President

 

October 1, 2010



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Americans with Disabilities Act


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. Employees may self-identify any qualified disability as defined under ADA for which assistance is needed in carrying out their assigned duties. Individuals with disabilities are defined under ADA as persons who either have or are regarded as having a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. AASU will make every effort possible to accommodate any employees needing assistance within the definitions of the law.

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Appearance


Employees of Armstrong State University will probably meet the public in connection with their duties. They will also meet people on off-duty hours who know they are employed at the university. Remember, actions and appearance can influence other people's perception of the university.

Employees should dress appropriately for their position. Be neat, clean, and well-groomed at all times. By having these qualities, employees will make a favorable impression on those they meet and serve in the performance of their duties. What is fashionable is not always appropriate for the workplace.

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Athletic Facilities and Dining Services


The swimming pool, tennis courts, and other athletic facilities are available to university employees and their families at certain times. Employees must present their university ID in order to use these facilities. A cafeteria is also available and located in Memorial College Center.

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Attendance


All employees are advised of their work hours when they accept employment at the university. For the university to maintain a smooth and consistent operation, employees must be conscientious in all areas of their work. For this reason, each employee must report to work at the designated time and remain on duty in accordance with the schedule.

Employees or their representatives must notify their supervisor when, in the event of an emergency, they are unable to report to work. Prompt notification is essential. If for some reason the supervisor cannot be reached, a call should be placed to the Human Resources Department.

Excessive absenteeism or tardiness or failure to report the reason for absenteeism affects promotions and can eventually result in termination of employment.

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Automobile Registration and Parking


All employees of the university are required to register their cars with the Department of Public Safety and to display a current decal. Those failing to do so will subject themselves to a fine. Parking is permitted in areas marked Faculty and in the open parking areas.

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Breaks


If the work situation permits, a supervisor may authorize two 15-minute breaks, one in mid-morning and one in mid-afternoon. Care should always be taken to see that all work assignments are covered. Such breaks are not mandatory and are a benefit subject to departmental and the supervisor's needs. An employee may not forego breaks to accumulate extra time off.

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Changes in Status


It is the employee's responsibility to notify the Human Resources Department of changes in name, address, telephone number, tax exemptions, etc. and to keep information current in the personnel record at all times. It is vital that an emergency contact be maintained in the personnel file in the event of an accident or injury to the employee during working hours.

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Children in the Workplace


As a place of employment, Armstrong State University is an inappropriate environment for children. Because of the possible disruption of business and for liability reasons, employees are not permitted to have children and infants at the workplace during normal working hours.

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Conditions of Employment


Prior to starting work at Armstrong State University all new employees must complete the following before their paychecks can be processed:

  • The State of Georgia requires all employees to complete a Security Questionnaire/Loyalty Oath to be retained in the permanent files of the university;
  • Federal and Georgia tax withholding forms;
  • Where applicable, application for Teachers Retirement System of Georgia and other optional benefit forms;
  • In compliance with the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act, all persons accepting employment must provide proof of identity and employment eligibility by providing specific documents requested. Failure to do so may result in termination of employment.


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Confidential Information


In the performance of their duties, some employees must deal with confidential information. Such information should not be discussed or made available to anyone until it has been approved for release by proper authority. Certain university records are strictly confidential.

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Conflicts of Interest


An employee of Armstrong State University should avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest between their obligations and outside activities.

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Courtesy


One of the most important parts of a job is to be courteous at all times to everyone whether in face-to-face contact, by telephone, by letter, or any other electronic media. Proper behavior includes promptness, efficiency, cooperation, and impartial treatment of faculty, students, the public, and fellow employees. It also includes recognition of lines of authority and a friendly attitude toward co-workers.

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Credit Union Membership


Armstrong State University employees are eligible to join the Savannah Federal Credit Union. Family members of each eligible employee are also welcome to join the credit union. Such membership is offered to the employees, but the university does not regulate or decide policy for the credit union, which is operated by a separate board of directors.

The credit union offers its members various savings plans, checking account benefits, IRAs, and loan plans. Detailed information on the benefits offered by the credit union is available in the Human Resources Department.

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Deductions from Salary


There are certain amounts that by law must be deducted or withheld from your paycheck. Among these may be federal or state income tax, Social Security/Medicare taxes, and applicable retirement contributions. All deductions will be explained during orientation.

Employees eligible for benefits may elect certain benefits offered by the university in the form of insurance, tax-sheltered annuities, credit union, various charities, and direct deposit of your payroll check. These benefits will be explained to employees during an extensive orientation and are subject to change as the institution deems necessary.

