Seattle University
Human Resources Policy Manual

13. Institutional Policies and Procedures

* = Policies and procedures that apply to Faculty.

13.1 *Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The University provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information,  political ideology, or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfers, leaves of absence, compensation, benefits, and training.

The University administers all policies, practices, and procedures in ways that are consistent with the University's Catholic and Jesuit character.

Contact the University's Assistant Vice President for Human Resources/Equal Opportunity Officer for additional information.

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13.2 *Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Complaint Procedure

Any person who believes he may have been harassed or discriminated against in violation of the principles in Section 13.1 should first discuss the matter with his direct supervisor. If for any reason an employee does not want to discuss the matter with the direct supervisor, the employee may discuss the matter with the department head, or the Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Equal Opportunity Officer ("AVP for HR/EOO").

In all cases, managers, supervisors, directors, or department or division heads who receive any complaint or concern involving harassment or discrimination must bring the matter to the immediate attention of the AVP for HR/EOO.

If the appropriate manager, supervisor, director, department or division head, or the AVP for HR/EOO are not able to resolve a concern or complaint of harassment or discrimination, the AVP for HR/EOO will further investigate the matter and recommend a solution to the relevant Vice President, who will decide how the concern or complaint will be resolved.

Any person who believes that the relevant Vice President has not resolved a concern or complaint in accordance with this Equal Employment Opportunity policy may make a written appeal to the Vice President for Administration or to the Provost, who may reopen the investigation, continue the investigation, or decide how the complaint will be resolved. The written appeal must be submitted within ten (10) working days of the decision of the relevant Vice President. The decision of the Vice President for Administration or the Provost will be final.

Individuals who bring complaints of harassment or discrimination or who participate or cooperate in an investigation shall not be subject to any adverse employment action or other retaliation for having utilized the procedure or participated in the process, even if an investigation shows that there has not been a violation.

Individuals with complaints or concerns about sexual harassment should follow the Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure in Appendix C. Individuals with complaints or concerns about a failure to accommodate a disability should follow the Section 504/ADA Policy and Appeal Procedure in Appendix E.

The procedures are not designed to restrict or limit the right of any person to file an administrative complaint with a governmental enforcement agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

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13.3 *Individuals with Disabilities

Seattle University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, of the Rehabilitation Act and applicable state and local laws providing for nondiscrimination in employment against qualified individuals with disabilities. The University also provides reasonable accommodation for such individuals with disabilities.

An employee or applicant seeking an accommodation in connection with employment should first contact the Office of Human Resources for assistance. It is the responsibility of the employee to provide the university with adequate notice of the disability, to request the particular accommodation, and to provide any necessary medical verification of a disability-related need for the accommodation. On receipt of an accommodation request, Human Resources will meet with the requesting individual and other relevant University personnel to determine the individual's needs and the availability of reasonable accommodations. Complete information about accommodations for individuals with disabilities, including appeal procedures, may be found in Appendix E, the Section 504/ADA Policy and Appeal Procedure.

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13.4 *Drug and Substance Abuse Policy

University employees have the responsibility to perform their jobs in a safe, conscientious, and effective manner. University employees must be able to work in a drug-free environment and themselves be free from the effects of drugs. The following conduct is strictly prohibited and may result in immediate termination of employment:

  1. An employee's manufacture, sale, or possession of a controlled substance or drugs not medically authorized.
  2. An employee's use of a controlled substance or drug not medically authorized in the work place, that affects job performance, or poses a hazard to the safety and welfare of the employee or other employees.

If an employee is convicted of a criminal drug statute, she is required to report his or her conviction for a violation occurring in the work place to her immediate supervisor within five (5) days after such conviction.

An employee who observes, or has knowledge of, other employees in a condition that affects their ability to perform job duties or poses a hazard to the safety and welfare of others shall promptly report the condition to her own supervisor.

The University takes seriously its commitment to provide a drug-free working environment. Anyone with a drug or substance abuse problem is encouraged to seek assistance before the problem affects his or her employment status. To comply with the Federal Drug-Free Work-Place Act of 1988, HR provides a list of agencies that provide rehabilitative and counseling services.

On receiving a report of a violation of the Drug/Substance Abuse Policy, the Associate Vice President for HR, the Public Safety Manager, and the Director of Public Safety follow the procedures outlined below.

  1. Gather information and document facts about the incident.
  2. Conduct an investigation into the allegations surrounding the report.
  3. Prepare an investigative summary with all relevant facts and information.
  4. Make recommendations for corrective action.
  5. Determine whether or not the facts warrant the involvement of outside law enforcement agencies.

