On the Job

On the Job

If you have any questions, problems, or concerns while you are employed at the university, contact your supervisor first. Your supervisor is a source of information and usually can resolve your concerns.


Every employee has an obligation to maintain regular and reasonable attendance as a condition of employment. Your supervisor will explain your work hours. You may be required to maintain very rigorous and specified hours, or you may have a more flexible work schedule based on the work needs of your department. You may also be allowed to work an alternative work schedule such as a ten-hour shift or a "job sharing" situation. Whatever schedule you are assigned, be assured it is designed to meet the needs of your department and the university.

The university recognizes that there may be certain infrequent circumstances that might prevent you from being at work. In those cases, it is imperative that you notify your supervisor as soon as possible, prior to your regularly scheduled starting time. You should tell your supervisor why you cannot be at work and when you expect to be back.

Whatever your schedule, the university is depending on you to be at work when you are scheduled. (SPG 201.67)

Breaks and Lunches

Under normal circumstances, full-time employees are entitled to a lunch period in the middle of their shift. Lunch periods are usually one hour long and unpaid. In some departments, a half-hour lunch period is the standard; in some cases, employees are entitled to a 20-minute paid lunch period. Your supervisor will inform you about the policy in your department and instruct you to take your lunch period at a time when your work schedule permits.

In addition to lunch periods, you may take a rest period (break) of fifteen (15) minutes for each four-hour period of work. Rest periods may be taken as time and your work schedule permits, though in some departments they are scheduled. Rest periods should not disrupt the normal flow and efficiency of your department. Your supervisor will try to ensure that you receive appropriate rest periods, but in some cases they must be foregone to accomplish the work schedule. Rest periods are not cumulative; they cannot be used to extend lunch breaks, to cover for late arrivals, or to leave work early. (SPG 201.31, 201.52)

Mediation Services

Mediation assistance is available to any non-bargained-for staff member (bargained-for staff members are welcome to call for consultation or referral). This service is a confidential and informal channel for addressing workplace concerns and for exploring non-adversarial problem solving.

In an individual consultation, the mediator helps you explore the concern off the record and think through alternatives for resolving it.

Mediation is a voluntary early-stage effort to avoid or resolve a workplace dispute. At your request, a professionally trained neutral mediator will assist disagreeing parties in confidentially expressing needs, identifying issues and exploring possible solutions. The goal of mediation is to find a mutually acceptable solution to an existing problem and to rebuild or improve the working relationship. Even when a problem cannot be completely resolved, mediation can result in improved understanding. When attempted mediation does not seem to be helping, either party may end the attempt without penalty at any time. If no agreement is reached, all other channels remain available.

For a consulting appointment or for further information, call Mediation Services at (734) 615-4789 or visit them online.

Disciplinary Action

As a university staff member, you are expected to maintain a standard of performance and conduct that does not interfere with or adversely affect the orderly and efficient operation of the university. This includes any violation of rules and regulations or unsatisfactory work performance that is caused by other than a lack of capacity or ability, and off-duty behavior which adversely affects the employment relationship. When you do not observe this standard, your supervisor may initiate correction through oral warning, issue you a written reprimand, give you disciplinary time off, or discharge you. The severity of the discipline depends upon the nature of your misconduct and your previous discipline record. Disciplinary time off or discharge may result from a single act of serious misconduct or from repeated but less serious acts of misconduct. There is no requirement that discharge be preceded by any other disciplinary action.

In cases where a discharge is contemplated, you will be given an opportunity to respond. The extent of any discipline is based on the facts and your response.

Certain staff may be employed under specific terms of a contract under which they serve at the pleasure of the university. In these cases, the terms of such individual employment agreements will apply. (SPG 201.12)

Drug-Free Workplace

The University of Michigan provides a drug-free workplace and environment. In this connection, the university prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of any controlled substance in the workplace. The term "controlled substance" means a controlled substance in schedules I through V of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812). The term "controlled substance" refers to all illegal drugs and to legal drugs used without a physician's order. It does not prohibit taking prescribed medication under the direction of a physician. Those individuals who are found to be in violation of this policy are engaged in serious misconduct and subject to disciplinary action.

