“Let them give light to the world.”
Amherst College educates men and women of exceptional potential from all backgrounds so that they may seek, value, and advance knowledge, engage the world around them, and lead principled lives of consequence.
Amherst brings together the most promising students, whatever their financial need, in order to promote diversity of experience and ideas within a purposefully small residential community. Working with faculty, staff, and administrators dedicated to intellectual freedom and the highest standards of instruction in the liberal arts, Amherst undergraduates assume substantial responsibility for undertaking inquiry and for shaping their education within and beyond the curriculum.
Amherst College is committed to learning through close colloquy and to expanding the realm of knowledge through scholarly research and artistic creation at the highest level. Its graduates link learning with leadership—in service to the College, to their communities, and to the world beyond.
The purpose of this Handbook is to explain the College's general employment policies, salary administration program, leave provisions and benefit programs for regular staff employees. The Handbook is designed to provide guidance on our overall philosophy, operations and benefits. While it in no way represents an employment contract, it does serve as a vehicle to communicate the general guidelines and work rules under which you are employed. Employment with the College is on an at-will basis and can be terminated, at any time, at the option of either the employee or the College. The College reserves the right to amend, eliminate and modify these policies from time to time at its discretion without prior notice. As information is revised, updated materials will be distributed to you as soon as possible.
This Handbook supersedes the Staff Employment Handbook published in November 2003
Founded in 1821 as a non-sectarian institution, Amherst College today is an independent, undergraduate, residential, liberal arts college for men and women with a reputation for being one of the finest in the nation. Its approximately 1,600 students come from most of the 50 states and many foreign countries. Amherst is joined with Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts in a consortium that sponsors a variety of cooperative programs and enterprises. The goal of cooperation among the five colleges is to enrich the educational opportunities available to students by providing them with access to the resources of all five institutions.
The College has enjoyed a long and close association with the area and its residents, who have included such poets and writers as Emily Dickinson, Helen Hunt Jackson, David Grayson (Ray Stannard Baker) and Robert Frost. The beauty of the Pioneer Valley and it quality of life are matters of pride and commitment to the people of the College community.
The Trustees who oversee the welfare and development of the College also serve as Trustees of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., which houses a world-famous collection of books and manuscripts related to William Shakespeare and Shakespeare's era and the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA, which includes the Evergreens and the Homestead.
Amherst College has long premised its employment policies on the concept of equal opportunity, that is, the selection and promotion of employees on the basis of their intrinsic merits. This policy entails that there be no discrimination in selection, treatment and promotion on factors such as race, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, religion, national origin, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, membership in the uniformed services or veteran status.
The College is committed to equal employment and opportunity and the principles of affirmative action, and complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.
Respect for Persons
Respect for the rights, dignity and integrity of others is essential for the well being of a community. Actions by any person that do not reflect such respect for others are damaging to each member of the community and hence damaging to Amherst College. Each member of the community should be free from interference, intimidation or disparagement in the work place, the classroom and the social, recreational and residential environment.
Amherst College does not condone harassment of any kind, against any group or individual, because of race, color, religion, national origin, pregnancy and genetic testing, ethnic identification, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation. Such harassment is clearly in conflict with the interests of the College as an educational community and in many cases with provisions of law.
It is the goal of Amherst College to promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of employees occurring in the workplace or in other settings in which employees may find themselves in connection with their employment is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the College. Further, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or who has cooperated with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated.
To achieve the College's goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, inappropriate conduct described in this policy will be dealt with using the established informal and formal procedures of the College, including disciplinary action, where appropriate.
Amherst College takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously and will respond promptly to complaints. Where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, the College will act promptly to eliminate the conduct.
See the Appendix for the complete Sexual Harassment Policy.
Americans with Disabilities Act
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Amherst College will provide reasonable accommodations to an otherwise qualified applicant or employee with a disability to enable such person to perform essential job functions and/or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment, so long as such accommodation does not imposed an undue burden on the College.
To be eligible for reasonable accommodations under the ADA, an employee must have a "disability," as defined below, and must be qualified to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. A disability is defined under the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A disability also includes having a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing and standing.
If you think you need a reasonable accommodation for a permanent or temporary disability, please contact the Office of Human Resources. A representative from Human Resources will provide you an overview of the required documentation. This documentation should be completed by the employee and the employee’s medical provider. Once the completed documentation has been received, the Office of Human Resources will conduct an assessment of the documentation and the ability of the College to provide reasonable accommodations, and will guide the employee on next steps.
If you are a prospective employee or candidate and would like to learn about accessibility on Campus, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 413-542-2372, or the Department of Public Safety at 413-542-2291.
Regular or casual employment in Physical Plant or Dining Services is contingent upon the results of a post-offer medical examination arranged by the Office of Human Resources. Any other employee may be required to undergo a medical examination at the College's expense if it is in the interest of the College and consistent with business necessity.
Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)
Massachusetts General Law chapter 385 of the Acts of 2002 pertains to CORI access for agencies/employers whose employees commonly have access to children. The law applies to the College as we host summer camps and serve young students. Positions that have unsupervised access to student dorms, including residential counselors, network and telecommunications personnel and most physical plant employees are required to have CORI checks. In addition, employees who work in summer camps with, for example, responsibilities for transporting young children or attending to them during swim lessons and/or in locker rooms must also have CORI checks. Due to this accessibility, employees hired into these positions will be required to submit to a CORI check as a last step in the recruitment process. A candidate found to have been convicted of certain felonies may have their offer of employment rescinded or their request for transfer denied. An applicant whose employment has been denied as a result of a CORI, may appeal or dispute the result and/or hiring decision. Contact the Office of Human Resources for further details
According to federal law, all new employees and those rehired after a break of three years or more are required to present proof of identity and employment eligibility to the Office of Human Resources within three days after beginning employment. A list of acceptable documents is included in the Appendix.
It is College policy to acquaint new employees with their duties and make them feel a part of the College as quickly as possible.
It is the responsibility of the Office of Human Resources to provide an in-depth review of employment, salary and benefit policies to new employees. New employees should contact the Office of Human Resources during their first week of employment to complete payroll forms and arrange for an employment orientation. It is the responsibility of the immediate supervisor and department head to acquaint each employee with the job itself, and with individual work standards, performance evaluation policies, department policies and procedures, and to train new employees as necessary.
Employees who occupy positions that are determined to be exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act do not receive overtime pay. Employees in this classification are paid on the last working day of the month. During each fiscal year employees in this classification are required to report vacation and other absent time used.
Employees who occupy positions that are determined to be non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act are eligible for overtime for hours actually worked in excess of 40 hours during the College-defined work week or for work in excess of eight hours in a day. Employees in this classification are paid weekly and are required to complete weekly time reports.
Within the major employment categories defined above, employees are further designated as having either a regular or temporary (casual) appointment.
Employees are considered to have regular employment if (1) they hold a position that is part of the regular staff of their department (sometimes referred to as holding a "regular budgeted position within the department") and (2) at the time of hire there is no ending date to their employment in the position. Employees who occupy regular positions are entitled to benefits. Regular employment is at-will and may be terminated, at any time, at the option of either the employee or the College.
All new regular employees and any employee promoted or transferred to a new regular position will be considered on probationary status for a minimum of the first six months of employment. Interim performance reviews will usually occur at three months and, generally, a final probationary evaluation is expected just prior to completion of six months of service. The supervisor, with the approval of the Director of Human Resources, may provide an extension beyond six months to allow an employee and the department time to address performance issues. This period provides an opportunity for the new employee and the College to evaluate the employment relationship. The employee or the supervisor, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, may terminate employment during this period without notice if the employment situation proves to be less than satisfactory.
Employees on initial probation accrue vacation, floating holidays, sick/family care and excused days from the beginning of employment. Vacation leave is not available for use during the probationary period.
Probationary employees are paid for official College holidays that occur during the probationary period. Transfers to other departments generally do not occur during the probationary period.
An employee is considered to have casual employment if (1) the individual has been hired for a specific period of time, or (2) the individual occupies a temporary/casual position. Casual positions are defined as those which at the time they are established are not expected to be part of the regular staff of the department. Casual employees are not covered under the guidelines of the Handbook and are not entitled to employee benefits, with the exception of Workers Compensation Insurance and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). Typically, casual employees hold their positions as substitutes for employees on extended leave, to assist in completion of a special project or when there are delays in filling vacancies. Casual employees are usually employed for less than 20 hours per week. Casual employment is at-will and may be terminated, at any time, at the option of either the employee or the College.
The operation of the College requires varied annual work schedules based on the needs of each department. The following describes the usual annual work schedules:
Fiscal Year Schedule
Most employees in this category are expected to work 12 months. The College’s fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.
Academic Year Schedule
Employees on an academic year schedule work less than 12 months during a fiscal year but a minimum of 39 weeks, generally while the College is in session. The academic year is defined as beginning prior to the first day of classes in the fall and ending after Commencement.
Regular Full-Time Schedule
Most clerical/secretarial, administrative and technical positions have a regular schedule of at least 35 hours per week. However, some positions in these categories require schedules up to 40 hours per week. Physical Plant and Dining Services have a regular schedule of 40 hours per week. Full-time employees who work a minimum of 30 hours per week are eligible for full employer contributions for health and dental insurance. Other benefits such as Grant-In-Aid and Educational Assistance are prorated based on the scheduled hours worked relative to a full-time schedule for the applicable position. Compensation-related benefits are based on the eligible compensation received as defined by respective benefit plan. Academic year employees accrue paid leave on a prorated basis.
Regular Part-Time Schedule
Employees in this category work regular schedules of at least 20 hours but less than 30 hours in a work week and are entitled to most benefits on a prorated basis.
Employees working less than 20 hours a week or less than 39 weeks a year, or who hold casual positions, are not eligible for benefits.
The standard work week for most office employees consists of 7 hours per day, 5 days per week, or 35 hours. Most administrative offices of the College conduct business between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the academic year. Physical Plant and Dining Services employees normally work 40 hours per week. Their work will include week days and weekends either on a regular, seasonal or alternating basis. During the summer months, official business hours may be altered at the discretion of the department.
Employees who are unable to report for work or who will be delayed are responsible for personally notifying their immediate supervisor well in advance of the regularly scheduled starting time or, in an emergency situation, as soon as is practical. Each department head has the discretion of setting minimum notice requirements based on operational needs or requirements. Supervisors should notify the Office of Human Resources if an employee is absent without notice for three or more days. Employees who are absent due to illness for five or more consecutive work days will be required to submit a physician’s certification to the Office of Human Resources upon request.
In cases of continued, undocumented employee absence or tardiness, the immediate supervisor will issue a written warning to the employee with a copy to the Office of Human Resources. Further incidents of lateness or absence will be grounds for further disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
There is a daily unpaid lunch period, to be scheduled as determined by the needs of the office or department.
It is the general practice for the College to allow two 15-minute on campus rest or break periods (usually mid-morning and mid-afternoon) in the course of a workday. Rest periods are paid time and are scheduled by the department head in accordance with the needs of the department or office. Time allowed for rest and break periods is neither cumulative nor compensatory.
A regular employee’s seniority date is based on the length of continuous full-time service with the College since the most recent date of hire. For seniority purposes, regular part-time service that is continuous from the most recent date of hire is computed on the basis of full-time service i.e., two years of half-time service is equal to one year’s seniority.
A regular employee’s service date is based on total length of regular service with the College and may be adjusted to reflect interruptions of service.
Temporary or casual employees do not have service or seniority dates.
Regular full-time and part-time employees who work an academic year schedule and whose service therefore may be interrupted will receive notice that they should request a leave of absence without pay for such interrupted service in accordance with the leave of absence policy and will retain their seniority and service dates. If a leave of absence is not requested, nor granted, such interrupted service will be considered a layoff, and the employee will be separated from the College unless a temporary appointment to another position can be effected by the Office of Human Resources.
Employees who leave the College and are rehired within five (5) years of the employment termination date will be credited with previous service upon the rehire date. Employees returning after more than five (5) years will begin employment as a new employee, without credit for previous service.
It is essential that all employees accept personal responsibility for maintaining high standards of conduct and job performance, including the observance of College rules and policies.
In dealing with deficiencies in conduct and work performance, the College tries to be fair and consistent in its treatment of employees. Many factors are taken into consideration if it becomes necessary to discipline an employee, including the nature and seriousness of the offense, the employee's past record, the total impact on the employee's department and on the College, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
Rules of Behavior
The following are examples of infractions of rules of conduct that may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. This is not an exhaustive list.
- Theft or any unauthorized possession, removal or attempted removal of College property or the property of other employees.
- Falsification of job application, résumé, time sheet or any other personnel document.
- Violation of the College's substance abuse or drug-free workplace policy.
- Gambling on College premises or while on working time, whether on or off College premises.
- Fighting or threatening violence in the workplace.
- Threatening, intimidating or coercive behavior, abusive or vulgar language or any other language or conduct that interferes with the performance of other employees.
- Disruptive activity in the workplace.
- Violation of the sexual harassment and/or respect for persons policies.
- Possession of a weapon or any other unauthorized item, such as firecrackers, that could pose a risk to the safety of others.
- Excessive absenteeism or absence of three days or more without notice.
- Insubordination (including, for example, any refusal to comply with instructions or to carry out work assignments) or lack of cooperation, whether in language or conduct.
- Unauthorized use of College materials, time, equipment or other property.
- Violation of College or departmental policies.
Disciplinary Action Policy
In general, discipline for employees is applied in progressive steps as follows:
- Oral warning
- Written warning
- Final written warning, suspension and/or disciplinary probation
- Termination of employment
The nature of the offense and the particular circumstances determine whether or not all or any of the steps in the above sequence are followed. Disciplinary steps may be omitted or repeated, as the College determines appropriate.
The purpose of disciplinary measures short of termination is corrective, to encourage employees to improve their conduct or performance so that they may continue their employment with the College. The College expects all employees to behave in a mature and responsible manner and to perform their jobs conscientiously, without the need of disciplinary action. These corrective disciplinary measures will not apply in the event of any offense that the College determines to warrant immediate termination of employment or in other circumstances when the College determines that corrective measures would be ineffectual or otherwise inappropriate.
If an employee is given an oral warning, the employee is informed of the warning by his or her manager. The warning is also recorded by the manager in writing and the record is placed in the employee's personnel file.
If an employee is issued a written warning or a final written warning, the manager will meet with the employee to discuss the disciplinary action and the employee will be asked to sign the warning. The employee's signature is only an acknowledgment that the employee has been informed of the warning; it does not indicate agreement with the warning. All written warnings are retained in the employee's file.
An employee may be placed on disciplinary probation for unsatisfactory performance or conduct. An employee placed on disciplinary probation will be given a written notice of probation, which generally provides an explanation of the reason for the action, the length of the probationary period and a plan of corrective action to be successfully completed during the period. The employee's manager will meet with the employee to discuss the terms of the disciplinary probation, and the employee will be asked to sign the notice of probation as an acknowledgment that the employee has been informed of the action. A copy of the notice is retained in the employee's personnel file.
At the conclusion of the probationary period, and from time to time during the period, as appropriate, the employee's manager will meet with the employee to review his or her progress. An employee on disciplinary probation who does not show satisfactory improvement is subject to further disciplinary action at anytime, up to and including termination of employment.
A suspension from work may be appropriate when circumstances require an investigation and it does not appear practical or desirable or in the best interests of the College or of the employee for the employee to remain at work during that investigation. An investigative suspension is not itself a disciplinary measure. If, at the conclusion of the investigation, the investigative suspension is not converted to a disciplinary suspension or discharge, the employee will be reinstated and will be paid at his or her normal straight-time rate for all regularly scheduled work missed during the suspension.
