General Policies and Guidelines

Contents

Access to Employee Personnel Files

Alcoholic Beverages

AlertLine

Issues that are best reported in other ways:

Attendance

Computer Access and Use

Conflict of Interest

Withdrawal from Decisions

Misuse of Information

Gifts and Favors

Reporting Suspected Violations

Additional Disclosure Requirements for Certain Employees

Confidentiality of Medical Information

Copyrights and Photocopying

Defense and Indemnification of Staff

Disabilities Resources and Services

Requesting an Accommodation

Reasonable Accommodation

Essential Functions

Services to Faculty and Staff with Disabilities

Donations and Solicitations

Drug-Free Workplace/Drug-Free Schools Policy

Employment Applications

Employment—Proof of U.S. Citizenship and/or Right to Work

Employment of Relatives (Nepotism)

Environmental Health and Safety

Extreme Weather Conditions

Financial Obligations

Hours of Work

Legal Services for University Business

News Services

Organization Development Consulting Services

Outside Work

Patents and Rights to Inventions, Creations, and Other Intellectual Property

Personal Phone Calls and Mail

Personal Use of University Resources and Services

Public Office

Radiation Safety

Recycling

Reference Checks

Research Integrity

Sexual Assault Services Office

Smoking Policy

Staff Recognition

Staff Responsibility

Technology Help Desk

Travel and Business Expenses

University Marketing Communications

University Name, Titles, Seal, and Logos

Violent, Threatening and/or Intimidating Behavior

Visitors to Labs and Shops (Including Minors)

Weapons and Dangerous Substances

Web Communications

Whistleblower Laws

Workers’ Compensation

 

Access to Employee Personnel Files

Staff salaries, personnel data, and all aspects of University affairs that have not been released as public information are confidential. If you are an active staff member and wish to review your personnel file, you should refer to Policy 07-06-05. If you believe that there is an error in the record, a statement to that effect may be added as a part of the permanent file. You may also request that your department process the appropriate forms to initiate corrections. You should make arrangements through your departmental administrator if you wish to review your departmental personnel file.

Alcoholic Beverages

All University staff members must fully comply with all laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including those regarding the possession and consumption of alcohol on University property. The following are specific provisions:

  • No one may provide alcohol to a person under the age of 21 or to anyone visibly intoxicated.
  • No one may permit the possession or consumption of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 or by anyone visibly intoxicated.
  • No one under the age of 21 may occupy licensed premises where alcohol is served, unless under supervision.
  • No one under the age of 18 may dispense alcoholic beverages.

At any University function, the host is the most senior official present from the school, department, or other segment of the University sponsoring the function. The host is responsible for ensuring that Pennsylvania law relating to alcoholic beverages is strictly observed and is responsible for compliance with these guidelines. If you are over the age of 21, you may consume alcoholic beverages (in compliance with Pennsylvania law) at official University functions on campus. However, consumption of alcohol, intoxication, or the misuse of alcohol while on the job is prohibited.

Violation of the above is a serious infraction and will result in corrective action.

AlertLine

AlertLine is a toll-free telephone line, 1-866-858-4456, which University of Pittsburgh employees can use to report certain irregular or troublesome workplace issues so that these issues can be investigated and resolved.

AlertLine is available to all full-time and part-time faculty, staff, and research associates at the Oakland and regional campuses and other off-campus work locations. Callers can remain anonymous. The line answers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be accessed from any telephone in North America, including pay telephones.

Issues that can be reported on the AlertLine include:

  • Financial improprieties, including fraud, theft, falsification of records, and improper use of University assets.
  • Human resource matters, including perceived harassment, discrimination, misconduct, and other workplace issues.
  • Research compliance concerns, including conflict of interest, improper charging of grants, violation of human subject research regulations, and violation of other research compliance rules.
  • Other legal/regulatory matters, such as those pertaining to environmental health and safety.

Issues that are best reported in other ways

Many specific workplace issues can be best handled by bringing them to the attention of the workplace manager or supervisor. Problems concerning employee benefits are most readily resolved through the benefits staff in the Office of Human Resources. AlertLine is not intended to replace existing compliance hotlines or established grievance procedures. Note that calling the AlertLine does not constitute providing legal notice to the University of Pittsburgh. If you believe the concern is life threatening, call your University police or security department.

