Your Termination & Appeal Procedures
We hope your employment with Andrews University will be enjoyable and rewarding. If you find it necessary to consider resignation or retirement, we ask that you discuss your plans with your supervisor as early as possible.
The University recognizes the right of any employee to terminate employment at any time and for any reason, and the employer retains a similar right. No oral or verbal statements, promises or representations made at any time before, during or after the publication of this handbook may alter your right and that of the employer to terminate your employment at any time and for any reason with or without cause.
If you terminate, you are requested to give a two-week written notice with the date of termination to your Department Head. This time is necessary to find and train a replacement for the position. You must follow the termination procedure (see Terminal Interview) and be cleared of all financial obligations to the University. Your accrued vacation time will be included in your final check. Your termination date is the end of any vacation time accrued. Your final paycheck will be sent to you at your forwarding address after the next regular payday.
The recommended age for retirement is 65, but this is not a mandatory retirement age.
The University's Board of Trustees has delegated to the University Administration the authority for hiring, promotion, demotion or removal of all employees covered by this handbook. Class SC, SP, SF, HF, HP employees are hired at will. That means you have the right to terminate your employment at any time and for any reason, or for no reason, and the employer has a similar right.
It is sometimes necessary to discontinue a job for economic reasons, because of reorganization, technological developments or for any other reason. When that is done, the affected employee will be given the courtesy of as much notice as possible. In no case will a salaried Class SF or SP worker be given less than four weeks notice or four weeks pay in lieu of notice or a combination of notice and pay to total four weeks. Hourly employees will be given two weeks notice or two weeks pay in lieu of notice or a combination of notice and pay to total two weeks.
Human Resources will attempt to place a laid off employee in another available job for which he/she is qualified. To accomplish this, the University retains the right to reassign an employee or change job duties. An effort will be made to match an employee's skill with a position. Failure on the part of an employee to accept the reassignment or change in duties will be considered a resignation.
Andrews University wants to affirm the value of each individual by providing opportunities for growth and development of employees. As an employer, Andrews University seeks to develop the talents and abilities of employees through in-service and on-the-job training. It is the goal of the institution to develop the people who are part of the organization through positive employee/employer interaction.
Michigan is an "At Will Employment" state and therefore the employee recognizes that an employment at will relationship exists and the employee may terminate employment at any time for any reason subject to the notice requested in the Resignation Policy #4:8-105. The employer has the same rights as the employee for terminating the employment of the employee. The provisions of the Employee Handbook do not constitute a contract of employment nor are they covenants.
The following are broad guidelines that may be applied to circumstances where the termination of employment or discipline of an employee appears necessary.
The following are among the reasons for legitimate, impartial and nondiscriminatory termination:
- Misconduct - may include but is not limited to - gross misconduct, stealing, rape, insubordination, dishonesty, unethical or dangerous behavior.
- Job Elimination - reduction in force, economic conditions, retrenchment, merger, shutdown.
- Poor Performance - incompetence, missing key goals, causing problems that have negative influences on total performance of the unit or University. Failure to meet any condition of the Conditions of Employment Policy #4:2-105.
The following is the procedure for terminations:
- Opportunity to Resign - If disciplinary or corrective measures have failed to remedy the situation and if termination seems to be necessary, the employee may be given the opportunity to initiate resignation.
- If the employee feels that written conditions of employment or published regulations, policies, or procedures have been inequitably applied in the impending dismissal, the employee may use the established grievance procedure. If the employee wishes to use this procedure, intent must be stated in writing to HR within five working days of receipt of written notice of dismissal. HR will examine the request and then determine whether a grievance procedure is appropriate. Notice of this decision shall be delivered in person or by registered mail with return receipt requested.
Gross Misconduct - In the case of a serious violation of conditions of employment or major infraction of policies and regulations, such as gross misconduct, the action to terminate the employee's services is final. In such cases an employee may not be given an opportunity to resign. Prior notice and warnings need not be given. Gross misconduct includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following acts:
- Act of immorality or indiscretion
- Disorderly conduct and profanity
- Gross neglect of duty
- Use, possession, or distribution of tobacco, alcohol, unprescribed drugs, or controlled substances.
- Permitting or requiring hourly employees to work without clocking or otherwise recording all hours worked. (Applies to supervisory employees and requires a written warning before termination.)
Other violations which may result in termination include, but are not limited to:
- Falsification of personnel and/or other records, including the application for employment
- Excessive absences and/or irregular work habits, regardless of the reason
- Theft of or unauthorized possession or use of property belonging to the University or its employees, students, customers or guests, or willful destruction of same
- Neglect of duty or the care and use of University property
- Disregard of safety regulations
- Disorderly or unprofessional conduct, or physical assault upon or harassment of fellow employee, student or guest of the University
- Act of immorality or sexual indiscretion
- Soliciting or accepting gratuity or accepting kickbacks of any kind
- Unauthorized release of confidential information
- Language or conduct unbecoming to a Christian
- Undermining the objectives of the University and/or the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
- Three consecutive absences from work without proper notification or four non-consecutive absences without notification in a rolling 12 month period.
