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Human Resources | Employee Handbook: Part III

Part III: PROFESSIONAL NORMS

Date Last Revised: July 1, 2006

A. Confidentiality of Information

B. Public Relations and Representation of Trinity College

C. Work Products

D. References and Other Information About Current and Former Employees

E. Outside Employment and Conflicts of Interest

F. Prohibited Activities

G. Political Activities

H. Personal Use of College Services, Supplies, Equipment, or Facilities

All personnel of Trinity College are professionals who accept responsibilities inherent in employment with a value-centered learning institution that has a distinctive mission and tradition. Trinity expects all employees to respect and uphold the mission and values of the College, and to refrain from any activity that would demean or harm Trinity.

The ethics of professionalism require loyalty to the institution and a willingness to participate in those tasks that advance the mission of the College and strengthen its ability to carry out that mission. Professional ethics also expect an employee to learn as much as possible about Trinity College, to pay attention to news and information about Trinity, to respect and help the students and faculty of Trinity who are engaged in Trinity’s core work of teaching and learning, and to embrace the principle of honor that is a central value of Trinity’s existence.

A.  Confidentiality of Information

Employees have a general obligation of confidentiality about the information they manage on Trinity’s behalf. Those employees who have access to the internal business affairs of the College, including student records, financial information, payroll and personnel information, gift records, alumnae records and all other information about the people and business affairs of Trinity have an obligation to treat that information as confidential and limited to the purposes for which the information is generated. Any employee who discloses confidential information to any person who does not have a right to the information, including other employees or students, may incur disciplinary action including termination.

Trinity’s general policies on the use of technology and telecommunications are embodied in that policy statement. Trinity recognizes that technology exposes information to access and dissemination in ways that may not be anticipated or controlled. If an employee finds that he or she has gained access to information that is not normally included in the scope of employment, that employee is expected to notify the appropriate supervisor and to take those steps that are appropriate to re-secure the information. Any misuse of information received by mistake, or any tampering with the computer and information system, falsification of passwords or other actions that obtain, or attempt to obtain, information without authorization will result in immediate termination.

Each office that manages information is responsible to establish security protocols and access rules. The Office of Human Resources works with each major division of the College to train employees on information management, and to investigate breaches of information security.

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B.  Public Relations and Representation of Trinity College

The Office of Public Relations handles all media inquiries and other informational inquiries about Trinity. From time to time, other offices also must respond to external information requests, and these are generally reviewed by the appropriate senior staff member prior to the release of information. Only the president or her designee may speak to the press or release information about Trinity College.

No individual employee may speak for Trinity College in an external public forum without the knowledge and consent of the president or her designee. In the case of participation in panels or presentations for professional associations, such permission is easily obtained as part of the travel and expense approval process; in all cases the employee’s supervisor should receive early notice of any invitation to an employee to speak or present at a public gathering. The supervisor has both the right and the obligation to review the nature of the request and the content of the presentation if it is being given in Trinity’s name or if it uses Trinity’s proprietary information.
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C.  Work Products

All materials that a staff employee writes or creates as part of his or her work at Trinity College are the property of Trinity College and may not be reproduced or otherwise distributed in an external public forum without Trinity’s permission. No staff employee may earn separate fees for the publication or use of materials generated as part of Trinity’s work assignments without the knowledge and consent of Trinity. “Materials” in this context includes print, video, audio, electronic and all other media through which work product is available to a public audience.

Trinity College considers all materials generated with its resources to be proprietary to Trinity, and no employee may transmit these materials for use by another institution or any third party without Trinity’s explicit permission.

Members of the staff enrolled in master’s, doctoral or other degree programs who have a valid research plan that might entail some data collection at Trinity must obtain the formal approval of the president to conduct any and all studies using Trinity personnel or resources. Any such studies must also conform to the Institutional Review Board policies and processes as well. Trinity reserves the right to deny, suspend or change any such studies conducted on its premises, to deny publication rights, and to receive copies of any such research conducted with its permission and using its personnel and resources.

Policies concerning faculty materials are contained in the Faculty Handbook and related policy statements issued through the vice president for academic affairs.

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D.  References and Other Information About Current and Former Employees

The Office of Human Resources is the sole source of information or references for current or former employees. No employee may release information about another employee to a third party without the prior knowledge and approval of the director of Human Resources.

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E.  Outside Employment and Conflicts of Interest

Full-time employees have a professional obligation to devote substantially all of their professional time to Trinity College. Full-time employees with other jobs, businesses and consulting practices must disclose the nature of those activities to Trinity in writing. The Office of Human Resources will issue additional directions for such disclosures.