A disciplinary suspension is a suspension from work without pay for one or more days for a repeated or serious infraction of College rules or policies. A record of the suspension is retained in the employee's personnel file.
Misconduct During the Probation Period
The disciplinary action policy is not normally applied to new employees during the probationary period. Unsatisfactory performance or any infraction of College rules or policies or other misconduct during this period may result in immediate termination of employment. Probationary employees are not eligible to use the grievance procedure.
Amherst College recognizes substance abuse as a widespread problem that not only can seriously affect an individual's work performance but may also pose potential health, safety and security risks. Our policy, as stated below, is designed to provide a drug-free, healthy, safe and secure work environment.
The intent of this policy is to establish and maintain effective methods for providing assistance to all personnel who have impairments of varying natures due to drug and alcohol abuse and dependence and to provide a healthy, safe and productive working environment at the College.
The possession, transfer, sale or use of alcohol or substances of abuse, legal or illegal, while on College premises or during work hours or while on College business, is prohibited except as specifically permitted by this policy. The condition of being under the influence of such substances is also prohibited.
For purposes of this policy, substances of abuse include over-the-counter medications, prescribed medication not used as indicated or prescribed, illegal drugs, chemical substances not used for their intended purpose and any alcoholic beverages.
The following are exceptions:
- The use of prescription drugs or other medications in the manner, quantity or combination prescribed is not prohibited by this policy.
- Alcoholic beverages may be served at College functions, but the provisions of this policy otherwise apply to such functions.
- When prescribed or over-the-counter drugs may affect behavior and/or performance, employees should advise their supervisors that they are taking such drugs for medical reasons, and reasonable accommodations will be made which are in the best interest of the employee and the College.
Anyone who observes any sale or use of drugs or alcohol on College premises or during work hours or while on College business is to report such an instance immediately to their supervisor or another manager.
In the event an employee appears to be unfit for work, the supervisor will attempt to verify his or her observation(s) with another manager; however, a supervisor may remove an employee from the workplace if health, safety or similar considerations warrant such action.
The College recognizes that alcohol and/or substance abuse may occur as a result of a physical or psychological dependency on alcohol or chemical substances. In such cases, the purpose of a disciplinary action may be to correct a possible problem and to motivate the employee to seek or accept help as appropriate, and referral to a rehabilitation or employee assistance program may be required of the employee. An employee's failure or refusal to participate in a rehabilitation or employee assistance program following referral to such a program by the College will subject the employee to termination of employment.
Where there is a reasonable belief that a violation of this policy has occurred, the College reserves the right to conduct searches of desks, lockers and other employee areas. Failure or refusal to permit a requested search may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Law enforcement officials may be notified when appropriate.
Any person who violates the Drug and Alcohol Policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Any person who violates any criminal laws in connection with the distribution or use of illegal drugs shall be subject to discipline or other action by Amherst College.
Also see the Drug Free Schools and Community Act Policy in the Appendix.
A voluntary termination of employment is a termination initiated by the employee. A voluntary termination may occur:
- by written resignation;
- as a result of an absence from work for three or more consecutive work days without notifying the College, barring any unusual circumstances that preclude timely notification to the immediate supervisor or department; or
- as a result of a failure to return to work at the expiration of an approved leave of absence or any extension of leave granted by the College.
In some cases, the College may accept an employee's resignation effective immediately or as of another date prior to the end of the notice period. In those cases, the College will compensate the employee at his or her straight-time rate of pay for the notice period (or for any remaining portion of the period) to a maximum of two week's pay (in the case of a non-exempt employee) or four week's pay (in the case of an exempt employee), unless the employee's resignation is accepted early due to the employee's poor conduct or performance during the notice period.
The retirement policy of the College is consistent with federal law. There is no established mandatory retirement age.
Employees wishing to discuss retirement options should begin discussion with the Office of Human Resources at least three months before their projected retirement date.
An involuntary termination is any termination of employment initiated by the College. An involuntary termination may occur as a result of an employee's unsatisfactory job performance or misconduct, or it may result from other reasons or circumstances, such as a reduction in staff.
Reduction in Force
Should circumstances occur that require a reduction in force, criteria used to determine which employees to retain include, in the following order: (1) operational needs of the College, (2) demonstrated ability, and (3) seniority. Seniority may take precedence when the demonstrated ability to perform required tasks is determined to be equal by the College. The determination of qualifications and ability will be made by the College.
Separation Interview and Final Pay
If an employee leaves employment with the College through resignation or retirement, or because of an involuntary termination, he or she is encouraged to schedule a termination interview with the Office of Human Resources. During this meeting, the employee will be informed of any termination benefits to which he or she may be entitled and any continuing obligations he or she may have, such as loans. Keys, books, ID cards, laptops, cell phones, Dining Service uniforms and other College property must be returned at this time.
In cases of an involuntary termination, final pay is issued on the date of termination. In cases of voluntary termination or retirement, final paychecks will usually be issued on the next regular payday and mailed to the employee's home. Final pay includes payment for all hours worked since the employee's last payday and payment for any earned but unused vacation time. Final pay is reduced by taxes and other required legal deductions, authorized deductions (such as employee contributions to the premium cost of the group health plan) and the outstanding balance of any advance of salary (including vacation) or loan. Upon separation from employment, all debts payable to the College must be settled.
Amherst College protects the privacy of its employees by restricting personnel data to that needed for business purposes, by limiting internal access of personnel data to those with a need to know, and by releasing information from the personnel files externally only with the employee’s consent or to meet legal or contractual requirements. If an employee wishes to see his or her personnel file, an appointment or written request should be made with the Office of Human Resources.
For purposes of payroll, insurance coverage, mailings and emergency contacts, all changes in name, address, telephone, dependents, marital status, etc. should be reported to the Office of Human Resources as soon as possible.
Non-exempt employees are paid weekly and are generally paid each Friday for work performed during the previous week ending on Saturday. Exempt employees are paid monthly on the last business day of the month.
Federal law requires that time records be maintained for non-exempt employees. Actual hours worked are recorded by the employee and certified by the immediate supervisor. Individual departments maintain records for non-exempt and exempt employees on such matters as attendance, vacation eligibility and sick/family care days. Exempt employees' accrued time records are forwarded to the Office of Human Resources after the end of each fiscal year or upon termination of employment.
The following are required federal and state payroll deductions:
Federal Withholding Tax
This deduction is computed from Internal Revenue tax tables, based on marital status and the number of exemptions claimed on Form W-4. If an employee wishes to change the number of exemptions, Form W-4 is available in the Office of Human Resources and on the Human Resources website under Commonly Used Forms, Form W-4.
Social Security and Medicare Tax (FICA)
The deductions for Social Security tax and Medicare tax are computed at the rate prescribed by law and are matched by the College.
Massachusetts Withholding Tax
This deduction is computed from wage-bracket tables on the number of exemptions claimed on Form M-4. If an employee wishes to change the number of exemptions, Form M-4 is available in the Office of Human Resources and on the Human Resources website under Commonly Used Forms, Form M-4.
The following are optional deductions:
Amherst College Retirement Plan
Eligible participants may elect to make basic contributions to the Retirement Plan as either a pre-tax or after-tax deduction from their paychecks. Employees may also elect to have supplemental pre-tax contributions deducted. (Elected amounts must be within prescribed federal tax deferred annuity limits.)
Employees who elect additional life insurance and/or dependent insurance coverage will have a deduction taken at each pay period.
Establishment of a reimbursement account for out-of-pocket medical/dental or dependent care expenses may be arranged through payroll deduction at the time of hire or each year during the annual open enrollment period. You may also elect to pay your share of medical and dental premiums on a pre-tax basis.
Direct Deposit Banking
Checks may be automatically deposited in most banks and credit unions.
Regular payroll deductions will occur for employees who have taken advantage of the computer loan program. (See College Facilities and Services)
Regular employees may use their ID cards to charge meals against their pay at any of the dining facilities. Charges will be deducted from their pay.
Other deductions may be allowed from time to time, such as United Way.
It may be necessary for the College to require an employee to work in excess of 40 hours in a week (or more than eight hours in a day). When this happens, time and one-half the straight time hourly rate will be paid to regular, non-exempt employees for overtime hours worked.
The supervisor is responsible for assessing the need for overtime and will try to accommodate those employees who, for personal reasons, have difficulty complying with an overtime request, subject to the minimum operating requirements of the department.
For non-exempt employees compensatory time off at time and one-half in lieu of pay for overtime may be allowed at the discretion of the supervisor. Such compensatory time must be taken during the same pay period in which the overtime occurred, in accordance with applicable state and federal law. The College-defined work week is Sunday through Saturday.
Holiday pay for officially designated College holidays (floating holidays are excluded) is included in the calculation of overtime. All other leaves used during the work week are not included as hours worked for purposes of overtime calculation.
The calculation of overtime during an emergency which necessitates the College to either not open for an entire day, close early, or have a delayed opening, will be as follows:
Non-exempt regular and casual employees who are required to work during any of the times mentioned above will be paid as follows. The first 8 hours will follow our current policy of paying the employee double time for all hours worked up to 8 per day.
Please use the following codes:
- The first 8 hours of actual work time will be entered on the employee’s time sheet as hours worked using the "O" for other time allowed.
- The first 8 hours of actual work time will also be entered on the employee’s time sheet as "ON" for overtime at standard rate.
- All hours worked in excess of 8 will be entered on the employees time sheet as hours worked using the "OT" code.
- All hours worked in excess of 8 will also be entered on the employee’s time sheet using the "ON" code.
The following is an example of how this will be calculated. John Smith works 14 hours during a day when the College is closed due to a snow emergency. His normal rate of pay is $15.00 per hour.
- His first 8 hours are paid at double time (8 R/regular and 8 O/snow time).
- $15.00 X 8 O/regular = $120.00
- $15.00 x 8 ON/snow = $120.00
- His 6 hours of overtime are paid at the rate of double time and a half his hourly rate of $15.00.
- $15.00 @ 1.5 OT or $22.50 x 6 hours= $135.00
- $15.00 x 6 hours ON/snow = $90.00
$120.00 + 120.00 + 135.00 + 90.00 = $465.00
Non-exempt employees assigned to night shift hours are entitled to a shift differential to be added to the normal pay rate for the position. Second shifts are those commencing at or after 3:00 p.m. and prior to 11:00 p.m. Third shift begins after 11:00 p.m. but no later than 3:00 a.m. Employees who work split-shift hours are not eligible for a shift differential. Employees regularly assigned to second or third shifts are entitled to differential pay adjustments for overtime hours worked and for vacation, holiday, sick/family care and excused time.
Non-exempt employees who have completed their regularly scheduled workdays and left the premises and then are called back for emergency work will be paid at the rate of one and one-half times the straight-time hourly rate for any hours worked on a call-back basis. Employees will receive a minimum of four hours pay. The employees will also be paid mileage, at the current College rate, for distances in excess of 10 miles per round trip.
Employees required to work three or more hours beyond their normally scheduled workday will be provided a meal at Valentine Hall or the Snack Bar. Alternatively, they may receive a $4 meal allowance in lieu of the meal. The time taken for a meal is not considered time worked for the purpose of computing overtime pay.
Food service personnel are eligible for meals on campus in accordance with scheduled practices of that department.
In any organization, there will occasionally be conflicts and misunderstandings that require clarification or resolution. Amherst College believes that the best way to resolve problems is to address them fully and fairly. To that end, employees are encouraged to immediately discuss with their supervisor, department head or chair any problem or perceived unfair treatment.
However, if such informal methods do not resolve the problem, a formal, four-step grievance procedure is available. The issues which may be addressed in the procedure are the interpretation and application of the provisions of the handbook, disciplinary actions, terminations, any type of discrimination, and matters related to environmental and work safety conditions at the College.
Regular performance reviews are not subject to the grievance procedure. If there is a question as to whether a particular matter is subject to this procedure, the determination will be made by the Director of Human Resources.
Regular employees may use all four steps of the grievance procedure; only Step One is available to probationary employees. Procedures for grievances involving discrimination or harassment are explained in Step Two below. Procedures for grievances involving termination of employment are explained in Step Three.
An employee shall not be penalized for using or participating in the grievance procedure in good faith. If a grievance is directed at an individual who is assigned to consider a grievance or appeal under this procedure, the employee may file the grievance or appeal at the next higher step in the procedure.
Step One: Department Supervisor or Chairperson
If informal procedures are not effective in resolving an issue with an immediate supervisor, the employee must, within 10 working days of the event or occurrence which is the subject of the grievance, present the grievance in writing to the department supervisor or chairperson. Failure to file the grievance within the required time limit shall mean that the employee is barred from proceeding further with the grievance. Grievances filed due to sexual harassment are not subject to this 10-day limit.
The department supervisor or chairperson may (but is not required to) meet with the parties involved, including the grievant and any witnesses, to investigate the complaint. He or she will issue a written response to the grievant within 10 days of the filing of the grievance.
Step Two: Chief Human Resources Officer
If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of the grievance at Step One, he or she may appeal in writing to the Chief Human Resources Officer within five working days of receipt of the decision by the department supervisor or chairperson. If the department supervisor or chairperson fails to issue a response within 10 working days, the grievant may immediately appeal to the Chief Human Resources Officer. Failure to file the appeal within the required time limit shall mean that the grievant is barred from proceeding further.
The Chief Human Resources Officer shall try to resolve the matter through the use of fact finding and information gathering, including interviewing the principal parties involved in the matter and any relevant witnesses. The Chief Human Resources Officer shall issue a written decision on the matter within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal.
If the grievance involves alleged discriminatory or harassing treatment of the employee, the College's Special Assistant to the President for Diversity will be involved at Step Two. In such case the Chief Human Resources Officer and the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity shall jointly try to resolve the matter and shall issue a written decision within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. If the grievance involves alleged sexual harassment the employee should use the College's Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedure.
Step Three: Senior Administrative Officer
If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of the grievance at Step Two, he or she may file an appeal in writing to the appropriate senior administrative officer of the College within five working days of receipt of the Step Two decision. Failure to file the appeal within the required time limit shall mean that the grievant is barred from proceeding further. For purposes of this provision, the senior administrative officers of the College are the Dean of Faculty, the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Advancement Officer, the Dean of Students, and the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid. Any appeal at this step should be directed to the officer responsible for the department in which the grievant is employed. When the grievant's responsibilities cross departmental or divisional lines, the Chief Human Resources Officer shall decide to which administrative officer the appeal should be directed.
The senior administrative officer shall review the substance of the grievance, including the information gathered at the Step Two appeal, and at his or her discretion may (but is not required to) meet with the principal parties and relevant witnesses. The officer shall issue a written response to the grievant within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. Except for grievances involving the termination of employment, the decision of the senior administrative officer shall be final.
Grievances of Employment Termination: An employee who wishes to grieve a decision by the College to terminate his or her employment may initiate a grievance immediately at Step Three. The senior administrative officer will hear the matter and, at his or her discretion, may choose to appoint a three-member panel to hear the facts and offer opinion as to the merits of the grievance. That panel shall be made up of three non-faculty employees, one appointed by the Chief Human Resources Officer, one appointed by the senior administrative officer and the third selected by the other two so appointed. Any opinion issued by this panel shall be deemed advisory only.
Mediation: With the consent of the grievant, the senior administrative officer may refer the matter to mediation prior to deciding the matter. The mediator shall be selected by the College and shall conduct and conclude the mediation within 30 days. If resolution of the matter is not achieved by that time, the mediator will be dismissed and the senior administrative officer shall proceed with a decision on the matter.
Step Four: President of the College
If a grievance involving the termination of employment is not resolved to the satisfaction of the grievant at Step Three, he or she may file an appeal in writing to the President of the College within five working days of receipt of the Step Three decision. Failure to file the appeal within the required time limit shall mean that the grievant is barred from proceeding further. The president shall review the prior record of the grievance and in his or her discretion may (but is not required to) meet with the principal parties and relevant witnesses. The president shall issue a decision to the grievant in writing within 20 working days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the president shall be final.