Attendance

You are expected to report to work regularly and on time. In those instances when you cannot avoid being late for work or are unable to work as scheduled, you must notify your departmental administrator within the first hour of the workday, barring extenuating circumstances that make such notification impossible or extremely difficult. Poor attendance and/or excessive tardiness may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. See Policy 07-04-01.

Computer Access and Use

University-owned computing equipment, networks, services, and resources, including electronic mail (collectively referred to as the “system”) are provided for the purpose of conducting University-related activities and may be used only by:

  • Faculty, staff, and students for recognized instructional, research, or administrative purposes within the University.
  • Organizations whose use of such services is for a University-sponsored or recognized public service. For purposes of administering this policy, such classification will apply only if the organization has been designated as federally tax-exempt under the Federal Internal Revenue Code and the use of such services is approved by Computing Services and Systems Development.
  • Faculty and staff under professional consulting arrangements provided: (1) an application for services is approved by Computing Services and Systems Development and an external account is established, and (2) a formal contractual arrangement is entered into with Computing Services and Systems Development.

Use of computer services for any commercial purpose, partisan political purpose, or any unlawful purpose or use that infringes on the rights of others, including privacy, ownership, and equitable access to computing resources, is prohibited. Computer software and other intellectual property protected by copyright may not be copied from, into, or by University computing facilities, except as permitted by law, or by contract with the copyright owner. Departments that purchase software protected by a copyright are responsible for the protection of that copyright.

Electronic communication facilities such as e-mail facilities or World Wide Web servers may be used only for University-related activities. Fraudulent, harassing, or obscene messages may not be sent or stored. The University retains the ability to access all data on the system for all lawful purposes, including managing the system, protecting the security of the system, investigating incidents involving the use of the system, and ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local laws and University policies.

Willfully exceeding the limits of authorization, damaging, modifying, altering, destroying, copying, disclosing, or taking possession of a computer, computer system, computer network, or any other University computing facility or gaining unauthorized access to any software, program, documentation, data, or property contained in any computer, computer system, or computer network will result in disciplinary action. The unauthorized downloading or transferring of copyrighted materials, including movies, video games, software, and music, is not permitted and may subject the user to University disciplinary action and civil and criminal penalties.

For additional information about University computing policies, refer to University Policy 10-02-05, Computer Access and Use, available at the University’s website.

Please visit the Information Technology website, www.technology.pitt.edu, for information about University computing services and policies, including the Computing Ethics and Guidelines document.

Conflict of Interest

The University must be able to have trust and confidence in you, and you must at all times act in good faith with due regard for the best interests of the University. A potential or actual conflict of interest arises if and when a financial or other personal interest unduly influences your commitments and obligations to the University. Not all conflicting interests are prohibited. You must, however, at least disclose to the University administration actual or proposed transactions with the University to which you (or an immediate family member) are a party or with an organization in which you (or an immediate family member) have a financial interest. Your disclosure obligations and procedures are spelled out in Policies 07-05-02 and 07-05-03.

Withdrawal from Decisions

Staff shall not exercise University decision-making authority or exert influence concerning any organization or transaction in which they have a personal interest.

Misuse of Information

No staff member shall, for personal gain or for the gain of others, use any information not available to the public that was obtained as a result of service to the University. No staff member shall personally exploit any business opportunity in which the staff member knows or reasonably should know the University is or would be interested, unless the University first consents thereto in writing.

Gifts and Favors

No staff member shall solicit or accept for personal use, or for the use of others, any gift, favor, loan, gratuity, reward, promise of future employment, or any other thing of monetary value that might influence or appear to influence the judgment or conduct of the staff member vis-à-vis University business. Staff members may accept occasional unsolicited courtesy gifts or favors (such as business lunches, tickets to baseball games, or Christmas baskets) so long as the gifts or favors have a market value under $200, are customary in the industry, and will not influence or appear to influence the judgment or conduct of the staff member vis-à-vis University business. The supervisor may exempt a staff member from the restrictions in this paragraph as to a specified gift or favor. The exemption shall be in writing with a statement of the basis therefore. Individual administrative units within the University may impose further restrictions on gifts or favors for staff members within the unit.

