Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

Workplace Conduct

Clark Atlanta University
Code of Conduct




CAU will investigate reported cases of fraudulent or related misuse of University resources or property. Individuals found to have engaged in fraudulent or related misconduct are subject to disciplinary action by the University, which may include dismissal and legal prosecution. Examples of fraud include, but are not limited to, forgery (making or altering documents or computer files with the intent to defraud), purposely inaccurate financial reporting, misuse of University resources, improper handling or reporting of monetary transactions, authorizing or receiving compensation for goods not received or services not performed, authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked, falsifying information on an application for employment, etc.

All questions on fraud or fraudulent behavior should be reported to the Compliance Hotline at (404) 589-8006.

Q: Can I be terminated if I did not answer truthfully on the CAU application for employment?

A: Yes, if your application for employment includes incorrect information, whether it was intentional or not, you may be terminated.

Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy

Clark Atlanta University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The University provides equal employment opportunities to all faculty, staff, students and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, physical handicap, military or status as a Vietnam veteran in compliance with applicable federal and state laws that pertain to nondiscrimination. Such action shall include, but is not limited to, employment, promotion, demotion or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; lay-off or separation; rates of pay or other forms of compensation and selection for training programs.

Clark Atlanta University is committed to providing equal educational opportunity for all qualified student applicants and enrolled students without regard to race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, ancestry, physical handicap, military or marital status. This commitment to equal opportunity includes recruitment, admission, access to and usage of facilities, counseling and testing, financial assistance, placement and curricular programs and activities.

Clark Atlanta University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, marital status, military or status as a Vietnam veteran in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Director of Human Resources
Room 218, Harkness Hall
(404) 880-8050

For the complete University policy on Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy please see section 2.3.2 of the Faculty Handbook or Section 1.0 of the Staff Handbook.

Q: My supervisor recently made inappropriate cultural references that I find offensive. I am extremely uncomfortable with the situation, but fear that the fall out from reporting it would be worse than putting up with the behavior. What can I do?

A: Report the alleged incidents of discrimination to Human Resources. CAU prohibits retaliation or threat of retaliation in any form against employees who have filed discrimination complaints in good faith.

Non-Discrimination Policy Clarification

CAU is committed to maintaining a humane atmosphere in which the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, marital status, physical or mental status, HIV/AIDS status, military or status as a Vietnam veteran of an individual or group are respected and not disparaged. To that end, please find attached CAU’s published policies prohibiting sexual harassment —a form of gender discrimination—and all other forms of unlawful discrimination. The policies are published in the Faculty Handbook, Staff Handbook, Student Handbook, and CAU’s Code of Conduct. Please note that CAU’s policy establishes specific timeframes for initiating and responding to complaints of unlawful discrimination. While CAU believes that adherence to these timeframes affords CAU and the affected parties the best opportunity to promptly, effectively, and fairly resolve the complaint, CAU’s practice has been and will continue to be to investigate any and every complaint of unlawful discrimination that it receives within a reasonable timeframe.

CAU is committed to exercising its best efforts to respond promptly and effectively to complaints of unlawful discrimination and will ensure that once it has notice of unlawful discrimination, it will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate the complaint and take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end any harassment/discrimination, eliminate a hostile environment if one has been created, and prevent harassment/discrimination from occurring again. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Director of Human Resources
Room 218, Harkness Hall
(404) 880-8050

Other Civil Rights/Discrimination/Harassment Complaints

The procedure utilized in the investigation of any complaint of civil rights infringement and discrimination will be the same as those used for the investigation of sexual harassment complaints. The governing principles shall be applicable local, state and federal non-discrimination laws. Examples of the kinds of discrimination/harassment covered are complaints based on race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV/AIDS status.

For more information, please see section of the Faculty Handbook or section 1.2.2 of the Staff Handbook.

Sexual Harassment, Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct

It is the policy of CAU that sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender will not be condoned. As a matter of practice and policy, the University is committed to maintaining an education and working environment free of conduct which degrades or subjugates employees or students. This policy applies equally to all employees and students, and is in keeping with the spirit and intent of Federal guidelines (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) on discrimination because of gender.

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with performance by creating a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment or is an expressed or implied condition of employment. Such behavior will be subject to disciplinary actions up to and including dismissal.

