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Policy VII-8.05-GC

UMGC Policy on Professional Conduct, Ethics, and Workplace Bullying

(Approved by USM BOR on April 21, 2017; UMGC President on July 1, 2017; Updated on September 21, 2022)

I.    Purpose and Applicability

This policy establishes expectations for the conduct of all University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) Nonexempt, Exempt and Overseas Staff employees on Regular and Contingent Status. Nonexempt Staff employees who are included in the representation of the collective bargaining unit are subject to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and applicable UMGC HR Policies; where there is a conflict between the two, the MOU will prevail.

II.    General Standards of Conduct

A.    Employees shall exhibit integrity and exemplary conduct and use honest efforts in the performance of their duties. Employees are expected to perform their work efficiently and are also expected to be mindful of their personal conduct in the military community and host nation communities, as applicable.

B.    Employees shall not knowingly make unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind UMGC.

C.    Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.

D.    Employees shall protect and conserve State resources by exercising care in the use of staff, property, and funds entrusted to them. University time, facilities, or property shall not be used for other than officially authorized activities.

E.    Employees shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, including Federal, State, or local taxes that are imposed by law. Employees shall satisfy in good faith all personal financial obligations between any member of the U.S. military community and host country national, as applicable.

F.    Consistent with all applicable laws, all employees shall be treated with dignity and respect and shall not be discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Employees shall treat fellow staff and faculty employees, members of the military community and host country nationals with courtesy, respect, and dignity at all times, as applicable. Employees shall adhere to UMGC policy on discrimination and harassment against fellow employees and members of the U.S. military and host nation communities, as applicable.

G.    Employees shall conduct intra-agency and interagency relations predicated upon civility, collaboration, and cooperation. These same principles shall apply to interactions with officials and employees of the legislative and judicial branches.

H.    Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities during their required hours of work, that may adversely affect their job performance, or which might reasonably be considered to conflict with their obligations to UMGC.

III.    Conflicts of Interest

UMGC employees are subject to and shall comply with the State Ethics laws contained in the State Government Article in the Annotated Code of Maryland and other Maryland law addressing ethics and compliance, including but not limited to the following:

A.    Employees shall not hold financial interests that conflict with the conscientious performance of duty.

B.    Employees shall not, except as permitted by applicable law or regulation, solicit, or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee’s agency, or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee’s duties.

C.    Employees shall not engage in financial transactions using nonpublic Government information or allow the improper use of such information to further any private interest.

D.    Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating applicable law or the ethical standards in applicable regulations.

E.    Employees leaving State service shall be bound by the restrictions of the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland with respect to lobbying and other forms of representation.

IV.    Bullying in the Workplace or in the Course of Employment

A.    Employees shall not intentionally engage in persistent, severe, or pervasive behavior toward another employee that a reasonable employee would find malicious, degrading, intimidating, or threatening.

B.    Employees are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the following standards at all times in the workplace:

1.    Employees shall treat others with dignity, respect, and professionalism and shall not promote or create working environments that foster workplace bullying.

2.    Employees shall not personally attack or insult an individual through angry outbursts, repeated use of profanity, name-calling, or offensive nicknames.

3.    Employees shall not publicly humiliate others.

4.    Employees shall not encourage any other individual to ostracize others.

5.    Employees shall not sabotage, undermine, or intentionally interfere with the work of another individual, including knowingly making false statements about another employee’s performance of their duties.

6.    Employees shall not make threats to abuse another individual or an individual’s property or intentionally cause harm or damage to that property.

7.    Employees shall not make threats about an individual’s job security without a valid basis or foundation for doing so (i.e., through performance management). Employees shall not taunt another employee about their job performance or job security.

8.    Employees shall not engage in “cyberbullying.” Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing defamatory or threatening content or engaging in unlawful harassment, which targets another employee via social media or through the use of digital devices. This includes publicly sharing private information about another employee, obtained through employment, to cause harm, humiliation, and/or embarrassment to that employee via social media or digital devices.

C.    Any behavior contrary to those listed in section IV. B. may be considered bullying, and an employee conducting themselves in such a manner may be subject to discipline up to, and including, termination of employment or contract.

D.    The following examples shall not be considered bullying behavior:

1.    A manager’s legitimate, justified conduct related to supervising a subordinate, including but not limited to:

a.    Disciplinary action taken in accordance with applicable law or policy;

b.    Routine employee coaching or counseling, including feedback about and correction of work performance or conduct;

c.    Exercising management’s prerogative to appoint, promote, transfer, or reassign an employee, to direct or assign work, and to determine the methods and means by which the unit’s functions will be carried out;

2.    Individual differences in style of personal expression, provided that the expression is not intended to intimidate; and

3.    Differences of opinion on work-related concerns.

E.    Employees should strive to uphold the standards in section IV.B. when interacting with fellow employees outside of the workplace to minimize negative effects that may transfer into the workplace and foster a bullying work environment.

F.    An employee who feels that they have been bullied due to their race, religion, color, creed, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, political affiliation, mental or physical disability, or veteran status may file a complaint with the Office if Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in accordance with the applicable Equal Employment Opportunity policies and procedures.

V.    Political Activity

Consistent with State Personnel and Pensions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland:

A.    Employees have the right to participate freely in any political activity and express any political opinion.

B.    Employees may not be required to provide any political service or make a political contribution.

C.    Employees may not:

1.    Engage in political activity on the job during working hours;

2.    Use UMGC resources to advance the employee’s political activities; or

3.    Advocate the overthrow of the Government by unconstitutional or violent means.

VI.    Reporting Requirements

A.    Employees shall report to Human Resources at HRER@umgc.edu any suspected incidents of workplace bullying.

B.    Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities. To make such reports, employees may access the resources and procedures for confidential disclosure of misconduct set forth in the following UMGC policies and any applicable procedures:  

1.    VII-2.30-GC – UMGC Policy on Employee and Applicant Disclosure of Misconduct

2.    USM BOR VIII-7.10 – Policy on Reporting Suspected or Known Fiscal Irregularities

3.    USM BOR VIII-7.11 – Policy on the Communication of Suspected Fraud, Unethical & Illegal Business Activities

C.    Employees are required to report to their Department Head as to any arrest of the employee and as to each legal proceeding in which an employee is involved, as a party or otherwise, if the arrest or legal proceeding affects, or reflects on, the employee’s job fitness or performance.

D.    The CHRO shall immediately refer to UMGC’s General Counsel, UMGC’s Assistant Attorney General or the State Deputy Attorney General with supervisory responsibility for the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigations Division, any instance of possible criminal or unethical conduct by any employee or contractor of this State, for such actions as the Office of the Attorney General deems appropriate.

Implementation Procedures

The UMGC President has designated the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) to administer this policy; to develop procedures as necessary to implement this policy; to communicate this policy to the UMGC community; and to post the policy and any applicable procedures on the UMGC website.

Reference:

Governor’s Executive Order 01.01.2007.01 Standards of Conduct for Executive Branch Employees

Replacement for:

USM BOR VII-8.05 – Policy on Professional Conduct and Workplace Bullying

UMGC OS 4.00 – Policy on Staff Conduct