Reporting Suspected Violations

An allegation of violation of the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy and the basis for the allegation shall be communicated, confidentially and preferably (but not necessarily) in writing, to an administrator in the supervisory line of the alleged violator or, if that would be problematic, to the Internal Audit Department, the Office of General Counsel, or the Conflict of Interest Office. Measures shall be taken to ensure that no adverse action is taken, either directly or indirectly, against a complainant who makes allegations in good faith.

Additional Disclosure Requirements for Certain Employees

University administrators and staff who are classified as Administrator IV or V or above, and others who have been specifically designated by their supervisors, are subject to the more specific provisions of the Conflict of Interest Policy for Designated University of Pittsburgh Administrators and Staff (Policy 07-05-02). University faculty, researchers, and administrative employees who can materially influence research are also subject to the more specific provisions of the Conflict of Interest Policy for faculty (Policy 11-01-03).

Confidentiality of Medical Information

Medical information about individual staff members is to be treated confidentially. The University will take reasonable precautions to protect such information from inappropriate disclosure. Any staff member who has legitimate access has a responsibility to respect and maintain the confidentiality of that medical information.

Copyrights and Photocopying

University copyright policies provide for copyright ownership in works authored by staff members and for allocation of royalty income (Policy 11-02-02) and outline federal legal restrictions on reproducing copyrighted material (Policy 10-04-01).

Defense and Indemnification of Staff

The University will furnish each current and former staff member of the University (except as may be prohibited by law) with legal defense and payment of judgments, fines, penalties, settlements, and any other expenses actually and reasonably incurred in connection with an actual or threatened action suit or other legal proceeding (civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative) brought against such staff member by reason of being or having been a staff member of the University, or by reason of serving or having served the University as a member of or representative to a committee, board, or other entity outside the University, so long as the staff member’s actions or omissions were within the scope of his or her University duties or authority, were in good faith and in a manner reasonably believed to be lawful and in the University’s best interest, and the acts or omissions did not constitute willful misconduct, gross negligence, or recklessness.

For the complete policy and procedure, which include important conditions, limitations, and requirements not set out in the above summary, see Policy 07-06-06 and Procedure 07-06-06, or contact the Office of General Counsel at 412-624-5674.

Disabilities Resources and Services

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in employment practices. The ADA also requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, so long as it does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Requesting an Accommodation

Employees or applicants who believe that they have a disability necessitating an accommodation should contact their supervisor, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (412-648-7860) or the Office of Disability Resources and Services (412-648-7890). It is the responsibility of the employee with a disability to self-identify and inform the University that an accommodation is requested. Documentation of the disability will be required (see www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/drsdocumentationguidelines). Requests for reasonable accommodations will be determined by management on a case-by-case basis involving a cooperative effort among the employee, the supervisor, and Disability Resources, with due consideration of the documentation that has been submitted.

Reasonable Accommodation

A reasonable accommodation can be a change or adjustment to a job or work environment that affords an employee with a disability the opportunity to perform the essential functions of the job. If a reasonable accommodation is required, an employer must provide an effective reasonable accommodation, but not necessarily the particular accommodation preferred or requested by the employee.

Essential Functions

Essential job functions are those duties that an employee must be able to perform in the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

Services to Faculty and Staff with Disabilities

See www.drs.pitt.edu.

Donations and Solicitations

The United Way campaign and Pitt Internal Campaign (PIC) are University-sanctioned solicitation drives. Contributions to Pitt’s Internal Campaign enhance the dimension and quality of University programs and support the academic excellence of the institution. Payroll deductions may be used to make contributions to these campaigns. However, participation decisions are strictly personal, and lack of participation shall not be held against you.

In addition each April the University joins more than 400 other Pittsburgh companies, universities, and agencies to collect canned goods and household items for distribution to needy local residents through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. This drive is called Pitt’s Partnership for Food.

In an effort to ensure a productive and harmonious work environment, persons not employed by the University may not solicit donations or distribute literature in the workplace at any time, for any purpose. You may have interests in events and organizations outside the workplace. However, you may not solicit donations or distribute literature concerning these activities during working time. In addition, the posting of written solicitations on University bulletin boards is restricted. If you have a message that you think might be of interest to the workplace, you may submit it to the Office of Human Resources for approval.