The classification and compensation plan at Amherst College is designed to achieve the following objectives:
- provide for the continued retention and attraction of competent employees
- enhance employee's motivation to perform effectively
- assist in compliance with federal regulation and diversity goals
- assure equitable salary administration throughout the College
- provide guidelines for salary recommendations
- include a salary grade schedule tailored to the needs and organization of the College.
Every regular staff position has a job description (prepared and approved by the supervisor and department head) to communicate information about the duties, responsibilities and minimum qualifications for the position. Employees are given a copy of their job description to ensure they understand their job responsibilities. Each job title is assigned a salary grade through the use of a point-count evaluation method that consistently applies the following eight well-defined factors to each position:
- Personal Interaction
- Physical Demands
- Information Technology
- Decision Making
- Problem Solving
- Supervision Provided
The grade structure establishes position groupings which are judged, through the classification system, to be comparable in terms of the eight factors cited above.
Review of Position Descriptions and/or Grade Classifications
When an employee, supervisor or department head believes that changes in a job description are significant enough to warrant a review of the position, a new Job Description Questionnaire is prepared for review by the Office of Human Resources.
When a position becomes vacant, the department head is expected to review the current description before recruitment begins.
Each grade has a salary range with a minimum, midpoint and maximum dollar value. Salary ranges are reviewed by the Office of Human Resources annually and adjusted subject to labor market conditions.
Salary Administration and Salary Increases
Normally, employees are hired at or near the minimum of the salary range to which their positions have been assigned. Exceptional qualifications or experience, internal salary equity within a grade, or external prevailing wage may warrant a higher initial salary in some cases with prior approval by the department head and the Office of Human Resources.
Movement through the range is achieved through merit increase awards, which are contingent upon performance. These merit increases are payable on July 1. The size of the merit increase pool is determined by the Trustees during budget approval.
The range of awards for employees will be determined by a schedule developed annually, and based on merit rating category and individual salary placement in grade range.
Employees whose current salary exceeds the grade range maximum will not be eligible for an increase to their base pay until their salary moves back within the grade range or they move to a higher graded position and salary within the new grade range.
The Performance Management Process is one of the most important interactions between supervisors and employees. It assists in establishing mutual understandings of the responsibilities and the performance expectations associated with a position. It also provides a mechanism for employees to contribute to the achievement of Amherst College’s strategic goals and vision.
This process is also an opportunity to recognize accomplishments, highlight areas requiring improvement, and establish goals and development plans for the coming year. This ongoing process ends with a written record, which provides a basis for salary decisions.
The Performance Management Process has five components:
- Performance Evaluation
- Job Description
- Performance Plan
- Merit Program
- On-going Performance Dialogue
The success of this process depends on our mutual understanding and use of the performance management components as an opportunity to improve our job performance and to develop our full potential. A successful performance review involves ideas, questions, and open communication from all parties involved.
All evaluations are reviewed by the Director of Human Resources and are not considered final until that review has been completed.
Vacancies are announced in appropriate publications. An employee interested in an available position at the College should contact the Office of Human Resources for more information about the position and an evaluation of his or her qualifications. After this discussion, if the employee wishes to be considered formally for the position, the Office of Human Resources will refer the application for consideration. When and if serious consideration is being given the employee, the employee should notify his or her current supervisor of the possibility of a transfer.
A lateral transfer is a move to another position within the same salary grade. This transfer may be temporary or permanent and does not carry a salary adjustment.
A temporary transfer to a higher graded position for a specified period of time will carry an appropriate adjustment to be determined by the department head and the Director of Human Resources. An employee who is temporarily transferred for the first time to a higher graded position for more than five days will receive an increment in salary effective the sixth working day. The higher rate will prevail immediately for subsequent temporary transfers to the same position. An employee transferred permanently to a lower rated position will be paid at a rate mutually agreed upon by the department head and the Director of Human Resources.
A promotion occurs when an employee moves to a position with greater or substantially different responsibilities, which has a higher grade level and a new title.
A salary increase will be effected to at least the minimum of the new grade. Additional salary adjustment is subject to the approval of the department head and the Director of Human Resources, and will be made in consideration of their salary within the range and internal salary equity within the grade. No salary adjustment will be made if placement in grade is beyond the maximum of the new grade. There will be three month and six month performance reviews for newly promoted employees.
In cases of transfer and/or promotion of two or more employees who are of equal ability, as determined by the department head and the Director of Human Resources, seniority of the employee shall govern except when one of the employees is in the department in which the vacancy exists. In such cases, given equal abilities, preference will be given to the employee who is currently in the department. Since positions may require specialized training and experience, nothing herein will prevent the College from filling any vacancy by hire, by transfer, or by any other means.
This section provides an overview of the many benefits available to Amherst College employees. Complete and detailed information about insurance and retirement plans, as well as other benefit programs described in this handbook, is available in the Office of Human Resources. All employees are encouraged to seek advice or assistance whenever questions arise. When information on file in the Office of Human Resources varies from that contained in this handbook, the former will govern in all cases. The College reserves the right to add, change or eliminate any of these benefits, with or without notice.
Most College employees' regular schedules are 35 or 40 hours per week.
Full-time employees work a minimum of 30 hours per week and are eligible for full employer contributions for health and dental insurance. Other benefits such as Grant-In-Aid and Educational Assistance are prorated based on the scheduled hours worked compared to a full-time schedule in that position, for example 35 or 40 hours. Compensation-related benefits are based on the eligible compensation received as defined by the respective benefit plan. Academic year employees work a minimum of nine months and accrue paid leave on a prorated basis.
Employees who work a regular part-time schedule of at least 20 hours but less than 30 hours in a work week are entitled to most benefits on a prorated basis.
Employees working less than 20 hours a week or less than 39 weeks a year, or who hold casual positions, are not eligible for benefits.
An employee's retirement income may be derived from at least three sources:
the benefit received under the terms of the Amherst College retirement plans;
the benefit received through the Social Security Administration;
the income derived from personal saving and investment.
Amherst College Defined Contribution Retirement Plan
The Amherst College Defined Contribution Retirement Plan (the Plan) is a 403(b) defined contribution plan administered by the Teachers Insurance Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF).
All regular, full-time and part-time employees will participate in the Plan after two years of service and attainment of age 21. The waiting period may be waived in cases where the employee has satisfied the period through immediate prior employment at an educational institution. In addition, for employees hired on or after November 1, 1999, service credit will be given to anyone who has participated in a plan under Code Section 401(a) or Code Section 403(b) maintained by the employee's immediately preceding employer, provided that the employee was 1) employed by the prior employer within six months of the date of hire by Amherst and 2) was a covered participant in the employer's plan for at least two years and up to the time employment ended.
For eligible employees the College contributes Core contributions of 6% of base salary received up to a salary integration level, and 9% of base salary after the salary integration level has been exceeded during the fiscal year. This level of College contribution is made regardless of whether or not the employee contributes any funds to the Plan. If the eligible employee makes a Basic contribution of 1%, 2% or 3% of base salary to the plan, the College makes an equal Matching contribution.
The employee may elect to make Basic contributions on a before-tax or after-tax basis. All College contributions and earnings on investments are tax sheltered until benefits are received. Employees direct the investment of these contributions among the options offered by the College. The employee immediately and fully owns all contributions to the Plan; there is no vesting period.
Regardless of eligibility for Core or Matching contributions, all employees may contribute Elective contributions, up to certain IRS determined limits, on a tax-deferred basis. Such salary reductions generally are not subject to federal and state income tax until they are received as benefits.
For specific plan information, please refer to the Summary Plan Description for the Amherst College Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, or contact the Office of Human Resources.
Former Amherst College Staff Retirement Plan
Regular Staff employees hired prior to July 1, 1993 were eligible to participate in the former Amherst College defined benefit Staff Retirement Plan. After July 1, 1994, members of this plan and eligible employees hired after July 1, 1993 (or rehired after July 1, 1994) participate in the Amherst College Retirement Plan described above.
Regular employees hired prior to July 1, 1993 and who were age 50 or older as of July 1, 1994 are "grandfathered" and are guaranteed, based on specific assumptions, a combined benefit from this defined benefit plan and the Amherst College Retirement Plan, of at least that which they would have received had the defined benefit plan remained in effect until their retirement. In general, the formula is: 1.2% times the years of credited service up to retirement times the 3-year final average salary as of the date of retirement or separation, minus an amount attributable to certain employer contributions to the Amherst College Retirement Plan. These employees may also retire at age 60 with 30 years of service and receive unreduced retirement benefits as though they were initiating retirement income at age 65.
Regular employees hired prior to July 1,1993 and who were not at least age 50 as of July 1, 1994 will receive a benefit from this Plan based on the following formula: 1.2% times years of credited service through June 30, 1994 times the 3-year final average salary as of date of retirement or separation.
If employees who were less than age 50 at July 1, 1994 retire prior to age 65 regardless of the years of service, retirement plan benefits will be reduced for early retirement by .5% per month for each month prior to age 65. For service after July 1, 1994, additional retirement benefits are available through the Amherst College Retirement Plan described above.
Regular employees hired after July 1, 1993 are not eligible for the defined benefit Staff Retirement Plan.
Employees and the College contribute to the Social Security program as required by federal law. Benefits are payable for death, total disability, retirement and Medicare, provided the employee has been covered by social security for a sufficient period of time to be eligible. These benefits are separate from retirement income received from the Amherst College Retirement Plan.
All employees should receive periodic earnings statements from the Social Security Administration. This is to assure that full credit is received for annual earnings. Social security benefits are not payable automatically. Application for benefits should be made a minimum of three months prior to the desired start date.
All regular employees are eligible to elect coverage under a health plan offered by the College.
Enrollment must occur within 30 days of hire and is effective the first of the month following or coincident with the date of hire. Employees may select individual or family coverage. Employees enrolling in a health care plan will also be included in the dental plan in a corresponding individual or family contract. Specific plan details, current premium information and enrollment forms are available in the Office of Human Resources.
Family coverage may include a legal spouse or same sex domestic partner, and dependents up to age 26 regardless of the dependent’s Internal Revenue Service tax qualification status, marital status, student status, or employment status. The Office of Human Resources will require confirmation of dependent status each year.
The College pays 80% of the total projected cost of the individual premiums and 70% of the total projected family premiums. The amount that the College contributes to each of the premiums is determined through the use of a weighted-average formula. The College contributes an equal dollar amount to a HMO or preferred provider plan.
The College will pay 85% - 90% of the total projected individual premium and 75% - 80% of the total projected family premium through a weighted-average formula for employees at certain levels of household income. The income levels at which higher contributions are made are subject to periodic review.
Details are available in the Office of Human Resources.
Changes in plan participation, other than within 30 days following a change in family status, may be made only during the annual open enrollment period held each spring for the plan year beginning July 1. During this period, employees may change health insurance carriers and/or enroll otherwise eligible dependents.
Health insurance for active employees over age 65 and their spouses generally remains the same as it was prior to age 65. Those employees eligible for Medicare may elect to have either Medicare or the College health insurance plan as their primary insurer. It is usually advisable to elect the College coverage as primary. The College recommends that employees contact the Office of Human Resources three months before turning 65 to discuss Medicare coverage.
In certain instances where coverage under the group health plans would otherwise end (such as death of the covered employee, termination of employment or reduction of work hours, divorce or legal separation of the employee, or loss of dependent student status), the College is required, under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), to offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage at group rates with the employee paying the full cost of coverage. The employee or family member must inform the Office of Human Resources of a divorce, legal separation or loss of child's dependent status within 60 days of the qualifying event in order to ensure continuation of coverage. Upon notification to the Office of Human Resources of the above event by the employee, or in case of other qualifying circumstances known to the employer, the Office of Human Resources will furnish notification of COBRA Continuation Rights and Responsibilities. Further information about continuation of coverage (under COBRA) is available in the Office of Human Resources.
Employees Hired on or After July 1, 2003
The College provides eligible employees with a defined contribution retiree health program. An eligible employee is defined as a person who is age 40 or older and who holds a regular benefited position with the College. At the end of the fiscal year, for each month of credited service at or after age 40, a participant will be credited with 66.7% of the monthly premium for the College sponsored Medicare supplement policy. Contributions are made for a maximum of 25 years. At the beginning of each fiscal year, an interest rate based on the yield of a 5-year certificate of deposit with a designated bank will be documented and used to determine the amount of interest credited for next fiscal year.
Upon retirement from the College at age 62 or older with 10 years of regular service, a retired employee will have the accumulated account value deposited into a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) in his or her name. Funds in an HRA may be used on a tax-favored basis to be reimbursed for eligible medical expenses, including health plan premiums.
Retired employees and spouses may purchase coverage at full cost under the College sponsored plans.
Employees Hired Before July 1, 2003
Each employee covered by the retiree health program in effect prior to July 1, 2003 has received a personalized letter detailing his or her benefits. Since there are varying levels of benefits please contact the Office of Human Resources if there are questions.
The Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is a confidential resource and referral service that the College makes available to all Amherst College employees, their spouses and dependents. The Wellness Corporation provides a number of services including consultation, problem assessment, referral and follow-up services for a wide variety of personal and health-related problems. Visit e4 Health for information on a variety of topics.
Employees and their families may call (800) 828-6025 to speak with a professional counselor, or to schedule an appointment. Sick/Family Care days can be used by an employee for EAP appointments.
On the first of the month coincident with or following three consecutive full months of employment, regular full-time and part-time employees are eligible for College-paid group term life insurance coverage. To age 65, basic insurance coverage is equal to 1.5 times the amount of an employee's base annual salary. Upon attainment of age 65, the amount of basic insurance is equal to 1 times the base annual salary and at age 70 it is 67%. In addition, optional insurance is available to employees at low group rates. An employee may purchase additional coverage of 1 to 5 times his or her annual base salary. An employee may also purchase $10,000 of dependent life insurance coverage for his or her spouse/same-sex domestic partner and child(ren).
In all cases, if the amount of insurance is not an even multiple of $1,000 it is raised to the next higher $1,000 multiple. The maximum amount of insurance is $750,000, for basic term life and optional employee life combined.
An employee leaving the College may convert this insurance to a private non-group plan within 31 days and continue it at his or her own expense. To do so, he or she should consult the Office of Human Resources.
Long Term Disability Insurance
On the first day of the month following three consecutive full months of employment, the College provides all regular employees with long term disability insurance coverage. Employees who were covered within three months before hire under a similar plan may have the waiting period waived. Under this plan, employees are assured of replacement of a substantial portion of income when faced with long-term illness or injury. Please see the short-term disability section for illnesses or injuries of less than six months. The plan provides benefits for both partial and full disability. A disability is defined as an injury or illness that prevents an employee from performing the substantial duties of his or her own occupation. Benefits are payable for up to 24 months. After 24 months, benefits may be available to employees fully disabled, or unable to perform the substantial duties of any occupation for which they may be qualified by education, training or experience. After certification of the disability by the insurance carriers, the Plan provides the following benefits after 180 days of disability:
- A monthly income of 60% of basic annual salary as of the date of disability (less any income from other sources), to a maximum benefit of $15,000 monthly. The minimum benefit is $50/month, regardless of other sources of income.
- If eligible, service credit toward the calculation of benefits from Staff Retirement Plan for employees with a vested benefit.
Other Disability Insurance ProtEction
- The continuation of core, basic and matching contributions to a TIAA-CREF annuity in accordance with the terms of the retirement plan.
- Continuation of life insurance benefits at the level of coverage at the time of disability until age 70 with insurance company approval.