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13.5 *Sexual Harassment

The University seeks to maintain a learning and working environment free from harassment consistent with its mission and sound business practice. Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discriminatory conduct that compromises the work environment of employees. Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination and is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, and the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (RCW Chapter 49.60).

The University is committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and does not tolerate sexual harassment in any form between or among members of the University community. Persons of either sex may be victims or perpetrators of harassment. Sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same sex. The University takes appropriate corrective action with those at all levels within the University community who engage in sexually harassing behavior.

All employees are responsible for ensuring that their conduct does not sexually harass any other member of the University community. This includes all academic and employment conditions at the University, wherever students and/or employees are engaged in University business.

The University does not tolerate sexual harassment of an employee by a third party doing business with the University or on the University premises. Independent contractors, vendors, visitors, and others are expected to comply with this policy, and the University will take appropriate corrective action if they fail to do so.

Refer to Appendix C for sections covering the following:

  • Definition of Sexual Harassment
  • Examples of Conduct that May Constitute Sexual Harassment
  • Retaliation
  • Consensual Relationships
  • Responsibilities
  • University Resources for Students and Employees
  • Education and Training
  • Filing a Complaint of Sexual Harassment
  • Investigation Procedures
  • Complaint Resolution and Corrective Action
  • Appeal of Determination of the Complaint
  • Appeal of Corrective Action or Discipline
  • Protection of All Involved Individuals
  • Sanctions for a False Complaint
  • Sexual Harassment Complaints Filed with External Agencies

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13.6 *Complaint Procedure

Misunderstandings or conflicts can arise in any organization. To ensure effective working relations, it is important that such matters be resolved before serious problems develop. If a situation exists that an employee believes is detrimental to the employee or to the University, the employee should follow the procedure described here for bringing the complaint to the University's attention.

The employee should first discuss the matter with his direct supervisor. If the problem is not resolved after discussion with his supervisor, or if for any reason the employee does not want to discuss the matter with his direct supervisor, the employee may discuss the matter with the department head. In an effort to resolve the problem, the department head will consider the facts, conduct any necessary investigation, and may also review the matter with a member of HR. The employee will normally receive a response regarding the problem within five (5) working days of meeting with the department head.

If the employee is not satisfied with the department head's decision and wishes to pursue the problem or complaint further, the employee may submit a written summary of the concerns to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources. The AVP for HR will review and investigate the matter as necessary and decide how the concern or complaint will be resolved. The employee will normally receive a response from the AVP for HR within ten (10) working days.

If the employee is not satisfied with the decision of the AVP for HR, the employee may make a written appeal to the Senior Vice President or to the Provost, who may reopen the investigation, continue the investigation, or decide how the complaint will be resolved. The written appeal must be submitted within five (5) working days of the decision of the AVP for HR. The decision of the Senior Vice President or the Provost will be final.

The University does not tolerate any form of retaliation against employees availing themselves of this complaint procedure. The procedure should not be construed, however, as preventing, limiting, or delaying the University from taking disciplinary action against any individual, up to and including termination, in circumstances (such as those involving problems of overall performance, conduct, attitude, or demeanor) where the University deems disciplinary action appropriate.

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13.7 *Smoking Policy

Smoking is permitted while on break or during the lunch hour. To comply with the Washington State Indoor Clean Air Act and fire codes that apply to the University, smoking is prohibited in all buildings, at all times. This prohibition includes both public spaces and private offices, both during and after working hours. Smoking is permitted outside buildings if:

  1. The smoker is fifty (50) feet or more from the entrance to a building; and
  2. Smoking receptacles have been placed in designated smoking areas.

Each department head, faculty member, manager, supervisor, operator, or other person in charge of an area is responsible for enforcing the University's smoking policy.

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13.8 *Nepotism Policy

The University allows the employment of relatives in the same administrative or academic units so long as (i) one relative does not participate in making recommendations or decisions affecting the appointment, retention, work assignments, promotion, demotion, performance appraisal, or salary of the other relative; and (ii) the work unit is sufficiently large that the employment of relatives does not adversely impact other employees in the unit. No preferential treatment of a relative can be used to deny equal opportunity to other employees. Furthermore, any relative hired by the University must meet normal faculty or employee selection qualifications. For purposes of this policy, "relative" means spouse, state registered domestic partner, legally domiciled adult, mother or father, mother-in-law or father-in-law, son or daughter, brother or sister, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, grandparent or grandchild.

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13.9 *Solicitation and Distribution Rule

The University prohibits solicitation of its personnel or distribution of literature by outsiders at any time. Employees cannot solicit other employees or distribute unauthorized literature during working time or within the working areas of the University. No employee may directly or indirectly sell any item or post any literature within the University or on University property without proper authorization. Questions about this policy should be addressed to Human Resources.