- Final Remuneration - Andrews University, at its own discretion, may pay the dismissed employee in lieu of notice. An employee who is dismissed will receive the full remuneration that he or she has earned up to the time of discharge.
Employees who have concerns regarding the termination process may address those concerns through the appeal procedure in section 4:8-140.
Upon terminating for any reason, you may arrange for a termination interview with Human Resources. That interview should be on your last day of employment. Prior to the interview you will need to obtain a Termination Procedure form from your department head and follow the steps outlined. Your stop at Human Resources will be the last of those steps. At that time you will need to return your University identification card, telephone credit card, your employee handbook, and keys. During the interview, reasons for terminating and other matters of mutual interest will be discussed. We also want to make certain that any accrued benefits to which you are entitled are provided to you.
Consideration for reemployment will be given if you left Andrews University in good standing. If there is no immediate position, you may apply to be considered for openings for which you may be qualified.
The ombudsperson is an intervention agent and impartial person available to help students, staff, and faculty resolve any complex problems which remain unsolved after the student, staff or faculty member has followed normal channels for handling such matters or has encountered an obstacle. The ombudsperson will advise the student, staff or faculty member on further steps to take, negotiate a solution, or find out the reasons why the problem is insoluble and help the concerned individual to understand and relate better. No student, staff or faculty member shall suffer any penalty because of seeking assistance from the ombudsperson. All information presented to him/her by persons seeking assistance shall be considered confidential. The ombudsperson is not intended to participate in the employee appeal process.
The ombudsperson is alert to the causes for students and staff and faculty concerns and is expected to make recommendations, consistent with the fundamental purposes of the University, to the president for elimination of these causes.
The basic working principles of the University ombudsperson are independence, impartiality and confidentiality. Ombudspersons are appointed by the President and reports to the Human Resources Director and the President.
In any work situation employee complaints and grievances may occur. Employee-supervisor problems can arise in any work environment and grievances that cannot be solved at that level do not automatically cast reflection on the ability of the supervisor. By providing a system for the resolution of grievances, the efficiency and morale of the employee and the success of the organization will be enhanced. Appeals must be filed within 30 days of the incident which is being appealed.
Procedure to Follow
- You should discuss the complaint or problem with your immediate supervisor.
- If you are not satisfied with the resolution of the issue and wish to appeal further, you should request that your supervisor arrange for an appointment with the department head or supervisor, within three working days, unless due to absence or unusual circumstances requiring additional time.
The supervisor has the responsibility to carry out your request, normally, within twenty-four hours. If you are not satisfied with the resolution of the issue and wish to appeal further, you should request that your supervisor arrange for an appointment with the department head or supervisor, within three working days, unless absence or unusual circumstances requires additional time. Within three working days from the time the department head receives the request he/she should meet with you.
- If you are not satisfied with that resolution, you should request that the department head arrange for a convenient time to go to Human Resources as outlined in Step 2.
- As soon as possible, normally within twenty-four hours, if you are not satisfied with the resolution of the issue and wish to appeal further, you should request that your supervisor arrange for an appointment with the department head or supervisor, within three working days, unless absence or unusual circumstances requires additional time. The arrangements should be made for you to contact the Human Resources Director or Associate. The Human Resource Director or Associate will assist you in putting the problem in writing. The written form will be sent to your supervisor, with copies to the department head. The supervisor's answer will be referred to the department head.
- Generally, Step Two should be completed within three working days. If you are not satisfied with the answer received, Human Resources should be informed by the department head and the problem will then be referred to the appropriate vice president.
- Within three working days, unless due to absence or unusual circumstances requiring additional time, the appropriate vice president will call a meeting of those concerned to discuss the problem. You will be present at the meeting with your supervisor along with the Human Resource Director or Associate and the department head. You may also bring one other employee to this meeting to help explain the problem.
- If you still have not received a satisfactory resolution to the problem, you may so notify the Human Resource Director or Associate who will then confer with the President for an appropriate resolution. The decision made by HR and administration in this step will be final.
Naturally, there will be variations in the number of supervisory levels involved in the above procedure. The four steps involved will cover most cases The procedure will be modified, when necessary, to fit specific situations.
The purpose of the University's appeal procedure is to provide an established method of bringing to the attention of management such injustices as may exist and to allow a prompt redress of grievances. The University will make every effort to comply with the above time frames within reasonable working limits.
Andrews University is committed to providing a harassment free workplace for its employees. Sexual harassment and harassment on account of age, race, ethnicity or disability are prohibited.
Sexual harassment by the employer, supervisors, co-workers and, in some instances, non employees includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature which affects an individual's employment status or the terms, conditions or benefits of his or her employment. Such conduct constitutes sexual harassment when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; or
- Submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment; or
- Where threats or suggestions are made that an individual's employment, future promotions, wages, etc., depend on whether or not the individual submits to sexual demands or tolerates harassment.