The above benefits continue during such disability until age 65 or, for disabilities beginning after age 60 but less than age 65, for a period of 4.5 years; at age 65 but less than 68.5, until age 70; or, if age 68.5 or older, a maximum of 12 months.
Except when a reasonable accommodation to extend leave may be warranted, normally an employee will be separated from the College after six months of absence. Therefore, employees who are partially or fully disabled should also apply for Social Security benefits during the fourth month of disability if it is anticipated that the disability will last for more than six months.
Health insurance benefits may be continued at the same premium level as active employees for up to two years from the effective date of the first disability payment or until the person is no longer disabled, whichever comes first. For the next five (5) months, coverage may be continued at full premium cost. After two years of disability payments, the individual becomes eligible for Medicare.
As an institution of learning committed to academic achievement and lifelong learning, Amherst College supports the educational pursuits of its staff. The Educational Assistance Plan benefits are available to regular full-time, and part-time employees on a pro-rated basis. There is a $3,000 maximum benefit per fiscal year for educational assistance benefits. It is strongly recommended that the Office of Human Resources review an application for benefits prior to course or program commencement in order to verify the amount of approved reimbursement.
There are three types of educational assistance benefits offered. Job-related educational assistance is generally defined as a degree granting program or courses for credit that specifically enhance skills used in the employee's current position. After one (1) year of continuous employment, regular full-time, and part-time employees on a pro-rated basis are eligible for up to $3,000 per fiscal year for tuition and fees upon satisfactory completion of the course(s). Documentation of course completion and cost must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources in order to receive reimbursement. Job-related courses are normally taken during non-working hours.
Non job-related educational assistance is generally defined as a degree-granting educational program or courses for credit not directly related to an employee's current position, but related to potential future career opportunities at the College. After three (3) years of continuous employment, regular full-time, and part-time employees on a pro-rated basis, are eligible for up to 50%, to a maximum of $1,500 per fiscal year, for tuition and fees upon satisfactory completion of the course(s). Applicants must consult with the Office of Human Resources on an annual basis. Documentation of course completion and cost must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources in order to receive reimbursement. Non job-related courses are normally taken during non-working hours.
Effective July 1, 2010, applicants may receive an advance payment of 75% of the eligible costs of a couse upon receipt of a notice of course enrollment and approval of an application for advance payment. The remaining 25% of eligible costs will be paid upon successful completion of the course.
For more information about the plan, please visit this page.
Employees leaving the College within one year of receiving educational assistance must reimburse the College for its payments in accordance with the following schedule:
Within one month of completion: ½ the amount
Between one to twelve months: a proportional share of ½ the amount
Educational assistance benefits may be viewed by the IRS as a taxable benefit. Please see the Office of Human Resources for information. Educational assistance benefits are offset by any training and development reimbursements the employee receives from the College.
Training and development educational assistance is defined as professional development workshops/seminars/conferences, or courses for which no credits are granted, that are relevant to an employee's current position. There is no length of service requirement. Employees are allowed $150 per fiscal year for registration and/or tuition only. Workshops/seminars/conferences are normally, but not always, held during working hours. Training and development reimbursements apply toward the $3,000 annual limit for educational assistance benefits.
The College also reimburses expenses incurred in attending professional meetings or seminars that complement or enhance the employee's position and that have been approved by the department head. Expenses to be reimbursed are determined by the department head and may be partially or fully covered, depending on how much money has been budgeted by the department for such purposes.
Employees may audit courses at the College with permission of the instructor. Courses that are audited carry no credit. In addition, all regular full and part-time employees of Amherst College who have completed one full year of service may enroll in one Amherst College course for credit each semester at no cost. Such course credits do not count toward an Amherst degree because of various degree requirements. Employees must receive prior written approval of the course faculty member, the Director of Human Resources and that of their supervisor or Chair. Once the appropriate signatures have been secured and the form completed, the form must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.
Dependent children of all regular full and part time employees with the equivalent of five years of continuous regular status employment are eligible for the Grant-In-Aid Program. The benefit for a regular part-time employee is prorated. If the College employs both parents, only one grant per child shall apply.
Grant recipients must be legal dependents as defined by federal or state income tax purposes and must be enrolled as full-time undergraduates in an accredited four year college or university, an accredited two-year college, or program of training at an accredited institution that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation (i.e. vocational technical school, culinary school, etc.). Grants are made annually for a maximum of four academic years or eight academic semesters, or the equivalent, and are limited to a grant of $10,000 per fiscal year per child or the tuition of the institution attended, whichever is lower. Board, room and other special fees are not covered by this grant. Some state institutions list certain costs and fees that are typically included in tuition charges. These charges are evaluated and may be included in the grant payment.
Employees should be aware that the college the dependent is attending might consider this grant in calculating financial awards.
Applications, one per child, along with a copy of current tuition charges, should be submitted to the Office of Human Resources not later than August 1 for the full academic year. Payments will be made directly to the college or university attended in equal installments based on the semester structure of the institution attended. No more than $5,000 will be paid in a given semester (less if the school has more than a two-semester structure). Payment for subsequent semesters will be made after submission of that semester's bill.
Children of eligible staff employees who retire or die while employed will continue to receive the grant if the eligible dependent is enrolled at an eligible institution or program at the time of death or retirement of the parent. Employees who otherwise separate from the College prior to the start of the semester will not be eligible to participate in the Grant-In-Aid program. Employees who otherwise separate from the College during the semester will be responsible for refunding to the College a prorated share of the value of the Grant-In-Aid payment as determined by the College.
For more information about the current program details/application, please visit this page. Applications are also available in the Office of Human Resources, and on-line in the “Forms” section of the HR webpage.
In accordance with state law, the College carries Workers' Compensation Insurance for all employees. It is important that any injury or illness, however slight, incurred by an employee while on the job be reported immediately to the department head and the Office of Human Resources in order to comply with the provisions of the law.
When an employee is unable to work due to a work related injury and the insurance company makes compensation payments, the College will make up the difference between the compensation amount and the employee's regular salary check. Absence due to a certified work-related injury will not be charged to sick leave, but will be charged against leave entitlement under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Extended absence due to injury on the job that may be expected to exceed six months will prompt the College to send an application for long-term disability benefits to the employee following three full months of absence. Supplemental salary payments made by the College will cease upon determination of eligibility for long term disability benefits or six months' absence from the job, if earlier. At this time, unless reasonable accommodation to extend the leave is warranted, an employee will be separated from the College. Subsequent re-employment is contingent upon the availability of a position for which the employee is reasonably suited and the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
All employees of Amherst College are covered by the provisions of the Massachusetts Employment Security Law (commonly referred to as "Unemployment Compensation") and therefore are eligible for all applicable benefits under the law. This program provides weekly income benefits to all eligible individuals during periods of full or partial unemployment.
Employees on approved leaves of absence are not eligible for unemployment compensation.
The Amherst Plan is a flexible spending plan established under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. All regular employees may elect annually to pay for certain eligible expenses with before-tax salary dollars. By excluding these dollars from income for federal, state and social security tax purposes less income tax is due at year-end. When eligible expenses for medical care or dependent care are submitted, the employee is reimbursed from his or her account.
Employees may choose to make before-tax deductions for any health insurance premiums they pay and/or set aside salary dollars to cover qualified out-of-pocket health and dependent care expenses. Up to $6,500 per year may be set aside for medical expenses and in accordance with internal revenue limits, $5,000 may be allocated for dependent care. Expenses incurred during a Plan year will be reimbursed up to the amount set aside in the related account. The IRS requires that any money remaining in an employee's account at the end of the grace period of a Plan year will be forfeited, so it is important to estimate carefully. Fiscal year elections are irrevocable except in the event of a qualified change in family status. Any change in election must occur with 30 days of the qualifying event.
Otherwise, participation is on a fiscal year basis (July 1 - June 30) with an annual open enrollment period. New employees may enroll in the Plan within 90 days of hire date. Specific plan details and enrollment information are available in the Office of Human Resources.
Amherst College provides insurance coverage for an employee who is killed or totally disabled as a result of accidental circumstances while traveling on College business away from the normal place of work. The coverage provides a $300,000 death benefit per individual with a catastrophic limit of $1,500,000 for any one accident. The employee's estate receives the death benefit.
These are only the essential features of the plan; details are available at the Office of Human Resources.
In case of death of a regular staff employee, in addition to TIAA-CREF Retirement benefits, if applicable, and life insurance benefits, the College will give to his or her spouse or partner, or if none, his or her dependent(s), a sum equal to one month's pay, if the deceased was employed by the College for less than five years; three months' pay, if employed between five and ten years; and six months' pay, if employed ten years or longer. Only time in regular employment at the College will be counted towards this benefit.
The College believes that periods of rest from employees' duties and responsibilities are necessary and thereby provide time off for vacations with pay. All regular employees are eligible for paid vacation leave. Regular part-time employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week, academic year employees, and new hires with less than one year of employment are eligible for vacation leave on a prorated basis.
Vacation is earned (accrued) on an ongoing basis. Vacation begins to accrue during the first month of employment. A maximum of one year's accrual may be carried over from one fiscal year to the next at July 1 of each year.
Vacation for full-time non-exempt employees is earned as follows:
Length of service
1 month but less than 5 years: 1 day per month of service to maximum of 12 days
5 years but less than 10 years: 1.25 days per month of service to maximum of 15 days
10 years but less than 20 years: 1.667 days per month of service to maximum of 20 days
20 years or more: 2.084 days per month of service to a maximum of 25 days
Vacation accrual rates for non-exempt employees increase on the 5th, 10th, and 20th anniversaries of the date of hire.
Vacation for full-time exempt employees is earned as follows:
Length of Service
1 month but less than 10 years: 20 days per full year
10 years or more: 25 days per full year
Employees are encouraged to cooperate with each other in arranging for vacation leave, recognizing that there may be administrative or minimum coverage requirements necessitating the scheduling of vacation leave at certain periods of time. Requests for vacation leave are subject to the approval of the supervisor and should be made as far in advance as possible. Vacation is not normally taken during the probationary period.
Employees hired on or before the 15th of the month, or separated on or after the 15th of the month, will be given vacation credit for a month's service in computing service dates for vacation eligibility. Academic year employees earn vacation based on the number of weeks worked during the year.
Employees on unpaid leaves of absence do not accrue credit for vacation leave. Accrued, but unused vacation pay is paid to employees at the time of separation.
Vacation pay is computed by multiplying the employee's straight time hourly rate (or equivalent, for exempt employees) by the number of vacation hours accrued. The number of vacation hours accrued is based upon the standard workday and/or week of the employee.
An employee may request a salary advance from the payroll office if necessary when leaving on vacation.
Scheduled College Holidays
Amherst College officially observes a number of holidays throughout the year. All regular full-time employees are eligible for holiday pay based on their straight-time hourly rate (or equivalent for exempt employees) times their standard workday. Regular employees working less than full-time or on an academic year schedule are eligible for holiday pay on a prorated basis.
The College recognizes the following days as paid holidays:
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day (Includes one-half day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)
- Christmas Day
- New Year's Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Memorial Day
When a holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the paid holiday. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday will be observed.
The holiday schedule may be modified depending on the actual day the holiday falls. For example, if Christmas or July 4 falls on a Tuesday, the preceeding Monday will also be a paid holiday. In all cases at least 7.5 holidays will be scheduled. A holiday schedule is distributed at the beginning of each fiscal year.
Non-exempt regular and casual employees who for business reasons are required to work on an observed College holiday will be paid time and one-half their hourly rate in addition to holiday pay at straight time. Compensatory time off on a time and one-half basis may be allowed in lieu of overtime pay provided that time of is taken within the same workweek. In such instances, work performed on the holiday is paid on a straight-time basis.
An employee on an approved unpaid leave of absence is not eligible for holiday pay benefits. No payment will be made for holidays (including "floating holidays") not taken at the time of termination.
Employees receive 4.5 "floating holidays" which may be used with advance authorization by an employee's supervisor for personal, religious or other reasons.
The accrual rate for "floating holidays" during the first fiscal year of employment will be prorated based on date of hire. Thereafter, they become available at the start of each fiscal year. Floating holidays do not accumulate from year to year. They are forfeited if not used.
Amherst College respects the rights of all members of the community to observe their religious holidays and practices and will make reasonable accommodation to enable employees to do so, so long as such accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the College.
In order to provide protection against worry and financial problems when an employee is ill or the employee's presence is needed for the care of an ill family member, paid sick/family care days accumulate at the rate of one day per month of service to a maximum of 130 working days.
A regular employees working less than full-time or an academic year schedule is eligible for sick/family care days on a prorated basis. A new employee hired on or before the 15th of the month will be given credit for a month's service in computing paid sick/family care days. Time accrues on an hourly basis for non-exempt employees and the balance appears on each paycheck. Exempt employees are expected to calculate and track their own time along with their supervisor. Forms for tracking time used are available through the employee's supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources.
If an employee uses some or all of his or her paid sick/family care days during a fiscal year, he or she must accrue new sick/family care days to replace those used. The College reserves the right to require the employee to obtain a statement from his or her physician, or to ask for a physical examination by a College-designated physician, prior to the employee's return to work.
Department heads are responsible for the administration of the sick/family care day policy. Employees who are absent due to their own illness, or that of a family member, for five or more consecutive work days are required to submit a physician's certification upon request. Patterns of absence that indicate abuse of the policy can be reason for requiring a second medical opinion at College expense, requiring a medical certification for each absence and/or for taking disciplinary action. Extended absence due to illness and/or inability to meet the requirements of the job can be reason to initiate application for disability insurance benefits or prompt other action as deemed necessary by the department and/or the College.
Unused accumulated sick/family care days are not paid at the time of separation and are not restored at the time of re-employment.
Sick/Family Care days may be used for the employee's illness, illness of a family member, birth or adoption of a child, physician's appointment, or to supplement short term disability (STD). Family members for the purpose of sick/family care leave usage includes spouse/domestic partner, child, parent or other family member for whom the employee is the primary care giver. If possible, the use of sick/family care days for foreseeable absences should be arranged in advance for FMLA record keeping.
Employees who were on the payroll as of June 30, 2001 received a reserve bank of sick days from the former sick day accrual policy, to be used for their own illness. These days are not replenished once drawn down. Unused reserve bank days are not paid at the time of separation. Employees hired on or after July 1, 2001 do not have reserve bank days.
Employees are eligible for extended family leave after one consecutive year of employment. Extended family leave provides for four weeks at 100% pay in a rolling calendar year, after a two-week waiting period.
Extended family leave may be used within the first 12 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of a family member when the employee is the primary caregiver. The employee must be needed to provide care for more than 10 consecutive workdays. "Family member" includes spouse/domestic partner, child, parent or other family member for whom the employee is the primary caregiver.
When the College also employs the employee's spouse or partner, combined leave under this policy will not exceed 4 weeks for any one reason. If the two-week wait has been met for any one reason, the second partner does not need to serve it. Extended family leave runs concurrently with FMLA Leave, if applicable.
With reasonable, advance notice and the approval of the department head, an employee may be given time off for reasons of a personal nature. Examples are personal emergencies or scheduled business such as a mortgage closing or other necessary personal business that must be conducted during business hours.
Regular full-time employees are eligible for up to two paid excused days during the fiscal year. Regular employees who work a minimum of 20 hours a week or on an academic year basis are eligible for excused time pay benefits on a prorated basis.
Excused time during the first fiscal year of employment is prorated at the rate of .67 days for each four-month period worked. Excused time is not carried over to the next fiscal year.
See also the Small Necessities Leave Act policy.