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13.10 *Electronic Media Use Policy

The University maintains standards and expectations for employee use of telephones, electronic mail, and Internet access. Violations of these standards will result in corrective action. Information about these standards is available on the Office of Information Technology website at

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13.11 *Emergency Procedure

The University is committed to providing for the safety, security, and welfare of the entire campus community. Campus Public Safety is primarily responsible for meeting this commitment including handling emergencies. In case of an emergency:

  1. Go to a campus telephone and dial 5-911 for Campus Public Safety.
  2. Indicate the nature of the emergency; give your name, title or position, and the location from which you are calling.
  3. Stay on the line to answer any questions. Campus Public Safety will initiate the appropriate action in response to your call.

There are some emergencies that demand an immediate response from the Seattle Police, Fire, or Medical Aid Unit(s). Examples of these situations are:

  1. A life-threatening situation.
  2. A significant crime in progress.
  3. A suspect involved in a significant crime is still on the scene or has just fled the scene.
  4. Fire, or indication of fire, or other threat of imminent serious property loss.

In the case of an emergency requiring an immediate response by Seattle Police, Fire, or Medical Aid Unit(s):

  1. Go to the nearest campus telephone and dial 9-911.
  2. Indicate the nature of the emergency and immediate assistance you want.
  3. Give your name and the exact location from which you are calling.
  4. Stay on the line to answer any questions the 911 Operator may ask. Be prepared to give the telephone number from which you are calling, or, if unknown, the University's telephone number (206) 296-6000.
  5. When your call to the 911 Operator is completed, hang up and dial 5-911 to notify Campus Public Safety of the nature of the emergency and the action you have taken. Campus Public Safety will coordinate Police, Fire, or Medical Aid Unit(s) response.

Refer to Appendix D for disaster emergency plans.

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13.12 *Suspended Operations

The President of the University may suspend the operation of all or any portion of the University in an emergency situation. The University will operate under emergency conditions during civil disturbances, riots, electrical or mechanical shutdown, severe weather conditions, or other similar situations. Temporary emergency conditions exist until normal operations can be resumed. The Provost may suspend classes while keeping the administrative offices of the University open. Employees are expected to work if offices are open.

A. Notification of Suspended Operations

Employees affected by suspended operations are given prior notice when possible. All employees are notified through the radio and television media on stations KIRO, KOMO, KING, KUOW and KPLU radio and KCPQ-TV and Northwest Cable News, or by calling the university's Campus Events and Emergency Hotline (296-2200) in the early morning when suspension of university operations is questionable. The Hotline will also carry closure announcements and information about any scheduled programs or activities that will be affected. Closure notices will be posted on Seattle University's public website (

Each employee is responsible to listen to the radio or call into the university to find out if operations are suspended.

B. Compensation During Suspended Operations

Employees are paid regular wages during the time the University's operations are suspended. The University administration determines if compensation continues during an extended suspension.

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13.13 *Work Place Attire

Discretion and good judgment on the part of employees in their style of dress and personal appearance are essential to the professional image and the safe operation of the University. Employees are expected to dress in a manner appropriate to their working environment and tasks. The University reserves the right to establish and identify guidelines for dress and appearance. Individual departments or units also reserve the right to have their own guidelines on clothing in the workplace appropriate to the nature of their tasks. Employees should consult with their supervisor about attire specific to their department.

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13.14 *Responsibility for Personal Property

The University is not responsible for damage or loss of personal property on or off campus whether or not it is used on behalf of the University.

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13.15 *CampusCards

The University requires all employees to have a University CampusCard ID. Employees will need to show their CampusCard to access facilities and copy machines as well as take advantage of amenities such as the library, the bookstore, dining rooms, Connolly Center, and computer labs. Permanent, temporary and replacement cards are issued at the CampusCard Office. CampusCards must be returned on separation from the University.

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13.16 *Change of Information

Employees are responsible for notifying HR of changes in address, telephone number, or tax status.

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13.17 *Keys

Keys may be given to the appropriate employee for her office, classroom, and/or building. Key authorization forms are available in Campus Public Safety. Under no circumstances may an individual have keys duplicated or permit them to be duplicated. Keys must be returned on separation from the University.

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13.18 *Thefts and Damage

All thefts of or damage to University property by any person must be reported promptly to Campus Public Safety. A report form is available in that office.

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13.19 *Parking

Parking permits and a copy of current parking regulations can be obtained from Campus Public Safety.