All university faculty and staff members will, as a condition of their employment, abide by the terms of this statement. In addition, those faculty and staff members engaged in the performance of a federal grant or contract will notify their university supervisor or department head of any criminal drug statute conviction in the workplace no later than five (5) days after such conviction. The supervisor will then inform the Office of the General Counsel.

The university has long recognized that a faculty or staff member who has a drug problem may be rehabilitated. The university has established programs to assist those with drug problems and encourages individuals to seek help. Individuals may contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at (734) 936-8660 or UMHS Employee Assistance Program at (734) 763-5409 to seek a confidential evaluation and opportunity for rehabilitation for any type of drug problem.

We are committed to continuing our efforts to increase awareness within the university community about the dangers of drugs, and we ask for your help and support in combating this important social problem.

Ethics and Compliance

We live and work in a highly regulated environment. Federal and state privacy laws protect the privacy of identifiable student, consumer, and health care information. Intellectual property laws protect the contributions we make to science and learning. Research laws and related accreditation standards impose a broad range of requirements for protecting individuals who volunteer to participate in clinical trials and other studies. Occupational health and safety laws are designed to protect workers from on-the-job hazards. And federal fraud and abuse laws seek to promote efficiency and avoid waste in federally funded programs, such as health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and research programs supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Although compliance programs are seen by many as cumbersome, time-consuming, bureaucratic efforts in paperwork production, the truth is, compliance programs serve many important functions - for our patients and customers, our trainees and students, our faculty and staff, our financial resources and even our research ideas. In the U-M Health System, these programs help ensure that our facilities meet federal safety regulations, our health care providers are properly trained, patients participating in research are protected, and our vendors do not improperly influence our purchasing decisions.

Detailed information about the U-M Health System's compliance program is available on the web to all U-M faculty and staff. In addition to details on the various areas of compliance that are relevant to health care, the site lists contact information for compliance officers, provides links to relevant policies and procedures, and describes educational requirements for workforce members.

One area of particular importance for U-M health care providers relates to federal and state laws concerning false claims and false statements. Detailed information about these laws and related institutional policies designed to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse is available on the UMHS Compliance website. Briefly, these laws prohibit the university from making false claims or false statements to secure federal or state support, require the university to educate its workforce to promote compliance, impose various monitoring and enforcement obligations, and provide whistleblower protection to individuals who come forward to advise the university of problems.

Grievance Procedure

You are entitled to initiate a grievance on matters directly associated with your employment relationship with the university or enter into a dispute resolution process to facilitate resolving misunderstandings and maintain positive work relationships.

A representative from Staff HR Services or Health System HR Services can provide guidance concerning the grievance procedure. (SPG 201.08)

Performance Evaluations

Performance evaluations allow supervisors to keep staff members apprised of their job performance. In some departments, performance evaluations are structured and formal, while in others they are not. Your supervisor should meet with you at least once a year to review your performance. Normally, your supervisor will summarize and discuss your abilities, contributions, strengths, ambitions, and any areas that need improvement. You may be evaluated more frequently. (SPG 201.41)

Personnel Records

Personnel files are maintained for different purposes in various administrative units throughout the university. Personnel files are governed by regulations established by the university, and you may ask to review your personnel file in the presence of a representative from Human Resources.

Personnel files in Human Resources Records and Information Services are available to members of the university administration when they are needed in fulfilling university functions. Personnel files or information from the files may be made available to individuals or agencies outside the university if such action legitimately serves the purposes of the university, or with the consent of the staff member. The university, through its administrative officers, will carefully weigh such requests before responding to them.

Requests for information from government agencies or other investigatory bodies resulting from complaints against the university are referred to the Office of the General Counsel. If disclosure of the staff member's file is required by subpoena, the staff member will be notified. (SPG 201.46)

Promotion and Transfer

Staff members are able to apply at their own initiative for positions for which they believe they are qualified. The individual who is best qualified for the open position will be selected. Following placement in an open position, a staff member need not be considered for another position for six months.

Sexual Assault

The University of Michigan is committed to creating a community free from violence. Sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence and stalking, as defined by State and Federal laws, will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of all university employees to maintain a safe work environment.