Short term disability pay is available when an employee is unable to work for more than 10 consecutive working days because of extended illness or injury. After one year of service working a minimum of 20 hours per week, time is paid according to the following schedule:
1 - 3 years = 70% pay
4 - 6 years = 80% pay
7 - 9 years = 90% pay
10+ years = 100% pay
Proper medical certification must accompany a request for short term disability pay. Payments continue until the staff member is: no longer disabled, eligible for long term disability benefits, and/or has been unable to work for six months.
In the event of the death of a spouse, domestic partner or child, the employee is allowed up to a maximum of five days funeral leave with pay. In the event of the death of a parent, sister, brother, grandchild, grandparent, parent-in-law or relative living in the same household, the employee is allowed up to a maximum of three days funeral leave with pay. In the event of the death of other members of the family, one day funeral leave with pay is allowed. Regular employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week are allowed funeral leave pay benefits on a prorated basis.
Amherst College acknowledges the importance of participating in civic affairs. Employees called to serve as jurors and regular employees called as a subpoenaed witness in an action in which they are not a party, will receive their regular pay for the first three days of jury duty and thereafter will receive the difference between their regular compensation and that which is received from the courts for time actually served. Contact the Office of Human Resources for details on reimbursement.
A certificate of attendance, which can be obtained from the clerk of the courts, should be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources upon return to work. Employees excused from jury duty by noon on any given day should report to work for the remainder of their workday.
Amherst College complies with all federal and state laws concerning military leave for active duty. Employees called for active duty should contact the Office of Human Resources for further information.
Regular employees who are members of the National Guard or organized reserves are eligible to be paid the difference between their military duty training pay and their regular compensation, not to exceed 14 calendar days in each year. Upon returning to work from duty, the employees should forward a statement of military pay to the Office of Human Resources so that an adjustment in earnings can be arranged. Should the employee choose to take this time as vacation, no differential pay will be paid.
Employees who are required to take time off for uniformed services in the military will be automatically granted a leave of absence for the duration of such service, provided the total duration of such leave and all previous military leave(s) from the College does not exceed five years, and provided the employee presents his or her written orders in advance to the Office of Human Resources.
Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), upon the employee's return from uniformed services he/she will be eligible for reemployment in the position that would have been attained through continued employment, including all benefits in which the employee had been a participant or would have participated had he or she remained employed with the College. USERRA also provides for the temporary continuation of health care coverage during military leave. Benefits, including health care coverage, will continue as usual during the first two weeks, after which the benefits continuation provisions for unpaid leaves of absence will apply.
For these purposes, "uniformed services" includes the U.S. Armed Services (including the Coast Guard), the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard (when engaged in active duty for training, inactive duty training or full-time National Guard duty), and the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service.
Please see the Office of Human Resources for further details regarding USERRA.
Regular employees may be granted leaves of absence without pay for such reasons as compelling personal circumstances, illness beyond sick-leave benefit periods and absences due to academic year appointment conditions. Each request, which must be in writing, is subject to approval by the department head and the Director of Human Resources on the basis of the type of leave, length of employment and the needs of the College. Reasonable advance notice is important so that arrangements can be made to cover the duties of the employee during the leave. A stated intention about returning to work must be given when the leave is requested.
Leaves of absence may be approved for reasonable periods of time, up to three months. Extensions of leaves of absence may be granted in appropriate cases depending on individual circumstances and the business needs of the College. Extensions must be requested in writing and approved by the department head, Director of Human Resources and the Treasurer.
Vacation, sick/family care leave and other benefits related to service time will be prorated according to the time actually worked during the benefit year. Retirement plan contributions are suspended for any period of unpaid personal leave. Employees on unpaid leaves of absence are not eligible for holiday pay for holidays occurring during their leave. All insurance benefit payments normally made by the College continue during the period of authorized leave. Employees are responsible for their share of the cost of benefits during the leave.
If, while on an authorized personal leave of absence, an employee engages in other employment without the consent of the College, he or she may be subject to termination. If an employee on such leave fails to report for work at the beginning of the first regular day of employment after such leave, he or she may be subject to termination. Upon return to work after a leave of absence, the College will attempt to restore the employee to his or her original position, or to a position of similar status and pay, without loss of seniority.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month "rolling backward" period for certain family and medical reasons.
The 12-month period is measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. To be eligible, an employee must have worked at the College for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the leave. Leave is available for birth or care of a newborn, for placement of a child for adoption or foster care, for the care of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a qualifying serious health condition; or in the event of a qualifying serious health condition that prevents the employee from working. In addition, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008 provides up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty on active duty. The aggregate amount of FMLA time available in a 12-month period cannot exceed 26 weeks. The request for a foreseeable FMLA leave should be made to the department head and Office of Human Resources.
An employee requesting FMLA Leave must provide at least 30-days’ notice before the date the leave is to begin if the leave is foreseeable. If at least 30-days’ notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable (which ordinarily means at least verbal notice within one or two business days of when the employee becomes aware of the need for leave). The leave request must indicate that the employee is unable to perform the functions of the job, or that a covered family member is unable to participate in regular daily activities, the anticipated duration of the absence, and whether the employee (or family member) intends to visit a health care provider or is receiving continuing treatment. Periodic recertification of extended leaves will be required.
If an employee is requesting FMLA Leave for his/her own serious health condition or to care for a child, spouse, service member, or parent with a serious health condition, the Certification of Health Care Provider form must be completed by the health care provider and returned to the Office of Human Resources within 15 days to verify a qualifying serious health condition. If an employee fails to provide the requested medical certification within the required time, or if the certification is incomplete and is not remedied, FMLA Leave may be delayed or denied.
FMLA Leave may be taken intermittently; however, an employee who takes an intermittent leave may be required to transfer temporarily to another position with equivalent pay and benefits if that position better accommodates the recurring periods of leave. An employee may also take the leave in the form of reduced hours, or reduced work days during the week, until the days off add up to 12 work weeks (26 weeks for a service member). Periodic recertification of extended leaves will be required.
FMLA leaves are generally unpaid. However, an employee taking FMLA Leave will be permitted to designate any earned, unused paid vacation or sick/family care leave time as part of the leave. In addition, if you are eligible for short-term disability or workers' compensation insurance benefits, the employee may be eligible to receive such benefits during FMLA Leave. Amherst College leave time will be deemed to run concurrently with the leave available under FMLA.
During FMLA Leave, the College will continue to provide health care coverage on the same basis as is normally provided. If an employee contributes to his/her health care coverage, the employee is required to continue to make payments during the leave period. If an employee does not return to work after FMLA Leave, the employee is responsible for repaying the cost of health benefits provided during the leave, unless the reason for not returning is due to a serious health condition or other circumstance beyond the employee’s control.
Any employee who takes approved FMLA Leave will be reinstated to the position held when the leave began or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status and other terms and conditions of employment, unless a job elimination or other change in circumstance has occurred during the leave period. Certain “key employees” (as defined under the FMLA) may be denied job restoration.
An employee returning from FMLA Leave which is taken for the employee’s own serious health condition must obtain and provide the College with certification from the employee’s health care provider, indicating that the employee is able to resume work.
In most cases, Amherst College leave policies equal or exceed FMLA provisions. However, at no time will FMLA be used to limit already existing rights under College policies and protections provided under any other statutory provisions.
An example of the use of paid time by an employee with at least one year of service, for a twelve-week leave in the case of childbirth would be:
Two week: Medical Family days
Six weeks: Short Term Disability (which may be supplemented by reserve bank time or vacation or sick/family care time, if sufficient time has accrued)Four weeks: Extended Family Leave
Or in the case of an adoption, the primary caregiver with at least one year of service could access the following:
Eight weeks: Sick/Family Care days, floating holiday or vacation if sufficient time has accrued
Four weeks: Extended Family Leave (may be used after two weeks wait)
Specific details and requirements of FMLA are available in the Office of Human Resources.
Amherst College is committed to the health and safety of our employees and their families. Should you or your family member be a victim of domestic violence or abusive behavior, you are encouraged to communicate with the Office of Human Resources about the situation. You are immediately eligible for this leave upon beginning employment.
An employee may take up to a maximum of 15 days of time off in a 12 month period, if either the employee or their family member as described below is:
- the victim of abusive behavior (such as domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or kidnapping);
- seeking medical attention, counseling, legal or other victim services directly related to the abusive behavior against the employee or family member of the employee.
For purposes of this policy, a family member includes not only legally married spouses but also:
- Persons "in a substantive dating or engagement relationship" AND who reside together;
- Persons having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or resided together;
- A parent, step-parent, child, step-child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild; or
- Persons in a guardianship relationship.
Employees may use accrued vacation, family/medical and excused time to remain in paid status during a covered leave under this policy, and use of such leave will run concurrently with leave under this policy. If no accrued time is available, leave under this policy will be unpaid.
We request that you provide appropriate advance notice of this leave (as required by the current leave policy), unless there is an imminent danger to your immediate health and safety (in which case - we must receive notification within 3 workdays that the leave was taken or is being taken for reasons covered by this policy). In the event that you take this leave, please provide documentation evidencing that you or your family member has been a victim of domestic violence or abusive behavior within 30 days (reasonable amount of time) of the leave request. Such forms of documentation may include:
- A court issued protective order
- An official document from a court, provider or public agency
- A police report or statement of a victim or witness provided to the police
- Official legal documentation attesting to perpetrator’s guilt
- Medical documentation of treatment for the abusive behavior
- A sworn statement, from the employee attesting to being a victim of abusive behavior
- A sworn statement from a professional who has assisted the employee or the employee's family, for example, a counselor, a social worker or a member of the clergy.
Alleged perpetrators of domestic violence are not entitled to leave under this statute.
Provided you have submitted proper documentation, your employment is protected for leave taken under this policy.
If you have questions at any time as to how this policy applies to you, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Human Resources.
All Massachusetts employers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are also required to comply with the Small Necessities Leave Act (SNLA), a state law providing eligible employees with additional leave for certain family obligations.
This law provides 24 hours of unpaid leave time during any 12-month period for certain purposes, e.g., to attend parent-teacher conferences; to accompany immediate family members to routine medical appointments, interviews at nursing homes, etc. As in the case of the FMLA, the eligible employee may elect to substitute any available paid vacation or excused time for unpaid leave.
Employees are asked to give at least one week notice if the need for this leave is foreseeable. If leave is unforeseeable, the employee must give as much notice as is practical under the circumstances.
Departments may require that leave requests be supported by certification.
Details of this policy are available in the Office of Human Resources.
An employee not eligible for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is entitled to a minimum of eight (8) weeks of job-protected unpaid parental leave per child for birth or adoption under Massachusetts law, after completion of a three (3)-month probationary period. When both parents are employed by the College at the time the leave commences for the birth or adoption of the same child, an aggregate of eight (8) weeks of leave is available for the two employees. Available sick/family care, floating holiday, or excused days may be used as paid time off during this period. In addition, accrued vacation days may be used provided the employee has successfully completed the initial employment probationary period. Short term disability and extended family leave benefits are not available until one year of regular service has been completed.
The employee must:
a) give at least two (2) weeks' notice of the expected departure date (except when such notice is not possible due to unexpected disability) and;
b) express an intention to return to his or her job.
While on parental leave, an employee has the same right to benefits as any other employee on disability leave, or leave associated with the adoption of a child. If the employee returns from parental leave within eight (8) weeks, or such longer period of actual disability as is certified by a physician, he or she will be reinstated to the same or similar position, without loss of employment status or benefits for which he or she was eligible on the date the parental leave commenced.
Identification cards are required for use of all College facilities.
Sporting event tickets at reduced prices are available for all College employees. Tickets may be obtained at the Alumni Gymnasium building.
The athletic facilities on the Amherst College campus are available to Amherst College employees. Schedules for the swimming pool, tennis courts, squash courts, fitness center, skating rink, and indoor tracks are published periodically by the Athletic Department along with a listing of courses offered each semester. For further information, contact the Athletic Department.
A partial subsidy (approximately 40 percent) toward individual membership dues at the Amherst Golf Club, a corporation separate from Amherst College, is available to regular employees of Amherst College, both presently employed, or retired. Membership in the Amherst Golf Club is subject to the rules and membership limits of the organization. Information on these athletic facilities should be obtained from the Athletic Department.
The Woodside Children's Center is a separate private, non-profit childcare facility located in a Victorian home near the Amherst College campus. The center provides childcare services for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with priority in admissions for Amherst College employees and students. For further information call (413) 253-2604.
The Little Red Schoolhouse is a separate, private, non-profit preschool located on the Amherst Campus. The preschool provides morning preschool with a limited number of spots reserved for the children of Amherst College employees and students. For further information call (413) 253-5259.
A loan for the purchase of computer equipment may be arranged and paid for through payroll deduction. Details of the program are available through the Information Technology Page.
Amherst College staff and their families are eligible to participate in the services provided by the UMass/Five College Federal Credit Union. Arrangements for membership can be made through the Office of Human Resources or by contacting the credit union office directly. More information is available in the Office of Human Resources.
The use of the Lewis-Sebring Commons, the Coffee House at the Campus Center and Valentine Hall are available to all employees. Vending machines are located in the major buildings on campus. All regular staff may have purchases deducted from payroll by using their ID card at these locations. Contact Dining Services for hours of operation.
The College Health Services are available to employees on a limited basis during the academic year. It provides emergency medical care and, during designated hours, blood pressure monitoring for those employees whose family physician has required it.
All regular employees are eligible to obtain Amherst College identification cards. Casual employees who have worked a minimum of one year and an average of at least 500 hours in the preceding fiscal year will receive a College identification card that will allow them access to Robert Frost Library and Alumni Gym and discounted meals in Valentine Dining Hall. All other casual employees will be issued a College identification card that will allow them access to Robert Frost Library and discounted meals in Valentine Dining Hall.
All new regular employees and current regular employees who have lost their cards may obtain the Amherst College ID form from the Office of Human Resources. The employee must take this form to Dining Services to have a photo ID processed. Pictures are taken Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Loan privileges for books, DVDs and music may be obtained at Frost Library.
The Museum of Natural History, the Mead Art Gallery, the Emily Dickinson Museum and The Homestead and The Evergreens and the Planetarium in Morgan Hall are available to visitors at posted hours.
College mail, e-mail and/or College mailing lists may be used only for official College business or for mailings sponsored or endorsed by the College.
Notary service is available on campus. The Office of Human Resources has a list of authorized notaries public.
The ombudsperson at Amherst College is an objective and confidential resource that exists to help faculty, administrators and staff explore concerns and receive assistance in resolving conflicts. With the goal of ensuring that all members of the faculty, administrators and staff receive fair and equitable treatment, the ombudsperson listens to concerns and can help visitors identify and explore acceptable solutions that meet the needs of both the visitor and the institution.
A parking permit must be obtained from Campus Police for vehicles to be parked on campus. Employees may park vehicles in any unrestricted area. The Office of Human Resources will issue an application for the permit.
All employees of the College receive the following publications: Amherst Magazine and Amherst College Calendar & News. These publications include announcements about a wide variety of activities as well as news of interest to the campus.
Data Security Policy
Administrative information is one of the College's most valuable resources and requires responsible use by members of the College community. Amherst College faculty and staff are charged with safeguarding the integrity, accuracy, and confidentiality of this information as part of the condition of employment.
Employees are expected to ensure that the information that they are authorized to access is protected from unauthorized access, unauthorized use, invalid changes, or destruction.
Access to administrative systems is granted to a particular individual based on the need to use specific data, as defined by position responsibilities, and subject to appropriate approval. As such, this access cannot be shared, transferred, or delegated. Failure to protect these resources may result in disciplinary measures in accordance with policies described in this handbook.
System privileges will be authorized by the department head or designated department security manager and centrally assigned by the system administrator(s) in the database services group. Inquiry Access to administrative information will be authorized on a 'need to know' basis. Maintenance access to processes will be authorized based on job responsibilities.