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13.20 *Personnel Records

HR maintains the University's permanent employment records, including the personnel files for all employees. An employee's direct supervisor and department head can review the employee's file. If an employee transfers positions within the University, the hiring department head or her designee can review the employee's file. Employees may review their personnel file in the presence of an HR representative. Information in personnel files is released only in response to a court order or a release signed by the employee, or on a "need to know" basis as determined by the Associate Vice President for HR.

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13.21 *Conflict of Interest/Use of University Equipment

The University expects from all employees professional conduct consistent with the University's values and operating standards. The University's assets (including offices, equipment, and confidential information) are intended to support University business purposes. While on University property, employees are prohibited from engaging in personal business enterprise activities for profit. To do so will place the University's not-for-profit status at risk.

Employees are responsible for the care and security of University equipment while under their control. Employees must limit their use of University supplies and equipment (assets) both on or off-campus to official activities and functions of the University. Departments must keep a current record of property located off-campus in the form of descriptions, inventory identification numbers, period of time and location of property taken off-campus, and the person(s) accountable for the property. University policy prohibits the use of University assets for personal use without the proper documentation and/or written authorization by the area Vice President. An employee whose employment has terminated must return all University equipment as of the date of separation from the University.

A conflict of interest also arises if an employee:

  1. Discloses confidential information for personal use, gain, or profit.
  2. Engages in political activities that interfere with his University responsibilities. An employee must avoid giving the impression that he speaks for the University when stating personal political beliefs.

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13.22 *Professional Conduct and Ethical Behavior

As members of the University community, all employees are expected to accept certain responsibilities, adhere to acceptable business principles in matters of personal conduct, and exhibit a high degree of personal integrity at all times. This involves a sincere respect for the rights and feelings of others and requires that in both the employee's business and personal life the employee refrain from any behavior that might be harmful to her co-workers or the University and its community, or that might be viewed unfavorably by students, alumni, or by the public at large. Whether the employee is on duty or off, her conduct reflects on the University. Consequently, employees are encouraged to observe the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct at all times.

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13.23 Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct

Listed below are some of the types of behavior and conduct the University considers inappropriate. By engaging in this conduct, an employee invites disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment without prior warning, at the discretion of the University. The employment relationship is "at-will" and may be terminated by the employee or the University for any reason without prior warning. This list contains examples and is not all-inclusive:

  1. Falsifying employment or other University records;
  2. Violating the University's nondiscrimination and/or sexual harassment policies;
  3. Establishing a pattern of excessive absenteeism or tardiness;
  4. Reporting to work intoxicated or under the influence of non-prescribed drugs;
  5. Illegally manufacturing, possessing, using, selling, distributing, or transporting drugs;
  6. Engaging in excessive or unauthorized use of University property or supplies, particularly for personal purposes;
  7. Using alcoholic beverages on University property or while engaged in University business, except where authorized;
  8. Fighting, or using obscene, abusive, or threatening language or gestures;
  9. Stealing property from coworkers, students, or the University;
  10. Having firearms or weapons on University property or while on University business;
  11. Disregarding safety or security regulations;
  12. Engaging in insubordination;
  13. Failing to maintain the confidentiality of University or student information; and
  14. Violating the University's Technology or Computer Use Policies.

If an employee's performance, demeanor, overall attitude, conduct, or work habits become unsatisfactory in the judgment of the University, based on either conduct such as that listed above or conduct in violation of any other University policies or practices, the employee will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

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13.24 *Animals on Campus

The University recognizes the important role animals can play in the lives of employees and students. At the same time, certain animals are not suitable companions to bring on campus, and there are people who have fears or allergies associated with certain animals. Therefore, no animals, with the exception of service dogs and animals being used for instructional purposes, are allowed in campus buildings during hours of instruction or normal business operations. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the vice president/provost responsible for the operational area where a person seeks to have an animal inside campus buildings. Refer to Appendix G for definition of roles, responsibilities and processes.

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13.25 *Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Training Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records and establishes rights for students relative to the disclosure of these records.

As a recipient of federal education funding, Seattle University is required to manage educational records consistent with the requirements of FERPA.  All persons employed by the univesity are expected to be aware of and comply with these requirements.   The university provides online FERPA training and all university employees,  including faculty, staff, and students, are required to take this training.  

  • New faculty and staff will be required to take this training during their first two weeks of employment.
  • All student employees will be required to take training as part of the hiring process.
  • Because specific provisions within FERPA change, all employees will be required to retake training every two years.
  • Any individual who violates FERPA will be required to retake training.

A record of individuals who have completed FERPA training will be maintained by the university. Access to administrative computing systems, including Colleague and SUDDS, will be allowed only after completion of FERPA training.

Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Registrar.