Any complaints relating to this type of misconduct should be reported to the Director of Human Resources immediately. Complaints will be treated confidentially and promptly, and will be carefully investigated.

It is the responsibility of all members of the University community to discourage sexual harassment, report such incidents, and cooperate in any investigation which might result.

For more information, please see section 2.9.3 of the Faculty Handbook or section 1.2 of the Staff Handbook.

Q: During a recent school-sponsored social event held off campus after normal work hours, a colleague of mine made inappropriate statements to me that were sexual in nature. My colleague's behavior made me very uncomfortable, but it occurred outside the workplace after normal work hours. What can I do?

A: Work-related events, such as business travel, or work-sponsored events, even if they are held off campus, are considered extensions of the workplace. You should report the incident to your supervisor.

Q: My supervisor makes remarks containing sexual language clearly directed at me. What can I do?

A: Ask your supervisor to stop the remarks; however, if you do not feel comfortable talking to your supervisor, contact Human Resources.

Policy on HIV/AIDS

CAU recognizes that employees with a life-threatening illness such as HIV/AIDS may wish to continue their employment and, in fact, continued employment may be therapeutically important. As long as employees who have HIV/AIDS are able to maintain acceptable performance standards in accordance with established University policies and procedures, and the weight of the medical evidence continues to indicate that HIV/AIDS cannot be transmitted by casual workplace contact, employees with HIV/AIDS will be permitted to continue to work.

The University has a duty and a responsibility to protect the confidentiality of medical information on all employees.

For more information on CAU's HIV/AIDS policy, please see Section 2.12.5 of the Faculty Handbook or Section 1.9 of the Staff Handbook.

Workplace Health and Safety

The promotion of safety and prevention of accidents is important to the University and it is the responsibility of individual departments or units and each individual to be safety-conscious and to follow safety and security practices in order to minimize the possibility of theft or personal injury. Employees are required to report unsafe working conditions to Human Resources and to wear the appropriate clothes or equipment for tasks which require safety precautions.

Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee who knowingly or unknowingly violates safety regulations that pose a threat to himself or herself, or another member of the University community.

The campus safety manual may be obtained from the Office of Management Services.

For more information on Workplace Health and Safety please see section 2.12.9 of the Faculty Handbook or Section 1.10 of the Staff Handbook.

Q: I accidentally cut my finger on a paper cutter and will most likely need stitches. Do I need to report this to anyone?

A: Yes. You should always report any job-related injury, no matter how small, to your supervisor.

Q: It is unclear to me what I should do in the event of a fire or other emergency that requires evacuating my building. Where do I get this information?

A: Your supervisor can provide you with the evacuation procedures for your work area. It is important that you address the following areas: The type of alarm or announcement, location of emergency exits, how to request assistance in exiting the building and the assembly point for your work group after you have exited the building.

Drug and Weapon-Free Workplace

The unlawful possession of a weapon or the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of a controlled substance in or on any premises or property owned or controlled by CAU is prohibited.

In accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1988, CAU has adopted an antidrug and alcoholism program for its employees. Consistent with the federal mandates prescribed by Congress under the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act, the Board of Trustees of CAU has approved policies designed to educate all students and employees of the effects and consequences of alcohol and illicit drug use.

CAU does not permit or condone illicit or unauthorized possession, use, consumption, sale or distribution of drugs and/or alcohol by its students and employees on its property or as part of its activities. This policy applies to all full-time and part-time regular and temporary employees, including faculty, administration, all exempt and nonexempt staff, and all student employees and interns. Employees and students who violate this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include counseling, mandatory participation in an appropriate rehabilitation program, a warning, placement on strict probation, unpaid suspension from employment, expulsion, discharge and referral to the proper law enforcement authorities.

A safe and secure environment is a fundamental prerequisite for fulfilling the University mission of teaching, research and public service. CAU is committed to maintaining a workplace that is free of violence. While on University-controlled sites and at University-directed activities, employees (other than those persons authorized by the University or federal, state or local governments) are prohibited from introducing, possessing, using, buying or selling weapons, firearms, ammunition explosives or items deemed by campus police to be dangerous.