Key Control Policy
All keys, locks, electronic access cards and access codes are the property of Amherst College and must be returned to the lock shop upon termination of employment.
Employees may be issued keys based upon need as authorized by the appropriate Amherst College director, manager or supervisor. Master keys to College facilities should not be removed from campus. The Chief of Police may make exceptions for compelling reasons. All stolen or lost keys or electronic access cards should be immediately reported to the campus police.
The College retains the right to change access codes and locks, and to deny access to facilities based upon security issues.
Details of this policy are available in the Office of Human Resources.
In accordance with the requirements the state building and fire prevention regulations and the policies of the town of Amherst, smoking is not permitted in schools, colleges, universities or public buildings. In addition, smoking is prohibited in areas of assembly, around flammable liquids and gases and in other areas so designated as "No-Smoking" for reasons of fire prevention, health and safety.
Smoking shall be permitted outside of buildings at a distance of not less than 25 feet. This requirement applies to entrances, exits, and loading docks, areas of assembly, air intakes, building overhangs, porches, areas used for the storage and transfer of flammable liquids and gases and other similar situations through which non-smokers would have to pass through, or where there may be a risk of fire or explosion.
Employees interested in smoking cessation classes or clinics may obtain information from their health plans or the Office of Human Resources.
Vehicle Safety Policy
In accordance with the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles and the Amherst College environmental health & safety policy, guidelines have been established to reduce the risk of incident and injury when it comes to the operation and use of a motor vehicle by employees and students working for Amherst College.
It is the responsibility of each and every supervisor to oversee the implementation and enforcement of this guideline. The Director of Facilities/Associate Treasurer for Campus Services, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, Amherst College Police Department and the office of Environmental Health and Safety have approved and implemented this policy for reasons of health, liability and safety.
In the event that an employee is involved in an accident while driving a College owned vehicle, they shall make every effort not to move the vehicle(s) until the arrival of police. It is important for investigating officers to see the positioning of the vehicle(s). The exception is when the vehicle(s) may compromise public safety.
On campus accidents should be reported to the campus police, off campus accidents should be reported to the appropriate police agency and later to the campus police. All accidents must be reported.
Details of the policy are available in the Office of Human Resources.
A service recognition program is administered by the Office of Human Resources. Employees with cumulative regular service of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and more than 35 years are awarded gifts. In addition, an annual dinner is scheduled to recognize and honor recent retirees and employees with service of 25 years or more.
Annual Picnic and Holiday Dinner
The annual picnic is held soon after commencement for faculty and staff. In addition, a holiday luncheon is held in December.
The communication of ideas is encouraged. If an employee sees a more efficient way to accomplish a task, or finds a more cost-effective procedure, the suggestion should be discussed with his or her supervisor. Details of the program and forms for making suggestions are available in the Office of Human Resources. The merit of the suggestion will be determined by the Office of Human Resources in consultation with the department head. Awards are in the form of savings bonds of up to $100 in value at maturity.
Amherst College has accepted responsibility for providing a safe and healthful working environment for all employees. Employees are expected to abide by all safety policies.
The Health and Safety Committee is charged with setting and maintaining the standards for appropriate health and safety practices at the College. The College reserves the right to immediately discharge an employee in cases where a violation of health or safety standards has created a threat to the College community or its property. Unless specifically authorized in writing by the College, possession of firearms on campus or illegal or improper use or possession of drugs or alcohol may be cause for dismissal. Consistent with the provisions of the Drug Free Workplace Act, Amherst College is required to ensure that all employees refrain from the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance in the workplace. Further, employees must agree to abide by the above policy and to notify the College of any criminal drug statute conviction based on a workplace violation. The College must be notified within five days after such a conviction has occurred.
The Drug Free Workplace Act requires that any person convicted of such a violation in the workplace will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with procedures outlined in the appropriate handbooks.
Amherst College recognizes drug abuse as a health, safety and security problem. Persons needing help in dealing with such problems are encouraged to use the Employee Assistance Program and health insurance plans, as appropriate.
Implementation of this policy does not constitute a waiver by the College of its right to use disciplinary action for violation of established College policies and procedures pertaining to use or possession of drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
The Office of Human Resources maintains the records and reports of accidents. The College is also responsible for assuring compliance with the Massachusetts Right to Know Law and the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, which provide training and information regarding hazardous substances that may be found in some work areas. Questions concerning the availability of material safety data sheets, which provide information on compounds or chemicals classified as hazardous, may be obtained through the employee's supervisor.
In the event of serious injury or medical emergency on campus, call the campus police at extension 2111. They will notify the appropriate emergency services.
Campus police are trained to handle most of the emergencies that could occur on campus during the day and will provide necessary transportation to a medical facility. They are equipped to render emergency first aid.
Accidents that occur on campus are to be reported immediately to a supervisor or department head and then to the Office of Human Resources.
Amherst College Campus Police are responsible for keeping peaceful conditions and enforcing the public law and College regulations, including the registration of cars on campus.
Campus police officers have full police powers on all properties owned by the College. They are in direct contact with the town of Amherst fire department and ambulance. The Campus Police Department will provide nighttime on-campus escort service if needed. Employees should report any suspicious activity to the Campus Police Department immediately.
Inquiries regarding lost and found articles should also be made to the Campus Police Office, ext.2291
On occasion, adverse weather conditions may cause employees to be concerned about safety in traveling to or from work, depending on the distance of travel, the hazards of driving, the availability of public transportation or a number of other subjective factors. In such cases, employees will need to make their own judgments about whether to stay home or to leave work early, after consultation with their supervisors. An employee's decision, based on individual circumstances, will be respected. In the above circumstances, hours missed will be charged against an employee's excused time, vacation time or floating holidays. On rare occasions, when weather conditions are especially severe, the College may delay opening, close for the day, or close early. In these circumstances, there will be no charge to employees for the time lost.
Employees designated by their department heads as providing non-deferrable or essential services should report to work, or remain on duty, even though the College is closed. Such employees who are non-exempt will be compensated in accordance with the overtime policy.
Please follow this link for our Inclement Weather Policy.
The attached handbook describes the benefits and services that apply to staff employees of the College. The positions of Copeland and CHI fellows are staff positions. The provisions of the Staff Handbook apply with a few exceptions.
The following list notes, by section, where the benefits/services available to you may differ from those of other Staff employees. There follow the College’s Statement on Academic Freedom and three articles of the Academic Regulations, which apply to all coaches, Copeland and CHI fellows, instructors, and students in the College.
The reference in this section to vacation payout at termination does not apply, as vacation time is not accrued.
Salary Administration Policy
The performance evaluation process as described is not applicable to Copeland and CHI fellows.
Copeland and CHI Fellows do not accrue leaves such as vacation, floating holidays, and sick/family care days. They are also not eligible for research leave. Short term disability, extended family leaves, or personal leaves of absence are granted at the discretion of the Dean of the Faculty and the President in compliance with federal and state regulations. Otherwise leaves are as described in the Staff Handbook.
Amherst College Statement of Academic and Expressive Freedom
Institutions of higher learning dedicate themselves to a range of goals: the pursuit of truth and knowledge, the refinement and transmission of intellectual skills, the articulation of values, the creation of works of artistic merit, and the critical examination of received wisdom. The promotion of these goals requires unstinting dedication to academic and expressive freedom. Such freedom protects the right of members of the academic community to speak, write, curate, and create without obstruction, disruption, or the fear of institutional censure, censorship, or retaliation.
This strong commitment to the freedom of inquiry lies at the heart of Amherst College’s mission to create a home in which the liberal arts may flourish. As a small residential liberal arts college that prides itself on the ability, curiosity, and diversity of its students, Amherst seeks to create a respectful environment in which members of its community feel emboldened to pursue their intellectual and creative passions. At times, the desire to foster a climate of mutual respect may test the college’s duty to protect and promote the unfettered exchange of ideas. On such occasions, the college’s obligations remain clear. The liberal arts cannot thrive absent the freedom to espouse and debate ideas that are unpopular, controversial, discomfiting—and even seemingly wrongheaded or offensive. Members of an academic community may and, indeed, should challenge and oppose ideas they find offensive and loathsome. Yet the response to disagreeable and even insulting ideas must not contravene the commitment to expressive freedom that enables the college to thrive as a space of liberal inquiry.
Even the most vigorous defense of intellectual and creative freedom knows limits. The college may properly restrict speech that, for example, is defamatory, harassing, invades a protected right to privacy or confidentiality, constitutes incitement to imminent violence, or otherwise violates the law. It may place reasonable limitations on the time, place, and manner of expression, and may restrict speech that directly interferes with core instructional and administrative functions of the college. But these restrictions and limitations must be understood as narrow exceptions to the college’s overriding commitment to robust open inquiry (voted by the faculty, May 3, 2016).
Amherst College subscribes fully to the AAUP statements of principles on academic freedom published in 1940.
Statement of Intellectual Responsibility (Voted by the Faculty, 1966; amended April, 1987)
Every person's education is the product of his or her intellectual effort and participation in a process of critical exchange. Amherst cannot educate those who are unwilling to submit their own work and ideas to critical assessment. Nor can it tolerate those who interfere with the participation of others in the critical process. Therefore, the College considers it a violation of the requirements of intellectual responsibility to submit work that is not one's own or otherwise to subvert the conditions under which academic work is performed by oneself or by others.
Article 1. Student Responsibility
Section 1. In undertaking studies at Amherst College, every student agrees to abide by the above statement.
Section 2. Students shall receive a copy of the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility with their initial course schedule at the beginning of each semester. It is the responsibility of each student to read and understand this statement and to inquire as to its implications in his or her specific course.
Section 3. Orderly and honorable conduct of examinations is the individual and collective responsibility of the students concerned in accordance with the above Statement and Article 2, Section 3, below.
Article 1. Faculty Responsibility
Section 1. Promotion of the aims of the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility is a general responsibility of the Faculty.
Section 2. Every member of the Faculty has a specific responsibility to explain the implications of the statement for each of his or her courses, including a specification of the conditions under which academic work in those courses is to be performed. At the beginning of each semester members of the Faculty will receive with their initial class lists a copy of the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility and a reminder of the duty to explain its implications in each course.
Section 3. Examinations shall not be proctored unless an instructor judges that the integrity of the assessment process is clearly threatened. An instructor may be present at examinations at appropriate times to answer questions.
Statement on Freedom of Expression and Dissent (Voted by the Faculty, 1968)
Amherst College prizes and defends freedom of speech and dissent. It affirms the right of teachers and students to teach and learn, free from coercive force and intimidation and subject only to the constraints of reasoned discourse and peaceful conduct. It also recognizes that such freedom and rights entail responsibility for one's actions. Thus, the College assures and protects the rights of its members to express their views so long as there is neither use nor threat of force nor interference with the rights of others to express their views. The College considers disruption of classes (whether, for example, by the abridgment of free expression in a class or by obstructing access to the place in which the class normally meets) or of other academic activities to be a serious offense that damages the integrity of an academic institution.
Statement of Student Rights (Voted by the Faculty April, 1987; Amended March, 1998)
Subject to respect for the rights of others, every student enjoys the assurance of the full exercise of those rights expressed in the Honor Code and the preceding three statements, including but not limited to the following specific rights:
- The right to engage in the free exchange of ideas.
- The right to protest and to dissent in a peaceable manner and to join with others in other nonviolent forms of common action.
- The right to complain of injustice and to bring grievances to the appropriate offices of the College without fear of retaliation.
- The right to attend functions and to utilize College facilities subject to prescribed rules.
- The right to reasonable peace and quiet in residential and academic facilities and to an atmosphere conducive to work and study.
- The right to privacy in one's assigned room, subject to compliance with the College's regulations and to the security of one's own property and property furnishing the common and public spaces at the College.
- The right, when participating in any aspect of life of the College or traveling among the Five Colleges, to be free from harassment for reasons of one's race, religion, national origin, ethnic identification, age, political affiliation and/or belief, sexual orientation, sex, or physical disability.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
In Massachusetts, the legal definition for sexual harassment is:
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when
(a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions;
(b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.
Under these definitions, direct or implied requests by a supervisor for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job benefits such as favorable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment constitutes sexual harassment. For purposes of this policy, senior faculty may be considered to be in a supervisory relationship with junior faculty. Faculty of all ranks may also be in a supervisory relationship with staff and students.
The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad. In addition to the examples above, other sexually oriented conduct that, whether intended to be or not, is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a work place environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating or humiliating to male or female employees may also constitute sexual harassment.
While it is not possible to list all of the circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct that, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness:
- Unwelcome sexual advances - whether or not they involve physical touching;
- Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one's sex life, comment on an individual's body, comments about an individual's sexual activity, deficiencies or prowess;
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;
- Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;
- Inquiries into one's sexual experiences;
- Discussion of one's sexual activities.
All employees should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or who has cooperated with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the College.
Complaints of Sexual Harassment
If any employee believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, the employee has the right to make use of all the established procedures of the College, including the filing of a complaint. This may be done in writing or orally.
Any employee who wishes to file a complaint may do so by contacting the Director of Human Resources, 79 South Pleasant Street, Suite 200, telephone 542-2372; or the Dean of the Faculty, 103 Converse Hall, telephone 542-2334; or the the Title IX Coordinator, 105-E Converse Hall, telephone 542-5707. These persons as well as Michael Stephens, Ombudsperson, 117 Valentine Hall, telephone 542-5156 are also available to discuss any concerns an employee may have and to provide information about the College's policy on sexual harassment and its complaint procedures under the employee's applicable Handbook.
Sexual Harassment Investigation
When the College receives notice of conduct, which appears to be sexual harassment, it will promptly investigate the allegation in a fair and expeditious manner. The investigation will be conducted in accordance with the College's customary procedures and in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances and permissible by law. The investigation may, as appropriate, include private interviews with the person filing the complaint, with witnesses, and with the person alleged to have committed sexual harassment. When the investigation is completed the person filing the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the conduct will be informed, to the extent appropriate, of the results of the investigation.
Appropriate Response/Disciplinary Action
If it is determined that an employee has been engaged in inappropriate conduct, appropriate action will be taken immediately, using the College's established procedures, to fulfill its obligation under the law to promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Such action may range from counseling to termination of employment, and may include such other forms of disciplinary action as appropriate under the College's procedures.
State and Federal Remedies
In addition to the above, employees who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment may file a formal compliant with either or both of the government agencies below. Using the Colleges' internal complaint process does not prohibit filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a specific time period for filing a claim. The time frame for both the EEOC and the MCAD is 300 days from the date of occurrence.
|The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)|
|John F. Kennedy Federal Building|
|475 Government Center|
|Boston, MA 02203|
|(617) 565-3200, (800) 669-4000|
|The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)|
|Boston Office:||Springfield Office:|
|One Ashburton Place, Room 601||436 Dwight Street, Room 220|
|Boston, MA 02108||Springfield, MA 01103|
|(617) 727-3990||(413) 739-2145|
The entire community's cooperation helps to ensure that high-quality E-Resources remain available for the many endeavors of the College and its constituents.
This Policy applies to all persons who access or use the College's E-Resources (referred to in this Policy as "users"), including without limitation the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and guests of:
- Amherst College,
- The Folger Shakespeare Library,
- The Emily Dickinson Museum,
- Other Five College institutions (Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst), and
- Five Colleges, Inc.
This Policy applies to all information-technology and other electronic resources of the College ("E-Resources"), including without limitation:
- All computers, systems, equipment, software, networks, and computer facilities owned, managed, or maintained by the College for the handling of data, voice, television, telephone, or related signals or information;
- Any access or use of the College's electronic resources from a computer or other system not controlled or maintained by the College; and,
- The creation, processing, communication, distribution, storage, and disposal of information under the College's control.