Drug-Free Workplace/Drug-Free Schools Policy

The University of Pittsburgh is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace and prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance on University property or as part of any University activity. If your salary is paid from federally funded grants or contracts, you must notify the University through your supervisor of any criminal drug statute conviction or a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after such conviction. Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action including but not limited to a warning, written reprimand, suspension (with or without pay), dismissal, and/or mandatory participation in and successful completion of a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved by an appropriate health or law enforcement agency. Faculty, staff, and students of the University must also comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the possession and consumption of alcohol.

Contact the Office of Human Resources for a copy of the complete Drug-Free Workplace/Drug-Free Schools Policy and see Policy 06-02-01.

Employment Applications

The University relies upon the accuracy of information contained in the employment application as well as the accuracy of other data presented throughout the hiring process and employment. Any misrepresentations, falsifications, or material omissions in any of this information or data may result in the University’s exclusion of the individual from further consideration for employment or, if the person has been hired, termination of employment.

Employment—Proof of U.S. Citizenship and/or Right to Work

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires that American employers hire only American citizens and aliens who are authorized to work in the United States. In compliance with this Act and University policy, the University requires that all new staff members submit to the Office of Human Resources appropriate documents attesting to identity and employment eligibility and complete Form I-9 prior to or within the first three days of work. This form and copies of the documents provided by the staff member will be processed by the Office of Human Resources and then filed in the staff member’s file. See Policy 07-01-04.

Employment of Relatives (Nepotism)

The University strives to employ the most qualified individuals available for all positions. The University does not consider family relationship a disqualifying factor for employment, but special consideration will not be given to relatives of current employees. Efforts by employees to exert any influence to help relatives secure positions at the University are considered improper. Employment depends exclusively on the applicant’s qualifications and suitability for the position.

The employment of relatives in the same area of the University may cause conflicts and problems, real or perceived. A relative is any person who is related by blood or marriage or whose relationship with the staff member is similar to that of persons who are related by blood or marriage. Although the University has no absolute prohibition against hiring relatives of existing staff members, an administrator is not permitted to employ his or her own relatives, and a relative may not be the only signing authority on the relative’s Payroll Employee Record form. If a situation occurs where a departmental administrator would be required to supervise a relative, one or the other must obtain a transfer from that area or resign their position within 60 working days.

The University reserves the right to monitor situations in which relatives work in the same area. In case of actual or potential problems, the University may take prompt action, including reassignment or, if necessary, termination of employment for one or both of the individuals involved. In the event that more than one member of a family is employed by the University, family members may not intercede on behalf of relatives in any matters concerning employment, including salary, working conditions, or job performance. See Policy 07-05-02.

Environmental Health and Safety

The University is committed to the health and safety of all staff members and to protecting and enhancing the environment. The University administration and staff share responsibility in achieving a safe and healthful work environment

Safety and health programs are described in the University’s Health and Safety Manuals and on the Environmental Health and Safety website. These programs are designed as a supplement to the rules, regulations, standards, and codes applicable to the diverse operations of the University. Each work area should provide access to www.ehs.pitt.edu or have copies of safety procedures available for your review and reference. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety maintains active programs in hazardous waste management, biosafety, fire safety, laser safety, and chemical hygiene.

You should review the University safety, health, and environment-related resources to determine needs for required training, personal protective equipment, and hazard communications.

Questions or inquiries should be directed to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 412-624-9505 or answered by accessing the website at www.ehs.pitt.edu.

You are encouraged to discuss health and safety programs with your supervisor and to read and understand the available University guidance documents. The dangers to staff members and others that could result from disregard of prudent practices or the recommendations of the University’s programs may be grounds for disciplinary action.

Extreme Weather Conditions

The University has established guidelines for all campuses of the University concerning operations during periods of extreme weather conditions or other emergency circumstances. Only the chancellor has the authority to officially close the Pittsburgh campus of the University. The presidents of the regional campuses are authorized to officially close their respective campuses. Cancellation of classes does not mean that the University is closed. In the event that you are unable to report to work at the appointed time, you should contact your supervisor within the first hour of the workday.