Employees must disclose any activity which conflicts with, or appears to conflict with, the interests of the College. The requirement of disclosure does not prohibit the activity, but Trinity reserves the right to instruct the employee to cease the activity if the College deems the conflict to be injurious to the College. The following list of examples of conflicts-of-interest is not exhaustive, and the College reserves the right to declare other activities to fall within the scope of this policy:

Holding a position, whether compensated or voluntary, in an organization with which Trinity College does business; similarly, if a member of the employee’s immediate family holds a position in a company with which Trinity is doing business;

Working for another college or university, whether full-time or part-time;

Providing consulting services to external organizations or groups;

Engaging in any activity that competes directly with Trinity’s lines of business, including fund raising for other nonprofits or colleges, student recruiting for other institutions, and related activities;

Employing a relative in any position, including part-time and adjunct positions.

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F.  Prohibited Activities

The following activities are generally prohibited activities that go beyond conflicts of interest to possible violation of ethical norms, and may be grounds for termination:

Providing proprietary information about Trinity College, without authorization, to an outside company that may seek to do business with Trinity, or that is doing business with the College, in a way that may advantage or disadvantage the external company in bidding for Trinity’s business;

Receiving any form of compensation or gift from a company that does business with Trinity, including taking any fee for steering Trinity’s business to the company;

Seeking references for other employment from Trinity vendors while still employed at Trinity;

Using Trinity College equipment, including telephones, computers, software, typewriters, fax machines, dictation equipment, a/v equipment, and any other equipment for personal business, regardless of the profitability of the personal business.

Promising a job or a contract, providing a premium of any variety, or extending any other form of incentive to a person or company outside of Trinity.

Interfering with the privacy and security of other personnel on campus through misuse of Trinity identification or resources, proselytizing for religious or political purposes, intimidating or harassing other individuals on campus, or engaging in any activity that poses a threat of harm to members of the Trinity campus community.

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G.  Political Activities

All employees of the College may exercise their rights as American citizens to vote as they choose, to express their opinions as private citizens, and to join political organizations. Such political activity should occur off-campus on the employee’s own time. No employee may use the resources of Trinity College for any partisan political activity, including telephones, regular mail, email, space, mailing lists, photocopiers, etc.

In compliance with federal lobbying regulations, employees of the College with responsibility for the administration of governmentally-funded programs or compliance with government regulations must be free from political influence in the impartial execution of laws and government programs.

Because Trinity is a public charity regulated under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the College specifically prohibits lobbying or partisan political activity on the part of any administrator or employee who has any responsibility, part or full, in the administering of any federally program. Certain federal regulations extend this prohibition to activities that might take place off-campus and on personal time. Questions about the applicability of this section may be directed to the vice president for finance and administration.

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H.  Personal Use of College Services, Supplies, Equipment, or Facilities

Employees may not use College supplies, equipment or facilities for personal use. Examples of items covered by this policy include, but are not limited to:

  • Telephone long distance service and postal services (including postage), FedEx, UPS, couriers, and other forms of delivery.
  • Office supplies, paper products (including food service paper products) and physical plant supplies.
  • Copy machines, fax machines, office equipment (typewriters, adding machines, calculators, etc.), and computer equipment.
  • Use of Trinet and other Trinity technology, as specified in the Trinity Technology and Telecommunications Policy.
  • Use of Trinity’s facilities and vendors for private parties.
  • Use of Trinity’s accounts, credit capacity and credit cards for personal purchases.

Employees who are also students in Trinity’s programs may not use office equipment to prepare papers or conduct research during business hours. The use of equipment for academic purposes after regular business hours must be approved by the Director of Human Resources.

No employee may contract with another employee to do personal work of any variety. Such work might include typing papers, providing home repair services, or providing transportation services. In highly unusual circumstances, Trinity may grant an exception to this policy after the nature of the work sought is disclosed to the Director of Human Resources.

Trinity does not host private parties on its fields or in its facilities, except wedding receptions that immediately follow weddings in Notre Dame Chapel. Employees who wish to make wedding reservations may do so through the Conference Office.

No employee may remove for personal purposes any items of tangible property belonging to Trinity, including property that appears to be damaged or discarded. All property, including discarded items, belong to Trinity College, and removal of such items without permission constitutes theft and will incur personnel action, and possible legal action.

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Trinity College reserves the right to interpret or change the policies stated in this Handbook as the need arises. This document is not a contract.

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