In addition, members of the Amherst College community may have access to third-party electronic resources through their affiliation with the College, including the resources of other Five College institutions (Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst), of Five Colleges, Inc., or of any other contracting party of the College. Use of these resources by members of the Amherst College community is governed by this Policy and any applicable policy or restriction of the third-party provider.
The staff of the Amherst College Information Technology department ("IT Staff") is responsible for the administration of this policy.
The College makes E-Resources available to support its academic and administrative goals, and uses of E-Resources to advance those goals take precedence over all others.
Within the College community, each person will have differing purposes for using and accessing E-resources; however, each person also has a shared responsibility to utilize those E-resources appropriately and to protect the resources from unauthorized access or use.
E-Resources may be used only for the purposes authorized by the College. These purposes generally comprise work, study, research, service, or student residential activities consistent with the College's mission and priorities.
Amherst recognizes that many users participate in outside academic and professional activities that naturally complement the users' on-campus commitments and enhance their contributions to the College. For example, faculty and staff are active in learned societies, professional associations, academic conferences, the preparation of scholarly publications, and other educational institutions' tenure or departmental reviews, occasionally with incidental compensation. Use of E-Resources in connection with such activities is generally acceptable as long as the activities are otherwise consistent with Amherst's mission and policies. The College also acknowledges that limited personal use of E-Resources is compatible with the type of community that the College fosters in support of its broader goals. Such personal use, except by enrolled Amherst students, must be incidental at most and may not cause the College to incur additional costs. Above all, use of E-Resources for outside or personal purposes is always a privilege, not a right, and may not interfere with use for College purposes.
All use of E-Resources must comply with:
- all College policies, procedures, and codes of conduct, including those found in the student, faculty, and employee handbooks;
- all laws and regulations applicable to the user or the College; and,
- all relevant licenses and other contractual commitments of the College, as modified from time to time.
E-Resources may not be used, committed, or made available, without prior authorization of the Chief Information Officer in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty and the Treasurer, for:
- any ongoing business or other commercial activity not administered by the College;
- the benefit of persons or organizations other than the College; or
- political or lobbying activities unless approved by the Office of Public Affairs.
The College has sole authority to determine what uses of E-Resources are proper and may prohibit or discipline use deemed inconsistent with this Policy or other applicable standards of conduct.
The College may send official correspondence to members of its community via electronic mail. Students, faculty, and staff, are expected to check their @amherst.edu email account regularly and are responsible for College information sent there. College employees are expected to use their Amherst College email account for all College-related communications. If a student elects to forward his/her @amherst.edu email to another email account, the student remains responsible for any material not received because of any defect in the forwarding mechanism or the destination account.
Accounts and Access Restrictions
User IDs and passwords are the primary method used to authenticate users of the College's E-Resources. They help prevent unauthorized access to E-Resources or any restricted information found within them. Users may not share their passwords with any other person and must protect them from disclosure by, for example, changing them regularly, monitoring access to their accounts, and contacting the College's IT Staff if they suspect their passwords have been compromised. Users may be held responsible for all activity conducted using their IDs. Users must select strong passwords (meaning passwords composed of a mix of at least eight numbers, letters, and symbols and not including a word commonly found in a dictionary, or as required by the system at the time of creation). No person, including any member of the IT Staff, is authorized to request any user's password.
All users must protect the College's E-Resources from unauthorized access. Specifically, all users must:
- Take responsibility for the security and integrity of information stored on any personal or assigned desktop, laptop, or handheld system;
- Take care to access E-Resources only from secure environments and to log out of sessions before leaving any computer unattended;
- Take all appropriate precautions when accessing confidential or restricted College data to protect the data from unauthorized disclosures and from threats to its accuracy or integrity;
- Comply with requests from the IT Staff and other authorized personnel to cease use of E-Resources that compromises the E-Resources or the College; and,
- Cooperate with system administrators during investigations of improper use.
- Extend the network by introducing a hub, switch, router, wireless access point, or any other service or device that permits more than one device to connect to any College network;
- Provide any other person with E-Resources or access to them;
- Send e-mail chain letters or mass mailings for purposes other than authorized College business;
- Alter, remove, or forge email headers, addresses, or messages, or otherwise impersonate or attempt to pass oneself off as another;
- Obtain E-Resources beyond those allocated to the user, seek or gain access to data or user accounts for which the user is not authorized, or eavesdrop or intercept transmissions not intended for the user;
- Use the College's Internet or other network access in a malicious manner or to alter or destroy any material which the user is not authorized to alter or destroy;
- Tamper with, modify, damage, alter, or attempt to defeat restrictions or protection placed on accounts or any E-Resources; or
- Damage computer or network systems; create or intentionally introduce or propagate computer viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, or other malicious code to any E-Resource; attempt to degrade the performance of the system or to deprive authorized users of E-Resources or access to E-Resources.
Users must respect intellectual-property rights, including copyrights, in all use of College E-Resources. All use of content, including text, images, music, and video, retrieved from E-Resources or stored, transmitted or maintained using E-Resources, must comply with copyright and other applicable laws. Copied material, used legally, must be given attribution in conformance with applicable legal and professional standards.
Software may be copied, installed, or used on College E-Resources only as permitted by the software's owner or authorized licensor and by law. Proprietary software must be properly licensed, and users must strictly adhere to all applicable license provisions (including those concerning installation, use, copying, and the number of simultaneous users).
Respect for Others
Users must honor the rights of others to privacy, academic freedom, and freedom from harassment. Users may not use E-Resources to threaten or harass any person or to create a hostile place to work or study. In particular, users must honor others' requests for the user to stop sending unwanted communications of any kind.
Users may not do anything to interfere inappropriately with others' use of E-Resources, including by consuming E-Resources in excess.
Users' Expectation of Privacy
The College recognizes the importance of privacy in an academic setting and does not routinely monitor a current user's email, data, software, or other online activity. There are limited circumstances, however, in which the College may access, monitor, limit and/or disclose a user’s communications or other data on eResources without the user’s permission. These circumstances include the following:
- To maintain the integrity of its systems, network or data;
- When required by federal, state or local law, administrative rules, court order or other legal authority;
- To preserve the health and safety of individuals or the Amherst College community;
- When there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of law or a significant breach of College policy may have taken place and access, inspection or monitoring may produce evidence related to the possible misconduct; or
- To address a legitimate business need.
Such College access to a user’s communications or other data on eResources without the user’s permission will occur only with the approval of the President or Provost and the Dean of the Faculty (for faculty), Director of Human Resources (for administrators and staff) or Dean of Students (for students). In cases of emergency where necessary to preserve the integrity of the system, comply with laws or other legal authority, or preserve health and safety, the College may access, monitor, limit and/or
disclose a user’s communications or other data on eResources without seeking the above-described
permission. In that instance, the Chief Information Officer or designee will log any emergency access for
review by the President or Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Director of Human Resources or Dean of
Students, as the case may be.
Finally, the College cannot guarantee the security of those eResources against unauthorized access or
Authorized employees of the College, including the IT Staff charged with the daily administration of the College's E-Resources, may:
- Take all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the availability and integrity of E-Resources, including blocking any user's access to E-Resources;
- Reject or destroy e-mail messages, e-mail attachments, and other files suspected of being spam or containing malicious code, such as viruses and worms;
- Exercise administrative authority over networks, systems, or software in order to grant users access to read, write, edit, or delete information in files or databases, to establish security controls and protection for information and E-Resources, or to address claims that intellectual-property or other rights have been violated;
- Employ a variety of security monitoring devices and tools to identify misuse or unauthorized use of E-Resources;
- With the approval of the Chief Information Officer or the Director of Systems and Networking, temporarily shut off the College's Internet connection, servers, or services, without prior notice, in order to protect College systems, data, and users or to protect other important interests of the College;
- Temporarily or permanently terminate users' use of E-Resources to investigate or remedy any threat to E-Resources or violation of this Policy; and,
- Exercise administrative rights over certain E-Resources, if those rights are delegated by the IT Staff.
The E-Resources and anything accessible on or through them are made available "as is" and "as available." The College makes no guarantee that any E-Resource will be free of objectionable matter, errors, defects, bugs, viruses, worms, "Trojan horses," or other destructive features. The College is not responsible for any harm arising from E-Resources or users' reliance on them, nor is it responsible for any third-party content accessed using College E-Resources, including content made available by another College user or any third party.
This Policy is not a complete statement of the College's rights or remedies, and nothing in this Policy waives any of those rights or remedies, including any rights in or to the E-Resources.
Changes to this Policy
The College reserves the right to change this Policy at any time. The College will post the most up-to-date version of the Policy on the College web site and may, in its discretion, provide users with additional notice of significant changes. A user's continued use of any E-Resources after any changes are published binds the user to the revised Policy.
This policy covers all members of the Board of Trustees and honarary trustees that participate in board and committee meetings, Officers and certain employees (as determined by the Conflict of Interest Review Committee, described in Section 3) of Amherst College (the "College"). Further, it is intended to serve as a guide to all persons employed by the College, regardless of position.
Trustees and others with significant responsibilities for the College have a fiduciary duty of loyalty to the College. At all times they should act in a manner consistent with this fiduciary obligation and shall exercise particular care that no detriment to the interests of the College (or the appearance of such detriment) may result from a conflict between those interests and any personal interests which the individual may have.
Conflicts of interest may arise, for example, through the ownership, direct or indirect, of a financial or other interest (including that of a creditor or debtor) in an organization supplying goods or services to the College; the performance of services to other organizations which do business with the College; the receipt or acceptance of benefits from any organization doing, or seeking to do business with the College; or participation in or taking advantage of any business opportunity or activity in which the College has an interest. Employees covered by this policy are expressly prohibited from using their employment position to gain favorable or preferential access to vendors, investment advisors, or organizations for their own benefit.
All individuals covered by this policy shall complete and file a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement with the Secretary of the Board of Trustees (the "Secretary") annually. In order to aid in completing the statement, the College will prepare a list of certain companies that had transactions with the College in the prior year and a list of investments held at the end of the fiscal year.
In the period between the filing of the annual statements, if an individual covered by this policy believes that he or she may have a conflict of interest with respect to this policy or any particular transaction, he or she shall promptly and fully disclose the potential conflict to the Secretary and shall refrain from participating in any transactions or decisions of the College that may be impaired by the potential conflict until its review and conclusion by the Conflict of Interest Review Committee.
The College is aware that it may not be possible to completely avoid all relationships between those individuals covered by this policy and certain third parties that the College transacts with. One of the keys to evaluating the potential conflict is full disclosure. No Trustee, Officer or employee shall be disqualified from holding office by reason of any interest.
3. Disclosure Review
The Secretary will accumulate all disclosure statements and furnish them to the Conflict of Interest Review Committee. This three-member committee is comprised of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Trustee to be named by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Secretary will be responsible for ensuring compliance by the full population covered by this policy and report to the Conflict of Interest Review Committee those individuals failing to furnish and annual statement.
4. Conflict Resolution
In all instances where the Conflict of Interest Review Committee determines that a conflict of interest does exits, such conflicts, and their remedy, shall be disclosed to the Board of Trustees at the next meeting. The Conflict of Interest committee will report to the Board at least annually in any case.
In general, when those covered by this policy are deemed to be in a conflict of interest situation with respect to any matter before the Board of administration, that individual shall refrain from participating in the consideration of any proposed transaction which may be impaired by the potential conflict, unless specifically requested to provide information regarding the transaction in question. Such person shall not vote on or take any position for or against the proposed transaction. When deemed appropriate, a notification shall be made in the minutes of the meeting that the person involved neither participated in the consideration of the proposed transaction nor voted on the matter.
The individual disclosure statements shall be held confidential by the Secretary and the Conflict of Interest Review Committee. The Statements shall be open for inspection by the public only: (a) by official action of the Board of Trustees upon showing a good cause; (b) with the consent of the person who submitted the data which is to be disclosed; (c) by court order; or (d) as otherwise required by Massachusetts or federal law or regulation.
The provisions of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989 require Amherst College, as a recipient of federal financial aid and grants and contracts, to adopt and implement programs to prevent the use, possession, or distribution of illicit drugs and unlawful use of alcohol by employees and students. An annual communication piece is required to reemphasize the provisions of the Act and reiterate the College policies regarding maintaining a drug-free workplace. In keeping with the requirements of this amendment, we review our alcohol and other drug policies, programs, and services every two years. A copy of the biennial review is available upon request.
Health Effects and Resources for Help
Drug addiction is a dependence on an illegal drug or a medication. When you're addicted, you may not be able to control your drug use and you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. The use of drugs can cause problems at work, home, school, and in relationships, leaving you feeling isolated, helpless, or ashamed. Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal, and is characterized by impaired control over drinking, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortion in thinking, most notably denial.
Please visit our e4 webpage to learn more about drug and alcohol abuse, its effects, symptoms and help to deal with the addiction. A quick search with the keywords “alcohol” or “drugs” will provide you a list of links with information and resources, including articles, guides, videos, and more. Please visit e4 health
Username: Amherst College
The College is committed to providing a drug-free, healthy, and safe environment for all faculty and staff. Employees who need help with substance abuse problems and co-workers/family members of substance abusers are encouraged to use the services provided by our Employee Assistance Program, available through e4 Health at 800-828-6025. Our Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans also provide resources and benefits to help cope with substance abuse related problems, at 877-586-2583. Additional support and assistance is available through local 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous at 413-532-2111, or Narcotics Anonymous at 866-624-3578. All contacts with these providers and organizations are strictly confidential.
The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance, and the unlawful possession or use of alcoholic beverages on campus is prohibited. If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken and sanctions imposed. The sanctions available to the College include warning, probation, suspension, or termination of employment or referral to government authority for prosecution. The College may require satisfactory completion of an appropriate drug or alcohol abuse assistance or rehabilitation program before reinstatement or continued employment.
Federal, State and Local Sanctions
Legal penalties for violation of applicable local, state, or federal laws range from probation and forfeiture of property to fines and imprisonment. For example, the sanctions against an individual for distribution of, or possession with intent to distribute, controlled substances can be from a minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment to a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines up to $4 million. Sanctions can increase for repeat offenders or for offenses resulting in death or serious bodily harm and can be doubled for each of the following occurrences: distribution to persons under 21 years of age, distribution within 1,000 feet of a college or university or employing someone under 18 in the distribution. Attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime can be treated as severely as the intended offense. As of Sept. 1, 1989, conviction for violation of any state or federal drug law can lead to ineligibility for any federal benefit (including grants and loans).
For additional details regarding sanctions under federal law, see: http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ftp3.shtml.
For additional details regarding sanctions under Massachusetts law, see:
- M.G.L. Chapter 90, Section 24: Driving While Under Influence of Intoxicating Liquor (available at: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Section24)
- M.G.L. Chapter 94C: Controlled Substances Act (available at: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXV/Chapter94C)
- M.G.L. Chapter 138: Alcoholic Liquors (available at: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter138)
Please visit the following link to familiarize yourself with the College’s alcohol and drug policy:
It is important to note that any person who violates the College’s Drug and Alcohol Policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Please take the time to review the act and the College policies in the link provided, and contact us at ext. 2372 if you have questions.
Depending upon the magnitude of the emergency, the Incident Commander for Amherst College or the Town of Amherst is responsible for the series of actions taken during an emergency. These actions shall generally reflect the steps specified in the appropriate Emergency Plan, modified appropriately for the circumstances. Specific Emergency Plans can be found at the Amherst College Police Department. All personnel involved in type specific emergency management shall be trained in and familiar with the following applicable policies and procedures.
Emergency Operations Center
The Services Building at Amherst College is the primary Emergency Operation Center (EOC). The Services building contains the Communications Center of the Campus Police, the Service Center of Physical Plant, sufficient conference space, and numerous resources such as maps, diagrams, directories, and technical data. In addition, the Services Building has an emergency power supply for communications and lighting.