For further guidelines and a listing of radio and television stations that will announce modifications to normal University operations during extreme weather conditions, see Policy 07-04-02. To view the most recent correspondence regarding extreme weather conditions from the Associate Vice Chancellor, click here. Notifications also will be posted on the University’s website, www.pitt.edu.

Financial Obligations

The University will not employ an individual who is in default of any type of financial obligation to the University without a written agreement to fulfill the financial obligation within a specified period of time. You are subject to dismissal if you are in default of a financial obligation to the University unless satisfactory repayment arrangements are made and fulfilled.

Hours of Work

Normal University business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You receive one unpaid hour for lunch. For pay purposes, the pay week begins at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday. Departmental administrators may vary these schedules to accommodate business needs. In all cases, the standard work week is 37.5 hours per week.

Legal Services for University Business

The University’s Legal Services Policy spells out the circumstances under which you should or must consult the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of General Counsel attorneys in connection with University business.

For further information and specific details, see Policy 01-05-01.

News Services

University News within the Department of News Services handles contacts and relations with local, regional, national, international, and University print and electronic media on behalf of the University administration and all schools, departments, and centers not covered by the health sciences or sports information bureaus. The news unit works with faculty, staff, and administrators in planning and implementing programs to inform various external and internal audiences of news about, and events taking place at, the University of Pittsburgh. The department produces Pitt Magazine, Pitt Med magazine, and the Pitt Chronicle weekly newspaper. All requests for News Services should be directed to 412-624-4361.

Organization Development Consulting Services

The Organization Development department of the Office of Human Resources serves as a partner with our University community clients to help them create and realize their strategic plans, achieve greater levels of effectiveness, develop effective support systems, and help their staff attain higher levels of performance and demonstrate consistent positive change in the workplace. We do this by providing comprehensive consulting along with high-quality products, services, and results-based solutions. Departments and schools may request assistance with any of these organizational issues.

The Organization Development consulting team works with the University schools and departments to achieve greater efficiencies in work processes and increase effectiveness and productivity among faculty and/or staff. Products and services offered include strategic planning sessions to develop or clarify vision, mission, values, and goals; organization analysis; work redesign; organization restructure; process improvements; performance management; competency identification and modeling; executive coaching; and organization interventions such as customer service, leadership development, team building, and group dynamics. Organization Development also administers the Faculty and Staff Development Program and the Human Resources Development Track for Supervisors.

Outside Work

The University does not prohibit you from performing non-University work outside your regular working hours. However, if the outside work results in a conflict of interest or otherwise interferes with the performance of duties on campus, you may be asked to choose between jobs. In addition, if you are performing non-University work, you may be required to provide information about such work sufficient to permit your departmental administrator to assess any possible conflict of interest. Further, the University prohibits you from performing non-University work while on the job and from using University equipment, including telephones or supplies, for non-University business. The use of the University campus mail system is limited to University business.

Patents and Rights to Inventions, Creations, and Other Intellectual Property

All rights in and to any and all inventions, creations, ideas, techniques, methods, developments, and improvements (“inventions”) that you (either alone or in conjunction with others) conceive, make, reduce to practice, or obtain during employment with the University are the property of the University of Pittsburgh.

In consideration of your employment, you are required to make full and prompt disclosure to the University of all inventions and, at the University’s request and expense, you will at any time or times execute and deliver to the University such foreign and domestic patent applications, assignments, copyrights, and other papers and take such other action (including, without limitation, testifying in any legal proceeding) as the University considers necessary to vest, perfect, defend, or maintain its rights in and to such inventions. The University claims ownership and control of the worldwide patent rights that result from the activity of its faculty, staff, and students.

The University Technology Transfer Committee considers disclosures of inventions by you and determines whether to proceed to obtain a patent. The inventor may receive a portion of the net financial returns from the sale, licensing, or other transfer of patent rights. The current University Policy on Patents and Technology Transfer determines the rights of the inventor and contains a procedure for submitting an invention for the consideration of the University Technology Transfer Committee. See Policy 11-02-01.

Copyrightable works that have been produced by University staff members who have been specifically directed to produce those works in the course of their employment or who produce those works under the supervision and control of the University are “works made for hire.” The copyright interests in those works automatically vest in the University.