- Unwelcome sexually oriented statements (e.g., kidding, teasing, jokes, degrading or offensive sexual comments, sexual tricks, etc,);
- Requests or pressure for sexual activity;
- Unnecessary or inappropriate touching of a sexual or abusive nature (e.g., patting, pinching, hugging, repeated brushing against another person's body, etc.);
- Inappropriate visual conduct which creates embarrassment or suggests an interest in sexual activity; or
- Suggestions, threats or demands for sexual favors.
Harassment on account of age, race, ethnicity or disability includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Subjecting employees to derogatory remarks, insults, slurs, jokes or tricks based on age, race ethnicity or disability;
- Denying employees' opportunities for promotion, transfer or advancement on account of age, race, ethnicity or disability;
- Limiting opportunities for promotion, transfer or advancement on account of age, race, ethnicity or disability;
- Requiring employees to perform physically more difficult tasks or less desirable work assignments in order to force them to retire or resign from employment.
Andrews University strives to maintain a working environment free from harassment. It endeavors to achieve this environment through educating employees that harassment violates the law and Christian values upheld by the University, and is expressly prohibited. Andrews endeavors to prevent such harassment by adopting a strong policy against harassment, communicating the policy to all employees, including, but not limited to informing all employees of their right to complain of such harassment, and training the appropriate parties in the proper procedures to follow for handling incidents of harassment, and enforcing the policy through appropriate sanctions for misconduct.
To maintain a work environment free of harassment and to help prevent inappropriate workplace conduct, Andrews University's Harassment Policy includes the following actions:
- Each employee shall receive a copy of this harassment policy and complaint procedure.
- Each employee shall acknowledge receipt of this policy and complaint procedure, and the acknowledgment will be maintained in the employee's personnel file.
- Andrews University has designated the HR Director and Associate HR Director, as well as the Sexual Harassment Compliance Officer (see Working Policy), as the persons to whom complaints of sexual harassment, and other forms of harassment may be made, in addition to supervisory staff.
- Employees who complain of harassment will not be subjected to retaliation by supervisors or co-workers.
- Human Resources shall conduct periodic training sessions for employees who are in a supervisory position in order to ensure that the policy against unlawful harassment is implemented.
Andrews University will not tolerate any kind of unlawful harassment. Employees who believe that they have been harassed by supervisors, fellow employees, clients, or non employees should immediately take the following steps:
- Make it clear to the one harassing that such conduct is offensive and should be stopped immediately;
- Report the incident to one of the following: a) the immediate department director, b) the HR Director, c) Associate Director, d) the sexual harassment officer or e) other supervisory staff. The initial report shall be followed by a written statement describing the incident and identifying potential witnesses.
- The employee filing a complaint should not discuss the incident and should maintain the harassment complaint in confidence. The person to whom the complaint is made shall keep information received in confidence, except as necessary to investigate or rectify the matter.
- Any supervisory staff member upon receiving a complaint alleging unlawful harassment shall contact HR immediately.
Employees who are aware of incidents of potential sexual harassment are to report such incidents to their department director or to the HR Director or Associate Director immediately for investigation.
Complaints of any kind of harassment based on gender, age, race, ethnicity or disability should be investigated promptly. The investigation should be a genuine attempt to identify and remedy the problem. The HR Director or Associate Director (or designee) should direct the investigation of all harassment complaints. The investigation conducted by HR should include, at a minimum, confidential interviews with all involved persons and procurement, if possible, of written statements regarding the incident(s). The investigation and results should be documented in writing.
The determination of whether or not a particular action constitutes sexual harassment, or another form of unlawful harassment, shall be made from the facts on a case-by-case basis. In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes unlawful harassment, the investigating body should look at the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, including the nature of the conduct and the context in which it occurred. The HR Director or Associate Director should review the results of the investigation with the employee making the complaint and the accused employee and explain any corrective action taken or to be taken. Individuals involved should be cautioned to maintain the investigation results in confidence.
If the investigation indicates that harassment has not occurred, the complainant and accused employee should be notified of the results and cautioned regarding future compliance with Andrews University's Harassment Policy.
If the investigation indicates that harassment has occurred, Andrews University should take prompt corrective action. Depending on the severity of the conduct, the corrective action may range from a written warning which will be placed in the accused employee's personnel file to immediate dismissal.
Andrews University prohibits supervisors and co-workers from retaliating, intimidating, or harassing employees complaining of any form of unlawful harassment.
REPORTING OF VIOLATIONS OF LAW (WHISTLE BLOWING) 4:8-150
As an employee you have the right, which is protected by state and federal laws, to report a violation or suspected violation of state, local or federal laws to an appropriate authority. You will not be discharged, threatened, or otherwise discriminated against regarding your compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment. This protection also extends to you if you participate in a hearing, investigation, legislative inquiry or court action or if someone acts on your behalf in any of the above activities. This protection does not extend to you if you know the charges being made are false.
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