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Dental Insurance


Armstrong State University also offers a comprehensive dental plan for its employees and their dependents. The employee pays the full cost of the premium. Enrollment is limited to within 31 days of employment unless otherwise specified by the Board of Regents.

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Direct Deposit


The university does offer the benefit of direct deposit of pay to banks and other financial institutions. Arrangements for this may be made through the Human Resources Department.

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Dismissal, Demotion or Suspension


Dismissal, demotion or suspension of classified employees may be effected by the employee's immediate supervisor when the supervisor determines that the employee's performance of duty or personal conduct is unsatisfactory.

The employee shall be informed in writing of the reasons for the action taken (except during the six-month probationary period) and granted a reasonable opportunity (not less than five working days) to respond to the next highest authority prior to the effective date of action. However, under emergency circumstances when immediate action is necessary, the employee may be forthwith dismissed, demoted or suspended, with or without pay, by the immediate supervisor, pending a review by the next highest authority.

Any such employee shall also be entitled to the procedural protections of a hearing before a Board of Review convened pursuant to Section II-K (Appeals) of the Board of Regent's Policy Manual, upon request made within 15 working days following the adverse personnel decision of the immediate supervisor, provided that the Board of Review hearing may take place either before or after the effective date of the personnel decision in question.

Any employee who has been dismissed or suspended without pay and is later reinstated shall be entitled to recover back pay unless the president or his designee determines otherwise.

Georgia is an employment-at-will state.

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Disruptive Behavior


While supporting freedom of expression and peaceful dissent, the university, in the interest of orderly operation and preservation of an environment favorable to productive study, has adopted a policy prohibiting disruptive behavior on the part of any student, faculty member, administrator, or employee.

Armstrong State University expects its employees to be productive. It also expects people to follow not only the published rules and regulations but also accepted customs and standards of courtesy, conduct, and cooperation.

The following are examples of actions that can result in disciplinary action or discharge:

  • Insubordination
  • Theft
  • Discourteous behavior
  • Entering an unauthorized area at any time
  • Wasting materials
  • Willful violation of safety regulations
  • Continued failure to perform assigned duties
  • Negligence
  • Falsifying records, reports, or information
  • Intoxication or drinking on the job
  • Failure to report an employee's absence or reason for absence
  • Habitual absence or tardiness
  • Unauthorized absence from assigned work area
  • Interfering with work performance of another employee
  • Willful damaging of equipment or property
  • Gambling
  • Sleeping while on duty
  • Drug-related charges


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Drug Free Schools and Communities Act


Armstrong State University, as any other educational institution, has a clear responsibility to its students, their parents, and its employees. This involves providing the very best academic atmosphere for the students and a wholesome working environment for the employees.

Any element which may hinder the efforts to carry out these responsibilities cannot be tolerated. Employees involved with drugs pose such a hindrance. Therefore, employees should realize that drug-related convictions could lead to termination of employment.

Armstrong State University also abides by terms and provisions of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. This policy provides that an employee must notify the director of human resources of any drug statute conviction for a violation no later than five calendar days after such conviction. A copy of the complete policy is available in the human resources department and is provided during the employee's orientation session.

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Economy


Employees of Armstrong State University have a responsibility to hold costs of operation down. University property should be given the same care as one's personal property. Supplies should not be wasted simply because they may appear to be plentiful. Office equipment lasts longer and performs better if given proper care and kept covered when not in use. Employees are not permitted to use university supplies and equipment for personal reasons.

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Educational Leave Without Pay


The university may grant educational leave without pay to regular employees for periods not to exceed one year at a time for the purpose of encouraging professional development. Such approved leave shall allow the employee the right to continue group insurance benefits with the institution continuing its share of the cost. Annual and sick leave do not accrue while on any leave without pay.

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The Employee


Armstrong State University recognizes that its employees are important, and fairness to all determines the relationship of the university to its personnel.

University policy is to employ those persons who are best qualified based on ability, skill, experience, training, character, and physical condition, regardless of race, color, sex, or creed. The university provides working conditions, salaries, and benefits that will attract and retain competent employees.

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Employee Development and Continuing Education


Auditing Courses: In order to improve job performance, employees of an institution of the university system may attend classes as auditors but no credit shall be awarded for such attendance.

Continuing Education: Employees may participate in these at no charge on a space available basis and with approval by the Office of Continuing Education and the appropriate supervisors.

In all cases, the employee and the supervisor should arrange satisfactory work and class schedules so that office operations are not impaired.