Any unauthorized employee possessing a weapon will be asked to remove them from campus immediately. They may also be subject to arrest and/or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Q: A co-worker's recent behavior makes me believe he may have a problem with drugs or alcohol. What should I do?

A: All CAU employees are required to report an employee behaving in an unsafe manner. If this is the case, you should report your observations to your supervisor.

Threats and Violence

CAU is committed to providing a work environment that is free from intimidation, threats (direct or implied) or violent acts. The University will not tolerate intimidating, threatening or hostile behavior of any kind. Employees who believe they have been subject to threatening or violent behavior should report the incident to Human Resources.

For more information, please see Sections 1.10 and 5.3.2 (i) of the Staff Handbook.

Q: A colleague in my office is known for his bad temper. Once at a meeting, my colleague was so upset that he threw a stapler across the room in a rage. After a recent disagreement with him about a work-related issue, he waited for me in the parking lot and confronted me in an aggressive manner. He said that I was "not being fair" and that it made him "extremely angry." What should I do?

A: CAU has a no-tolerance policy against intimidating and hostile behavior of this kind. The incident should be reported to Human Resources. A prompt and thorough investigation of the incident will be conducted and appropriate action will be taken.

For more information, please refer to the Public Safety Guide.

Overtime and Timekeeping

Nonexempt employees, or those individuals whose work responsibilities meet the test set forth for this classification by the Fair Labor Standards ACT (FSLA) and are paid on an hourly basis, are required to complete a time report to receive pay. Nonexempt employees are required to maintain complete time-and-leave records to account for hours worked, as well as vacation, sick and/or compensatory leave time. Falsifying a time report is a serious act of misconduct that can lead to discipline up to and including termination.

The University actively discourages nonexempt staff from working more than forty (40) hours per week. In the rare situations where overtime is required, overtime must be approved by the responsible Unit Head and his or her superior. Under no circumstances shall compensatory time be given in lieu of overtime. Systematic and/or prolonged overtime must be approved in advance by the appropriate Vice President with a Personnel Action Form (PAF).

The standard work week for CAU staff employees is thirty-five hours. Employees are paid at the regular pay rate up to 40 hours. All hours worked in excess of forty hours are paid at time and one-half.

For more on overtime pay, please see section 2.5 of the Staff Handbook.

Q: My supervisor directed me to add five hours that I did not work to my time report as recognition for my contribution to an important project. Is that an acceptable form of recognition?

A: No. The time report is an official document that should reflect the actual hours worked by the employee. Falsification of a time report is a fraudulent act that is subject to discipline up to and including termination.

Q: I am a nonexempt employee. I like to get all of my work done each day, so sometimes I come in early and leave late, but I only record eight hours of work on my time card. Is this okay?

A: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, all "hours worked" must be compensated; therefore, all hours worked, including overtime, must be accurately recorded on your time report. In addition, your supervisor must approve, in advance, any overtime hours prior to your working over 40 hours.

Employment of Relatives

CAU permits the employment of qualified relatives of employees as long as such employment does not, in the opinion of the University, create actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Relatives of CAU employees do not receive preferential consideration for employment at the University. For purposes of this policy, "relative" is defined as a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, first cousin, or corresponding in-law or step relation. The University will exercise sound business judgment in the placement of related employees in accordance with the following guideline:

  • Individuals who are related by blood or marriage are not permitted to work in the same department. No employee is permitted to work immediately within the "chain of command" of a relative such that the relative's work responsibilities, salary or career progress could be influenced by other relatives, or any other positions in which the University believes inherent conflict of interest may exist.

  • Employees who marry while employed are treated in accordance with these guidelines. That is, if a conflict or an apparent conflict arises as a result of the marriage, one of the employees will be transferred at the earliest practicable time.

This policy applies to all categories of employment at the University, including regular, temporary, and part-time classifications.

Q: My new external grant includes funding for several part-time positions. As principle investigator and hiring manager, I plan to fill one of those positions by hiring my daughter. Does the University's policy apply to externally funded grant positions too?

A: Yes. The University's policy does not allow an individual to be employed in a department or unit under the immediate supervision of a relative regardless of the source of the funding.