In the event of an emergency both the Campus Police Communications Center and the Service Desk must be kept operational. The Campus Police and Physical Plant radio repeaters are located in Johnson Chapel and are be powered by a single emergency electrical source. A generator is in place for this purpose.
Should the Services Building be negatively affected, the EOC should be moved to an alternative site: Porter Lounge, Converse Hall.
Succession of Authority
The Succession of Authority is addressed in the specific incident flow chart, which is located in the Amherst College Police Department. Incident Commanders should be aware of the fact that many outside resources: local fire, police, state police, EMS, etc., will gravitate to the uniformed Campus Police Officer on scene. It shall be the responsibility of that officer to act as a liaison with these agencies and encourage direct communication with the Incident Commander. The Incident Commander shall wear a vest with the legend "Amherst College Incident Commander" so as to identify him/her to internal and external agencies and departments.
The overall security of an incident scene shall be the responsibility of the Campus Police Department. Campus Police Officers have the authority to evacuate a building based on threat to life safety. Campus Police Officers, or Incident Commanders, also have the authority to deny access to facilities should there be evidence of a crime that may be disturbed.
Incident Commanders may require additional police officers to secure a scene when necessary. Incident Commanders also have the authority to evacuate incident scenes. The Incident Commander may deny access should he/she be aware of life safety issues that may be present.
The Incident Commander or Campus Police Officer may require facilities, or portions thereof, closed or the evacuation of portions or the entirety of the campus.
There may be times when outside agencies will be required to respond to an Amherst College emergency. The contacting of local fire, EMS or police shall be done through the Campus Police Communications Center. Should the Amherst Fire Department be requested to the campus for an incident involving explosion, fire, or mass casualties, the highest ranking officer with that department shall assume the role of Incident Commander, regardless of the identity of the current Emergency Coordinator for the College.
The contacting of support agencies such as contractors, suppliers, etc., shall be done by the Service Desk during normal business hours. During off hours contact may be made, at the request of the Incident Commander, by the Campus Police Communications Center. The Incident Commander may request additional Communications Personnel if needed. If Communications is unable to make the necessary calls, the Logistics Officer may make the calls at the direction of the Incident Commander.
Should local Fire, EMS or Police agencies respond, it is the responsibility of the Incident Commander to facilitate the exchange of information and provide required resources? The Amherst College Incident Commander should be prepared to turn control of operations over to the Governmental Incident Commander as required by law or agreement in some situations.
The Incident Commander should assign a person to record keeping during all incidents. This person shall keep detailed, chronological records of all actions taken, supplies and equipment requested and obtained, all persons present and any deviations from this policy. Until such person arrives on scene and takes over record keeping, the records and recordings of the Campus Police Department shall be used. Incident Commanders should transmit all requests, orders, and important details to the Campus Police Communications Center over the recorded police radio frequency or recorded police telephone lines.
To facilitate communications, Incident Commanders must be able to converse with Police Officers and Communications on the Campus Police Frequency. Campus Police also keep a cellular telephone at the Campus Police Office for use during an emergency. Portable radios may also be loaned from Campus Police Communications in emergencies.
Community Warning and Communication
Whenever possible, prior notification of emergencies or disasters that may affect the college community should be made on any or all of the following avenues:
- Email bulletin to all College Email Addresses
- Broadcast message to all College Voice Mail Boxes
- Radio announcements on WAMH and/or WHMP
- Site specific postings in buildings
- Notification to Contractors by the Physical Plant Liaison
Media relations shall be handled by the Director of Public Affairs or his/her designee. The Director of Public Affairs shall consult with the Incident Commander for appropriate information to release to the media. The Director of Public Affairs shall provide an area for media to congregate away from the affected area. NO media shall be allowed in an affected area without the express permission of the Incident Commander.
Counseling and Support
Emergencies can impact emotional and spiritual needs for both those affected by an incident and those responding to the event. For those reasons, the Amherst College Director of the Counseling Center and the Coordinator of Religious Life are a part of the College’s Emergency Management Team. Counseling and Spiritual services will be evaluated and established by these titles. Sufficient space and the necessary resources will be made available in close proximity to the incident.
It shall be the responsibility of the Amherst College Incident Commander, Emergency Director or the appointed logistics officer in the Command Staff to initiate the response of this resource through the Amherst College Emergency Dispatch Center.
Primary emergency communications shall take place on the Campus Police frequency. Once Incident Command has been established, the Incident Commander should maintain communications on both the Campus Police and Physical Plant frequencies. The Incident Commander must have a scanning radio capable of monitoring both frequencies. Not all communications should take place on either frequency. Those communications having to do with life safety, site security, or criminal activity should take place on the Campus Police frequency. Should the Service Desk not be staffed and a telephone not be available, the Incident Commander may make requests for resources over the Campus Police frequency.
The following methods of communication must be available in the Emergency Operations Center, and in the alternative site:
- Two way radio
- FAX machine
- computer networking
Anyone may activate an emergency evacuation of a facility. The decision to evacuate the College et al will be made by the Emergency Director or his/her designee. Life safety is a priority when engaging the evacuation process.
Evacuation procedures will mirror current fire alarm procedures, including assembly of staff in an area where all may be accounted for. The sole exception to this is case of a bomb threat or discovery of a bomb, where fire alarm pull stations should not be activated. In many cases, the evacuation of a building may be accomplished by activation of the Fire Alarm System. Supervisors must account for members of their staff in a common assembly area once an evacuation is initiated.
All means of egress, and components thereof, shall be checked regularly by Campus Police and Physical Plant. All means of egress shall be kept clear, accessible and functional.
Several facilities on campus have been identified as emergency shelters. Depending on the geographic area and the type of the incident, persons may be relocated to one of the following as determined by the Amherst College Incident Commander:
- Valentine Hall
- The Cage at Alumni Gym
- Moore Dorm
- Morrow Dorm
- Pratt Dorm
Staging Areas for Resources
The following areas have been identified as possible staging areas for emergency vehicles, contractor vehicles, earth moving equipment, waste management equipment, etc. The area used will be dependent upon the emergency and it is possible that both may be used, one for emergency vehicles and one for service vehicles. These areas were chosen as being accessible to the majority of the campus without crossing municipal roadways and being out of the general flow of traffic.
- The Quadrangle Roadway from South Pleasant Street to the Freshman Quadrangle
- South Amherst College Drive, which is the roadway parallel to the Tennis Courts between East Drive and the Gym.
Staging will be prioritized by the Amherst Fire Department Staging Officer, if he/she is on scene. Otherwise, staging priorities shall be assigned by the College Incident Commander or Emergency Director.
Terminating an Incident
An incident will be considered terminated upon the determination of the Emergency Director or Incident Commander that no state of emergency still exists and that normal operations may resume, excepting buildings that may remain closed for extended periods for repair or overhaul.
Last Updated: July 23, 2007
Amherst College (the “College”) requires all employees (including faculty) to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. The College is committed to compliance with the laws and regulations to which it is subject and to promulgating College policies and procedures to interpret and apply these laws and regulations in the College setting. The College’s internal controls and operating procedures are intended to detect and prevent or deter improper activities. However, even the best systems of control cannot provide absolute safeguards against irregularities.
The College provides various mechanisms to assist and encourage employees to come forward in good faith with reports or concerns about suspected compliance issues. The College encourages this reporting of suspected wrongdoing on a timely basis.
Students are directed to use the other means available to them for reporting wrongdoing at the College, including the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office is physically located in Converse Hall and can be contacted at ext. 2337.
2. Whistle-Blower Policy
Although the College encourages employees to report concerns to their immediate supervisor or the departments noted in Section 8 below, there are times when an employee may feel it is necessary to report a concern of financial wrongdoing outside of the traditional reporting mechanism. The College has adopted a whistle-blower policy for these instances. The Whistle-Blower Policy allows allegations to be made outside of the immediate area that the suspected employee is associated with and allows for a degree of confidentiality for the reporting person, if requested.
This Whistle-Blower Policy governs only the reporting and investigation of suspected violations of law, external regulations or College policy of a financial nature or misuse of College resources. Such violations may include, but are not limited to, theft or inappropriate use of cash or other College property, falsification of hours worked for payroll purposes and inappropriate spending of cash through the accounts payable process. The policy is not intended and may not be used for personal or employment grievances, general compensation and benefit complaints, opinions on policy, etc.
To make a report under this policy an employee is required to complete and sign a Whistle-Blower Disclosure Statement which is located in the office, and on the webpage, of the Ombudsperson. Reporting of the violation can be made through the Ombudsperson as follows:
In Person – Employees may visit the office of the Ombudsperson during its standard operating hours to file a report, or make arrangements for an appointment during non-standard operating hours. The office of the Ombudsperson is located in Valentine Hall and can be contacted at ext. 5156.
Mail – Employees may send to the office of the Ombudsperson a completed Whistle- Blower Disclosure Statement. The employee should understand that he/she may need to visit the office of the Ombudsperson to answer any questions from the review of the statement. The mailbox of the Ombudsperson is AC# 1920.
Employees should be aware that the filing of the statement noted above acknowledges their understanding that an investigation may commence.
Since successful investigations are many times based upon timely evidence, reports under this policy should be made as soon as possible, preferably within six months of the occurrence, but in any event within one year. An individual may use other means outside of this policy (see Section 8 of this policy) to report a suspected employee after the one year period.
Filing under the Whistle-Blower Policy differs from other interactions with the Ombudsperson. Under the Whistle-Blower Policy an investigation will commence if deemed necessary by the College upon its knowledge of the circumstances. Please see the Ombudsperson webpage for additional guidance on other interactions with this resource.
3. Protection from Retaliation
An employee who in good faith reports a suspected violation of law or College policy shall not suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence from other employees or the College. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a suspected violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. Any employee who believes that he/she has been retaliated against after making a good faith report may report this alleged retaliation to the Director of Human Resources or Treasurer.
4. Confidentiality Under the Whistle-Blower Policy
Confidentiality of the reporter will be maintained to the extent practicable within the limitations of the law, College policy and the legitimate needs of the investigation. In addition, employees submitting a report should be aware that their public testimony might be needed to prove the case against the suspected employee.
Although an employee’s report may possess merit, comments made to others regarding another employee could constitute defamation, invasion of privacy or other grounds for civil liability. Employees should not discuss allegations outside of the reporting and investigation process. This is especially the case should the investigation prove that the suspected employee’s actions were lawful or within College policy.
Note that if an employee self-discloses his or her identity directly or indirectly through his or her own actions outside of the official investigation process, the College is not obligated to maintain confidentiality.
5. Investigation Under the Whistle-Blower Policy
The Ombudsperson will maintain the Whistle-Blower Disclosure Statements received in her/his office until the outcome of the investigation. The Ombudsperson will not actively participate in an investigation, but will refer the allegation to the appropriate office (dependent on the specific circumstances, but typically to the Treasurer or Dean of the Faculty, the Director of Human Resources and the Director of the applicable office of the suspected employee). The investigator/investigation team has access to all resources of the College and external counsel to ensure a fair and accurate resolution to the alleged violation.
The investigator/investigation team is responsible for documenting its investigation and its rationale for the resolution. That document will be attached to the original Whistle-Blower Disclosure Statement and reside in the office of the Ombudsperson during the investigation. The investigation is closed when the Ombudsperson has deemed the investigation is complete and a resolution is reached by the investigator/investigation team. Documents and evidence relating to a closed investigation will remain in the College’s files in the Human Resources Department.
6. Results When Report Made Under the Whistle-Blower Policy
If the result of the investigation is that the allegation is not satisfactorily established, the investigation will be deemed complete. An employee whose claim is deemed unsatisfactory has the opportunity to communicate directly with the Office of Human Resources outside of this policy to further pursue his or her claim.
If the investigation establishes that a violation of law, external regulation or College policy occurred, the Treasurer or Dean of the Faculty, the Director of Human Resources and the Director of the applicable office of the investigated employee will determine appropriate action based upon law and College policy. This decision will be reported to the Ombudsperson in writing and attached to the original Disclosure Statement. An individual who has been deemed to have committed an act in violation of law or College policy will have access to the grievance process of the College described in the employee handbook.
Whistle-Blower Disclosure Statements and related documentation will be delivered to the Audit Committee (Board of Trustees subcommittee) chairperson at the time of each Board Meeting on the Amherst Campus. The Audit Committee chairperson will review these documents and communicate with the Ombudsperson at least once annually to discuss this general policy and any specific occurrences.
7. Sanctions for a False Report
A report made under this policy can have considerable impact on the personal and professional lives of those charged both during the investigation and long term. An employee shall not intentionally misuse the College’s Whistle-Blower Policy and procedures. Intentional misuse includes, but is not limited to, frivolous claims, attempts to treat a personal grievance or personnel dispute as an allegation of wrongdoing, lack of good faith in invoking the policy or any known false, malicious or misleading statements made at any time under the procedures of the policy. The College Ombudsperson (when involved) will report to the Director of Human Resources, the Director of the applicable office of the employee and the President the identity of any employee who is believed to have intentionally misused the Whistle-Blower Policy. After appropriate review by these individuals, excluding the Ombudsperson, the employee is subject to discipline up to and including termination.
8. General Reporting Outside of the Whistle-Blower Policy
All employees are encouraged to report suspected violations of law or College policy directly to his/her supervisor, outside of the Whistle-Blower Policy. If the employee feels unable to do so or if there is any reason why this may not be appropriate, the employee should raise the issue with the department chair, dean, director or other College official/office having responsibility for overseeing compliance with the particular policy or procedure in accordance with the guidance below:
In the event of any claim made outside of the Whistle-Blower Policy concerning conflicts of interest, financial misconduct, inappropriate expenditure of funds, questionable internal controls and accounting practices, or auditing matters, a report can be made to the Comptroller or Treasurer at ext. 2101.
In the event of any claim concerning discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment) or any other violation of employment policies, a report can be made to the Director of Human Resources at ext. 2372. Individuals can also make a report to the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity for claims of sexual harassment and other diversity issues at ext. 5832.
In the event of any claim of noncompliance of regulations concerning plagiarism, falsification of research results, violation of grant contracts, faculty abuses or other education concerns, a report can be made to the Dean of the Faculty at ext. 2334.
Environmental, Health and Safety
In the event of any claim concerning environmental protection, hazardous conditions, violations of state or federal health or campus safety, a report can be made to the Environmental Health and Safety Manager at ext. 8189.
Misuse of Assets
In the event of any claim made outside of the Whistle-Blower Policy concerning the misuse of supplies, equipment, cash, or other property or the unauthorized use of proprietary data and information, unauthorized use of College intangible property, such as the College emblem or the unauthorized release of personal data, a report can be made to the Comptroller or Treasurer at ext. 2101. Misuse of electronic data can also be reported to the Chief Information Officer at ext. 2180 (see below).
In the event of knowledge regarding the improper use of electronic resources including: computer hardware; computer network and servers; software; data, voice, cable or other related wired or wireless signals of information; the improper handling or use of College electronic data; or any other noncompliance with the College’s Electronic Resources Acceptable Use Policy, a report should be made to the Chief Information Officer at ext. 2180.
Emergencies, Escort, Personal Harm
In the event of bodily injury, medical emergencies, on-campus escort needs, suspicious activity, fire, “Hate Crime” situations or any fear of personal harm to one’s self or others, a report should be made immediately to the Campus Police at ext. 2111.
Employees may also report wrongdoing directly to the College Ombudsperson outside of the Whistle-Blower Policy when the employee is uncomfortable with the procedures noted in this section and desires a neutral environment. The Ombudsperson is available at ext. 5156.