You can call us at 344.3455 with your questions, or you can go to the University System of Georgia.

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Employee Travel


Travel by employees on official business is covered by regulations relating to reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses. Employees required to make official trips should understand the regulations by consulting with their supervisor and/or the director of business services. Tax-exempt forms for hotel/motel excise taxes are also provided for employees on official business by contacting the director of business services.

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Employment of Relatives


No individual shall be employed in a department or unit under the supervision of a relative who has or may have a direct effect on the individual's progress, performance, salary, or welfare.

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Exit Interview


All regular employees who are terminating their employment must participate in an exit interview conducted by the Human Resources Department. At that time, employees will receive all pertinent information regarding their separation, complete all necessary paperwork, and return any identification cards, keys, or other institutional property to the university. This interview will also give employees an opportunity to express their feelings about their employment experience at Armstrong.

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Fair Labor Standards Act


All non-exempt staff employees are covered by the provisions of this act which, in part, establishes a minimum hourly wage and requires the payment of overtime for work suffered in excess of 40 hours per week at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular hourly rate of pay. Overtime will not be paid until the employee has physically worked 40 hours in one week, not including holiday, vacation, or sick leave.

For the purposes of calculating a 40-hour work week, the week begins at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday.

Should any employee be required to work beyond the normal eight-hour day, the direct supervisor may make provisions for comparable time off to compensate for the overtime within that 40-hour work week. If that is not possible, then such overtime will be recorded on the time records and paid as overtime in accordance with FLSA provisions. Compensatory time is not allowed.

This act also provides that employees of one sex must not be paid wages at rates lower than those paid employees of the other sex for equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility which are performed under similar working conditions.

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Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)


Any employee who has been employed on a one-half time basis or greater for at least twelve consecutive months is eligible for up to twelve weeks of family leave under conditions authorized by the Family Medical Leave Act. Generally, FMLA leave is unpaid. However, the employee may elect to utilize - or the institution may require the employee to utilize - his/her accrued paid sick leave and/or annual leave, as appropriate for such absences. Armstrong State University requires accrued paid leave to be utilized for FMLA leave.

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Garnishments and Other Legally Mandated Deductions


Armstrong State University considers the acceptance and settlement of just and honest debts to be a mark of personal responsibility. Failure to meet personal financial obligation causes discredit to the university. The university is required by law to accept and process garnishments served by officials of a court of law. However, repeated instances of default in payment by the employee after appropriate counseling shall be considered sufficient grounds for disciplinary action, to and including termination.

Other mandated payments such as child support, tax levies, educational loans, etc. may be deducted from an employee's salary upon receipt of official notice from the appropriate agency.

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Georgia's Open Records Act


As an employee of Armstrong State University, you should know that certain information maintained by the institution about you and your employment record is considered to be a matter of public record and is subject to the Open Records Act of the State of Georgia. This means that any citizen of Georgia may request access to certain information contained in your personnel file without your knowledge or consent. Open records requests are filed with the Custodian of Open Records. Although some information is excluded by law and cannot be accessed under provisions of the Open Records Act, your employment and salary history and performance evaluations are among the material that may be available for review.

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Gifts and Gratuities


No official or employee of Armstrong State University may accept gratuities, courtesies, or gifts in any form whatsoever from any person or persons, corporations, or associations that directly or indirectly may seek to use the connection for consideration of any commercial commodity, process, or undertaking.

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Grievance Procedure


In the day-to-day operation of any area or department, problems and misunderstandings sometimes occur. While consideration, cooperation, and common sense can resolve most of these situations, a few require special attention.

A grievance is defined as any formal complaint registered by the employee expressing dissatisfaction with working conditions, disciplinary actions, or alleged discriminations with regard to race, sex, age, religion, national origin, or handicap for any condition of employment. The grievance procedure is applicable to those classified employees who have completed their provisional work period of six months.

Armstrong State University has established a formal grievance procedure. If employees believe that they have a legitimate complaint, they should feel free to discuss it with their supervisor. If that does not prove satisfactory, the normal procedure is to discuss the problem with their department head, then the director of human resources.

An impartial Board of Review will be appointed to hear appeals from regular employees when their grievances cannot be resolved through normal administrative channels of the university. The recommendation of the Board of Review will be forwarded to the president for final decision. If this does not meet the satisfaction of the employee, he or she may file an appeal, in writing, to the Board of Regents within 20 days following the president's decision.

Classified employees terminated prior to completion of the six month provisional period do not have the right to appeal.