Software, other than educational courseware that has been created or developed at least in part on the University’s computer systems, will be proprietary to the University. Other copyrightable materials that have been created using University resources will also be owned by the University. The creator of these works may share in royalties arising out of the license or sale of the works. Such royalty sharing does not apply to works made for hire. See Policy 11-02-02.

Personal Phone Calls and Mail

Personal phone calls should be kept to a minimum. Calls must not interfere with your work, and this privilege should not be abused. The University’s address cannot be used for personal mail, and personal mail cannot be processed through the University’s postage meters.

Personal Use of University Resources and Services

Use of University resources for personal non-University purposes is not permitted. University services and resources include, but are not limited to, photocopiers, local and long-distance telephone and facsimile service, mail service, staff support, supplies, and equipment. See Policy 05-08-01.

Public Office

The University recognizes your right to seek and serve in elected or appointed public office at the municipal, county, state, or federal level as long as such service does not constitute a conflict of interest or interfere with the proper performance of your responsibilities at the University. If seeking or serving in public office interferes with University duties, you must request or may be required to take a leave of absence without pay. Such leaves will be made in accordance with the guidelines found in the Leave of Absence section of this Handbook except that such leaves of absence may not exceed 24 months. If you are unsuccessful in your bid for election, or complete your term of office, you may be reinstated as a member of the University staff in accordance with the terms of the leave.

Radiation Safety

The University is committed to maintaining a safe working environment when using sources of ionizing radiation. The University administration, staff, and students share the responsibility in achieving a safe environment. All uses of radioisotopes, particle accelerators, X-ray-producing machinery, and other sources of ionizing radiation fall under the jurisdiction of the University Radiation Safety Committee and its operating arm, the University Radiation Safety Office.

The committee has the administrative responsibility for safe usage, obtaining licenses, authorization of individuals to use sources, purchase approvals, and disposal of radiation sources. Detailed information is available in the manual Regulations Regarding the Safe Use of Sources of Ionizing Radiation. Work with radioactive materials must be carried out under the control of an “Authorized User” approved by the Radiation Safety Committee. All other sources of ionizing radiation must be registered with the Radiation Safety Office and must have a designated person responsible for their safe use. Researchers, laboratory personnel, and other users of ionizing radiation sources must receive general training provided by the Radiation Safety Office. Specific training must be provided by the authorized user or other responsible individuals.

Experimenters have the primary responsibility to maintain a safe working environment and to comply with the regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Additional rules are imposed by licensing agreements with these agencies and by the University Radiation Safety Committee. Administrators must plan for and provide approved facilities, then enforce regulations and rules.

The Radiation Safety Office implements Radiation Safety Committee policies and procedures. It is staffed with professional health physicists, qualified technicians, and support personnel. Radiation Safety Office personnel are available for information about safe uses of radiation sources, procurement, waste disposal, transfer of sources, exposure measurements, record keeping, environmental assessments, licensing, and regulations. The office maintains a Web page at www.radsafe.pitt.edu, which contains key manuals, news, application forms, etc. The Radiation Safety Office is located in Room G7, Graduate School of Public Health, telephone 412-624-2728, or email RSO@radsafe.pitt.edu.

Recycling

The University has implemented a campus-wide recycling program and asks all staff members to fully participate. Doing so not only helps to preserve the environment, but also produces revenue for the University. Materials are collected in desk-side or hallway containers and include white and colored paper, cardboard, plastic and glass beverage bottles, and aluminum beverage cans. For further information on services provided by Facilities Management, call 412-624-9500 or www.facmgmt.pitt.edu.

Reference Checks

It is the usual policy of the University to check employment history and references of job candidates, both internal and external. Background checks in appropriate cases may include criminal history, motor vehicle history, credit history, and other records. For some occupations, the University is required by law to ask prior employers for certain information. In the event of a proposed internal transfer of a current staff member or rehire of a former staff member, before an offer of employment can be made it is necessary to document that a reference was obtained from a supervisor in the candidate’s most recent University department–preferably the candidate’s immediate supervisor–who is reasonably familiar with the candidate’s work performance.