In order to maintain a safe and comfortable working and study environment and to ensure compliance with applicable laws, smoking in University offices and facilities is strictly prohibited. Employees should be familiar with those areas throughout the University premises where smoking is either permitted or prohibited. These areas have been marked. Because the University may be subject to criminal and civil penalties for violations of applicable smoking laws, there must be strict adherence to this policy. Employees smoking in any nonsmoking area will be subject to disciplinary action.

Conflict of Interest

Each employee is expected to conduct himself or herself in such a way that nothing conflicts or appears to conflict with the employee's ability to discharge his or her primary responsibility to the University. Personal investments or activities which create or may appear to create a conflict of interest are not permitted. Employees are expected to test their conduct and its probable effect on the institution in accordance with exacting personal standards of integrity and loyalty. The following common types of potential conflicts, while not an exclusive or exhaustive list, are presented to assist employees in determining what situations may present problems.

Managing a Conflict

CAU requires all employees who influence decisions where a potential conflict of interest exists, to refrain from the conflict or disclose the conflict to a supervisor. Examples of conflicts include: competitive bids, approval of decisions by an employee related to an outside vendor or when an employee has a financial or personal interest in a company hired for a project.

Q: My brother works for a printing company and we asked that his company do work for us. Is this a conflict of interest?

A: You must disclose the business relationship.

University Related Transactions

Administrative officials and employees of the University who are not trustees shall disclose any conflict of interest in any transaction involving the University and shall not use their personal influence in connection with, participate in, or act on the matter.

Outside Employment

Employees should not engage in any outside employment or activities on their time which might adversely affect their job performance with CAU unless approved in advance and in writing by either the Provost or Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Each member of the faculty shall advise the Department Chair and Dean of any activities in which they engage which will or may result in rendering less than full-time service to the University.

For more information, please see section 2.9.6 of the Faculty Handbook or Section 1.1.3 of the Staff Handbook.

Q: I work as an accountant at CAU. I also do bookkeeping for a printing firm that does business with CAU and occasionally with my department. Is there anything wrong with this?

A: Yes. You may not accept employment from any outside company that also does business with CAU if the position will be in conflict with your job duties at CAU. In this case, you may make an error on an invoice submitted from the printing firm that you are responsible for paying in your role as an accountant at CAU.

Family Members

In the event a spouse or an immediate member of the family or someone else close to the employee is a competitor or supplier to CAU or is employed by one, there are several factors to consider. Among them: the relationship between CAU and the other company, the nature of the employee's job at CAU and the other person's job, and the access each of them has to the respective employer's confidential information. Often any risk to CAU's interests is sufficiently remote or can be eliminated by taking every precaution to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of confidential information. In some unusual circumstances, a change in job responsibilities may be necessary.

The University's policy is not to purchase materials or services from University employees or immediate family members. In this way, the University is protected from being involved in conflict-of-interest situations.

Serving Public Bodies or Organizations

CAU employees are encouraged to serve their communities in volunteer activities and as a member of public bodies, such as school boards, city councils, hospital boards, state legislatures, etc., and to represent their constituents to the best of their abilities. There may be circumstances, however, when an issue before such a body affects CAU as well as constituents. Such circumstances, which may pose a conflict of interest for the individual, should be reviewed directly with the Office of General Counsel. An employee should be aware that any situation, however harmless it may appear to him or her, could arouse questions among others. The very appearance of a conflict of interest can create problems despite the best intentions. Therefore, any situation that might result in a conflict or the appearance of a conflict between personal or family interests and the best interests of the University should be avoided.

Financial Interests

CAU employees are prohibited from having a direct or indirect interest, financial or otherwise, in a corporation or business engaging in a professional activity, or incurring an obligation of any nature that is in substantial conflict with or might reasonably tend to influence the discharge of the employee's official duties.

Q: I've been buying stock in a company that does business with CAU. After my next purchase, I'll own more than 10% of the company. Does this pose a problem?

A: Possibly. In addition, if you have the authority to award contracts, select vendors, or influence purchases of goods or services, then you must report your ownership on the financial disclosure and conflict of interest statement.

Whistleblower Protection

Clark Atlanta University will not take any retaliatory action against an employee because the employee discloses, threatens to disclose or is about to disclose to a supervisor or to the Compliance Hotline an activity or practice at the University that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of the institutional policies and procedures, applicable laws, regulations, governmental directives and the like, or is incompatible with appropriate business conduct.