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Group Life Insurance


All regular, benefits-eligible employees of Armstrong State University are covered by life insurance with accidental death and disability provisions. Each employee eligible for benefits working one-half time or more will have $25,000 in basic life insurance coverage with accidental death and disability provisions. Such coverage is provided by the university at no expense to the employee.

In addition, employees may purchase life insurance on their dependents as provided by the plan and additional (supplemental) life insurance for themselves.

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Harassment


It is the policy of this university that all employees shall have the opportunity to work in an atmosphere and environment free from any form of harassment or retaliation based on race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Such forms of harassment or retaliation constitute discrimination under various state and federal laws and will not be tolerated by the university.

General
Harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of their race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, age, or disability or that of their relatives, friends, or associates, and that:

  • has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment
  • has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance
  • otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities

Examples of harassing conduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts that relate to race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, age, or disability
  • Written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, age, or disability and that is placed on walls, bulletin boards, or elsewhere on university premises or circulated in the workplace.

Sexual

  • Making, as a condition of employment, acceptance of unwelcome sexual advances or requests, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
  • Making submission to or rejection of such conduct the basis for employment decisions
  • Creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment by such conduct

The following are examples of sexual harassment:

  • Verbal: sexual innuendo, suggestive comments, insults, threats, jokes about gender-specific traits or sexual propositions
  • Non-verbal: suggestive or insulting noises, leering, whistling, or obscene gestures
  • Physical: touching, pinching, brushing the body, coercing sexual intercourse, or assault


Employees who feel that they have suffered any form of harassment or retaliation must immediately report the alleged conduct to their supervisor or department head so that a confidential investigation of the complaint can be undertaken. Alternatively, the employee may report the alleged conduct to the director of human resources/affirmative action officer. Further, any employee who observes conduct by another employee which he or she believes to be harassing, retaliatory, or discriminatory must report such conduct as outlined above. All complaints of harassment will be treated confidentially and will be investigated promptly and thoroughly.

Any individual found by the university to have harassed another employee will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action ranging from a written warning in his or her file up to and including termination. Retaliation or discrimination against an employee for reporting or complaining about harassment is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

However, employees should realize that false accusations of harassment can have serious effects on innocent individuals. Making accusations which are known by the accusing person to be false is a form of misconduct which will likely result in serious impairment of the university's efforts to administer this policy properly and effectively for the benefit of all employees. Accordingly, such misconduct will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

We trust that all university employees will continue to act in a responsible and professional manner to establish a pleasant environment free of discrimination and harassment.

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Public Employee Hazardous Chemical Protection and Right to Know


The State of Georgia has enacted legislation to protect employees from the dangers of hazardous chemicals which may be encountered in the workplace. Armstrong State University has developed a plan to assure that employees receive training and information about hazardous chemicals present in their workplace. The university offers basic training to all new employees, and those employees whose jobs involve the handling of such materials must receive additional training in the safe use, storage, and disposal of any chemicals they use. Facility Services employs an environmental services and safety coordinator to assist in compliance with this policy.

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Holidays


The university observes 12 paid holidays each year for regular employees working one-half time or more. Temporary employees will not be paid for holidays. A schedule of holidays is published each year by the university.

A terminating employee will not be paid for any official holiday occurring after the last working day of employment. A new employee will not be paid for any official holidays occurring before the first day of employment. Any employee on approved leave without pay will not be paid for an official holiday. Holidays are in addition to annual leave (vacation) days.

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Identification Cards


These cards are available for all regular employees of the institution and are processed through the Human Resources Department and the Office of Student Activities. These cards may be used for admission to certain events, for use of some university facilities, and may be honored at selected businesses for discount purposes. These cards must be surrendered to the Human Resources Department upon termination of employment.

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Internal Investigations


All employees of the university shall cooperate to the fullest extent possible in any internal investigation when directed to do so by their immediate supervisor or other persons given investigative authority by the president. Such cooperation may involve the use of polygraph tests. Failure to cooperate shall be grounds for adverse personnel action, including possible termination of employment.

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Issuance of Keys


If it is determined that keys are needed in the performance of a job, they will be issued by Facility Services. Lost keys should be reported immediately to the director of Facility Services. Terminating employees must turn in all keys to Facility Services. Failure to do so may result in a delay of final payment of wages.

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Long-Term Disability


Armstrong State University offers a long-term disability insurance protection plan to employees. This insurance provides a monthly income in the event of total disability while employed at the university. This is a voluntary program with all premium costs paid by the employee. Additional information is available in the Human Resources Department.

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SEE ALSO