Research Integrity

All members of the University community who participate in research projects must adhere to the highest standards of integrity in research. In addition to traditional University standards, federal regulations now impose strict policies and procedures on the University for dealing with possible research misconduct. A valuable guide to research ethics is the University’s Guidelines for Ethical Practices in Research. Allegations of possible violations of research ethics are investigated and, if wrongdoing is found, sanctioned under the procedures described in the University’s Research Integrity Policy (11-01-01). Both of these documents may be obtained at www.pitt.edu/~provost/ethresearch.html and www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/11/11-01-01.html, respectively, or from the University’s research integrity officer (412-624-3007), who is also available to answer questions about the interpretation or application of research standards.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is prohibited in all University-owned and leased facilities and in all University vehicles. See Policy 04-05-03.

Staff Recognition

The Office of Human Resources sponsors an annual recognition ceremony in honor of staff who have completed certain levels of years of service at the University. Honored staff receive a certificate and a University-related gift. Recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Staff also are recognized annually.

Staff Responsibility

You are expected to adhere to University policies as well as city, state, and federal laws. Furthermore, you are expected to demonstrate respect and sensitivity toward colleagues, students, and the general public; report to work on time; maintain University and departmental confidentiality; and dress in an appropriate manner in the workplace, as determined by the departmental administrator.

Technology Help Desk

The Technology Help Desk, operated by Computing Services and Systems Development, serves as a single point of contact for all information technology services at the University. The Technology Help Desk is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer all information technology-related questions.

For more information, please call 412-624-HELP [4357] or visit www.technology.pitt.edu.

Travel and Business Expenses 

The University will reimburse you for approved and authorized expenses incurred while on University business and/or related travel when the expense is:

  • actual and reasonable;
  • necessary in the performance of University business;
  • supported by a valid proof of expense such as a cash or other original receipt, unless otherwise provided in the Travel and Business Expense Policy; and
  • in compliance with all the conditions established in the Travel and Business Expense Policy.

You may not use University funds to entertain fellow employees at lunches, holiday parties, or similar activities that are not directly related to University business or otherwise sanctioned by the appropriate University official. All airline, hotel, and car rental reservations must be made through a University-certified travel agency.

For details on the reimbursement of travel and business expenses, see Policy 05-07-01, contact the Office of Travel Management at 412-624-4433, or visit www.pts.pitt.edu/Travel/index.html.

University Marketing Communications

Official promotional publications for the University of Pittsburgh must be reviewed and approved by the Department of University Marketing Communications. All institutional identity stationery items–letterhead, envelopes, and business cards–must be provided by this department. All display and broadcast advertising should be cleared through the Department of University Marketing Communications. This department provides assistance in purchasing print space and airtime and in writing, editing, and designing promotional publications and advertisements. All printing paid for by the University must be coordinated through University Marketing Communications. For more information, call 412-624-0409. See Policy 08-01-01.

University Name, Titles, Seal, and Logos

University name, titles, seal, and logos, including letterhead stationery, may be used only for official business authorized by the University. When conducting University business over the telephone, you should identify yourself as a University staff member. See Policy 08-01-01.

Violent, Threatening and/or Intimidating Behavior

The University of Pittsburgh is committed to maintaining a safe workplace for all faculty, students, staff and visitors; physical violence and/or threatening behavior will not be tolerated. Violent, threatening, intimidating or other wrongful hostile behavior that occurs on property that is owned or controlled by the University, or that is otherwise connected to University employment, programs or interests (e.g., behavior during work-related business trips or that results in adverse media coverage) is strictly prohibited. Prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to, oral or written threats and/or intimidation, physical acts against persons or property, stalking and possession of weapons. Such behavior may result in criminal arrest and prosecution and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Purported joking or bantering intent will not excuse behaviors that could reasonably be perceived as prohibited.

Anyone witnessing any such behavior or the planning or preparation for such behavior should immediately notify the University Police Department at 412-624-2121; if a University staff member is involved please also notify the Office of Human Resources at 412-624-8138. The University is committed to promptly and thoroughly investigating reasonable complaints of violent, threatening and/or intimidating behavior. In addition, any individual who obtains a temporary or permanent Protection From Abuse Order or Restraining Order listing any University location as a protected area should provide a copy of the Order to the University Police Department.