13.26 *Workplace Violence


Seattle University is committed to providing a learning and working environment that is safe for all members of the community. The university will not tolerate violent acts on its campus, at off-campus locations administered by the university, or in its programs. This policy of "zero tolerance" extends not only to actual violent conduct but also to threats, intimidation, and disruption whether by students, faculty, staff, or visitors to the university.

 This policy is intended to guide members of the Seattle University community both in preventing acts of violence and in responding to them when they occur on or in relation to the university's campus.  The Workplace Violence Policy applies to all Seattle University work locations including offices, classrooms, work sites, vehicles, and field locations.


 Violent or threatening behavior can include, but is not limited to:

  •  Physical acts of violence
  • Using or brandishing firearms, explosives, knives, or other types of weapons
  • Threatening to use a weapon
  • Verbally threatening to harm another person or destroy property
  • Sending harassing email messages, letters, or notes
  • Making harassing telephone calls
  • Using threatening, intimidating, or abusive language and/ or gestures
  • Exhibiting behaviors such as stalking or similarly harassing behaviors

 Violence in the workplace includes relationship violence that intrudes into the workplace, endangering a person in the relationship or others in the workplace. Relationship violence is physically, sexually, and/or psychologically abusive behavior that a household member or dating partner uses to establish and maintain control over another person.

 Imminent Threat: Actual violent behavior or a situation where it appears violent behavior is likely to take place such as a verbal altercation that appears to be escalating.

 Potential Threat: When you believe a situation has the potential for becoming violent over time because it exhibits one or more of the violence warning signs.

 Orders for Victim Protection: Orders for Victim Protection include the following types of court orders:

  • Protection Order
  • No Contact Order
  • Restraining Order
  • Anti-Harassment Order

 Policy Statement:

Verbal threats, threatening behavior, or acts of violence by an employee against other employees, students, vendors, or campus visitors will not be tolerated. Violation of this policy will result in appropriate disciplinary action, including potential dismissal. Arrest and criminal prosecution by off-campus authorities is also possible.

 Threats or acts of violence will be taken seriously and will be investigated promptly by the University.  Employees who make substantial threats, exhibit threatening behavior, or engage in violent acts on university property will be removed from the campus as quickly as safety permits. 

It is a condition of employment that the university may take all immediate action that it determines is necessary to prevent or mitigate a perceived threat of violence or an act of violence or threatened violence.  Administrative actions, such as stay-away orders, interim leave of absence, work at home, and interim suspension of students, may be taken by the university with or without notice or cause.  Policies and procedures for discipline are not applicable where the university takes administrative action for safety purposes. 

 The University will not permit retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, brings a complaint of campus violence or serves as a witness in the investigation of a complaint of campus violence.


Procedures have been established that university faculty and staff must follow to report incidents of violence in the workplace, or to report concerns about situations that could become violent. These procedures have been created to ensure that incidents receive an appropriate and timely response.

On Campus Incident Reporting: To report an Imminent Threat or Potential Threat happening on campus: Immediately contact the Department of Campus Public Safety (206-296-5911) or use one of the “Blue Light” emergency phones located around campus or use the Public Safety walk-up window in the University Services Building.  All three of these resources are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

 Off-Campus Incident Reporting (including areas on the perimeter of campus): To report an Imminent Threat or Potential Threat happening off campus: Immediately call 911, then contact the Department of Campus Public Safety (206-296-5911) or use one of the “Blue Light” emergency phones located around campus or use the Public Safety walk-up window in the University Services Building.

 To report an Order for Victim Protection: Immediately contact the Department of Campus Public Safety (206-296-5911) or use one of the “Blue Light” emergency phones located around campus or use the Public Safety walk-up window in the University Services Building.  All three of these resources are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

 In all cases, employees who receive any complaint or concern involving violence, including knowledge of an order for victim protection must bring the matter to the immediate attention of the Department of Campus Public Safety (206-296-5911).

 The Department of Campus Public Safety will investigate all complaints of violence.  Public Safety will collaborate with the Office of Human Resources in instances where an employee is suspected of committing workplace violence.  Students who engage in such behavior will be addressed in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and associated protocols.  Local law enforcement may also be involved in responding to and investigating workplace violence incidents as appropriate.

 Related Policies and References:

Campus Public Safety “What to Do” Emergency Guide

Human Resources Policy Manual section 13.22 Professional Conduct and Ethical Behavior

Human Resources Policy Manual section 13.23 Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct

Student Code of Conduct


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Federal Drug-Free Work-Place Act of 1988:
Preventing Sexual Harassment:
FERPA training:
Washington State Indoor Clean Air Act:


Last modified on Tuesday, June 18, 2013