Survivors may report sexual assault to any of the following:

  • Department of Public Safety (911 or use the "blue light" emergency phones on campus)
  • Ann Arbor Police (911)
  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) Office (734-763-5865)
  • 24-Hour Crisis Line (734-936-3333)
  • Office of the Dean of Students (734-764-7420)
  • Office of the Judicial Advisor (734-936-6308)
  • Any university official

For more information regarding violence in the workplace, visit the university's Abuse Hurts website.

Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of the University of Michigan to maintain an academic and work environment free of sexual harassment for students, faculty, and staff. Sexual harassment is contrary to the standards of the university community. It diminishes individual dignity and impedes equal employment and educational opportunities and equal access to freedom of academic inquiry. Sexual harassment is a barrier to fulfilling the university's scholarly, research, educational, and service missions and will not be tolerated.

A claim under the policy may be brought by the university or by a faculty, staff or student member of the university community based on the conduct of any university employee. Complaints based on conduct by students who are not also employees of the university are addressed to the Student Code of Conduct, which is administered by the Office of Student Conflict Resolution.

Sexual harassment can be a very serious matter, having far-reaching effects on the lives and careers of individuals. Intentionally false accusations can have a similar impact. Thus, the charge of sexual harassment is not to be taken lightly by a charging party, an accused party, or any member of the university community. A person who knowingly and intentionally files a false complaint under this policy is subject to university discipline.

Sexual harassment most often occurs when one person has actual or apparent power or authority over another; however, it may also occur between individuals of equal status or rank within the university. Sexual harassment may occur between males and females and between persons of the same gender.

Romantic and sexual relationships between supervisor and employee or between faculty or other staff and a student are not expressly prohibited by university policy. However, even when both parties have consented to the development of such relationships, they can raise serious concerns about the validity of the consent, conflicts of interest, and unfair treatment of others. Similar concerns can be raised by consensual relationships between senior and junior faculty members.

The university's nepotism policy precludes individuals from evaluating the work performance of others with whom they have intimate, familial or close personal relationships, or from making hiring, salary or similar financial decisions concerning such persons, without prior written approval. The same principles apply to staff-student or faculty-student relationships in the context of work or academic evaluation. Thus, consensual romantic or sexual relationships between faculty or staff and students also require disclosure to the appropriate administrative supervisor so that arrangements can be made for objective evaluation and decision-making with regard to the student.

Romantic or sexual relationships with students which occur outside of the instructional or supervisory context may also lead to difficulties. The Senate Assembly has concluded, and the university concurs, that the asymmetry of the faculty-student relationship means that any sexual relationship between a faculty member and a student is potentially exploitative and should be avoided. Faculty and staff engaged in such relationships should be sensitive to the constant possibility that they may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility for the student's instruction or evaluation.

In the event of a charge of sexual harassment, the university will, in general, be unsympathetic to a defense based upon consent when the facts establish that a professional faculty-student, staff-student, or supervisor-employee power differential existed within the relationship.

The university encourages persons who believe that they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment to come forward promptly with their inquiries, reports, or complaints and to seek assistance within the university. Individuals also have the right to pursue a legal remedy for sexual harassment in addition to or instead of proceeding under this policy. (SPG 201.89) For further information, call the Office of Institutional Equity at (734) 763-1284 or visit them online.

Smoke-Free University

In our ongoing effort to create an environment that is healthy for all members of our community, the University of Michigan is a smoke-free university. For more information, visit the university's Smoke Free website.

Violence and Disruptive Behavior in the Workplace

Incidents of violence in the workplace are considered to be serious misconduct and will not be tolerated.

All university community members share the responsibility to maintain a climate of behavior that discourages violence, aggression or bullying behavior.

Bullying behavior is defined as a persistent pattern of negative behavior based upon a real or perceived power imbalance which belittles another member of the unit. Acts of violence and aggression include verbal or physical actions that are intended to create fear or apprehension of bodily harm or threaten the safety of others in our workplace. This could include actions by any member of the university community as well as incidents in personal lives that could affect the workplace.

Report any such acts of violence to your supervisor and/or department head; Staff HR Services at (734) 763-2387; Health System HR Services at (734) 647-2385; or the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP) at (734) 936-8660.

In the case of an emergency, contact the University of Michigan Police Department at 911 or (734) 763-1131 or text 377911.

For more information regarding violence in the workplace, visit the university's Abuse Hurts website.