Please note that the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program is a University benefit that is available to all Faculty and Staff members as a confidential resource to assist them with issues such as managing stress, family problems, issues in a relationship, resolving conflicts and a variety of other concerns.

Visitors to Labs and Shops (Including Minors)

As an extension of its educational responsibilities, the University of Pittsburgh allows and encourages community representatives, members of the public, and students to visit University facilities. However, because of safety and liability issues, visitations by such groups and individuals to laboratories and shops must be under the direct supervision of an authorized faculty or staff member, or part of a formally organized open house, guided tour, or supervised educational program.

Children are not authorized to visit laboratories and shops, except as a participant in a formally sponsored tour or educational program with permission of an informed parent or guardian, or with parental permission and as the guest and under the supervision of a University student or faculty or staff member. At no time should children be permitted to use or be exposed to unreasonable hazardous chemicals or materials or dangerous procedures during their visit.

Children of University students, faculty, and staff members are not authorized to be in laboratories or shops on either an attended or unattended child care basis. For the purpose of these guidelines, “children” refers to minors under 18 years of age who are not students or employees of the University.

The organization unit chair/director, shop supervisor, or laboratory principal investigator bears primary responsibility for ensuring that University students, faculty, and staff members under their direction are aware of and adhere to these guidelines.

Weapons and Dangerous Substances

The use, possession, or manufacture on any University property of firearms, explosives, weapons, or other dangerous articles or substances that may be injurious to persons or property is strictly prohibited without University authorization. Any violation will result in disciplinary action up to and including filing criminal charges and/or termination of employment.

Web Communications

The Department of University Marketing Communications’ Web Team maintains the University’s institutional Web pages and offers custom Web solutions to all official academic and administrative units of the University community. The Department of University Marketing Communications’ Web Team ensures that the websites of official academic and administrative units reach their full potential, are produced economically, and reflect the excellence of each school, program, or department. For more information call 412-624-0409.

Whistleblower Laws 

The “Whistleblower Law” of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prohibits an “employer” from discharging, threatening, or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee regarding the employee’s terms and conditions of employment because the employee makes or is about to make a good faith report, orally or in writing, to the employer or appropriate governmental authority about an instance of “wrongdoing” or “waste.”

An employee alleging a violation of this Act must show by a preponderance of the    evidence that, prior to the alleged reprisal, the employee or person acting on behalf of the employee had reported or was about to report in good faith, orally or in writing, an instance of wrongdoing or waste to the employer or an appropriate authority. There is no violation if the action by the employer occurred for separate and legitimate reasons. The terms “wrongdoing” and “waste” are defined in the Act as follows:

Wrongdoing —A violation that is not of a merely technical or minimal nature of a federal or state statute or regulation, of a political subdivision ordinance or regulation, or of a code of conduct or ethics designed to protect the interest of the public or the employer

Waste— An employer’s conduct or omissions that result in substantial abuse, misuse,      destruction, or loss of funds or resources belonging to or derived from commonwealth or political subdivision sources

Federal law also prohibits reprisals against an employee of an employer receiving Federal contracts, subcontracts  or grants for disclosing to a “person” or “body” what the employee reasonably believes is evidence of:  gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant; gross waste of Federal funds; abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant; a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or a violation of law, rule or regulation related to a Federal contract or grant. (US Code Title 41, Chapter 47 available at http://uscode.house.gov/browse/&edition=prelim). 

“Person” or “body” is defined as: a Member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress; an Inspector General; The Government Accountability Office; a Federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency; an authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency; a court or grand jury; or a management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor or grantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover or address misconduct. 

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a legal remedy that covers medical expenses and wage loss for employees who have been injured in the course and scope of their employment. You must report any work-related injury or illness to your supervisor immediately and call 1-800-633-1197 to report your injury directly to the University’s third-party claims administrator. All employee work injuries/illnesses should be reported within 24 hours from the time a claim/incident occurs. If you are medically unable to report your claim, your supervisor should call the 1-800 number to report on your behalf. If you sustain on-the-job injuries or illnesses, you are required to seek treatment by a University-approved medical provider for the first 90 days of treatment.

For a list of the approved medical providers and other important information, please see our website at www.cfo.pitt.edu/wc.