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1C.3 – Employee Code of Conduct

Part 1: Purpose and Scope. This procedure establishes the code of conduct expected of all employees of Lake Superior College, including administrators, faculty, staff, and student employees, whether full or part-time, temporary or unlimited.

The laws, board and college policies, procedures, and standards referenced in this employee code of conduct are subject to change without amendment to this procedure.

Part 2: General. In striving to fulfill our system’s vision and carry out our mission, all employees of Lake Superior College must meet public expectations for excellence by providing high quality education and related services, demonstrating sound stewardship of resources, acting with integrity, and displaying fair treatment and respect for all, ensuring that employment and education opportunities are inclusive and serve all the state’s diverse communities.

Those acting on behalf of Lake Superior College have a general duty to conduct themselves with honesty and trustworthiness, with efficiency and effectiveness, and to demonstrate accountability and compliance with state and federal laws, and college policies and procedures.

The summaries included in this employee code of conduct are intended to serve as a quick reference guide to actual statutes, policies or procedures; employees should consult the actual statute, policy or procedure to fully understand their obligations.  If there is a conflict between the summary and the terms of the statute or policy, the statute or policy governs.  If you have questions regarding application of the employee code of conduct, contact your supervisor or the Director of Human Resources.

Part 3: Employee Ethics. Employee ethics are important in every organization.  The “Code of Ethics for Employees in the Executive Branch” and other state laws require that system employees comply with high ethical standards.  If we fail to comply with ethical requirements, we and under certain circumstances, criminal or civil legal action.

Under state law, board policies, and system procedures, we must comply with the standards listed below.

Subpart A: Conflicts of interest.  Employees are not allowed to enter into a personal business, employment, or other arrangement that has the potential for creating a conflict of interest with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Subpart B: Prohibited gifts.  With limited exceptions, employees are not allowed to accept gifts in connection with their employment.

    1. Faculty members may accept free samples of textbooks and related teaching materials.  Such materials may not be sold for the personal benefit of the faculty member.
    2. Gifts that are not prohibited are:
      1. Gifts of nominal value
      2. Plaques or similar items recognizing individual services in a field of specialty or to a charitable cause.
      3. Honoraria or expenses paid for papers, talks, demonstrations or appearances made by employees on their own time, for which they are not compensated by the state, and which are not impermissible conflicts of interest with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Subpart C: Travel or meals from another source.  An employee may not accept travel or meals or reimbursement related to a work assignment from a source other than the state, unless it is:

    1. approved in advance in writing by the president or chancellor;
    2. for no more than actual expenses incurred; and
    3. not reimbursed by the state.

Subpart D: Prohibited compensation or reward.  An employee may not accept compensation or other value related to the employee’s work responsibilities from a source other than the System.

Subpart E: Use of influence.   Employees must not use their position to influence others for the personal interests of the employee, employee’s family, or others associated with the employee.

Subpart F: Personal advantage.  Employees are not allowed to use their position to procure personal advantages not available to the general public.

    1. Faculty members may require the use of self-authored classroom textbooks, software and other course materials, subject to any applicable bargaining agreement provisions and college procedures.
    2. With limited exceptions, state property is not to be used for personal or private use except as specifically authorized (such as limited personal use of computers- see System Procedure 5.22.1).

Subpart G: Use of state property. All college property is also state property. With limited exceptions, state property is not to be used for personal or private use except as specifically authorized (such as limited personal use of computers-see System Procedure 5.22.1).

Subpart H: Other prohibited uses.  State long distance service, business cell phones, or frequent flyer miles earned through state-authorized travel for state- related purposes may not be used for personal or private purposes.

Subpart I: Political influence.   Employees may not use their position or resources to advance a political party or candidate.

Subpart J: Purchasing state property.  Employees involved in purchasing or contract decisions for the college may not have any personal financial interest in the purchase or contract, and may not accept any gift (other than one of nominal value) or other thing of value directly or indirectly from a vendor.

See these statutes at the links below:

Minnesota Statutes Sections 43A.38-.39 (Code of ethics for employees in the executive branch)

Minnesota Statutes Section 43A.32 (Political activities)

Minnesota Statutes Section 15.43 (Financial interest; textbook exception)

Part 4: Other Policies and Procedures. As system employees, we must comply with all board policies and system procedures, and we are each responsible for being familiar with all policies and procedures that apply to our areas of responsibility.  The following policies apply to all system employees.

Subpart A: Nondiscrimination. Our system strives to provide all members of our community with a work and educational environment that is collegial and free of illegal discrimination or harassment based on race, sex color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance or sexual orientation, or membership in a local commission as defined by law.  The policy and procedure explain that policy and tell employees, students or others how to seek assistance or make complaints, as may be appropriate.

Employees are not to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship with a student or another employee over whom the employee has direct supervisory responsibility or other significant authority, such as a student enrolled in a faculty member’s class.

See Procedure 1B.1.1   Report/Complaint of Discrimination/Harassment

Subpart B: Sexual violence prohibited. All of us deserve to work in an atmosphere that is free from sexual violence. Board policy prohibits sexual violence and the system procedure describes the process through which individuals alleging sexual violence may pursue a complaint. It is intended to protect the rights and privacy of both the complainant and respondent and other involved individuals, as well as to prevent retaliation and reprisal.

See System Procedure 1B.3.1  Sexual Violence Procedure

Subpart C: Fraud and other dishonest acts.  In order to ensure that we use our resources as effectively as possible, and that we comply with the law, fraudulent and other dishonest acts are not tolerated.  Employees are required to report fraud or other dishonest acts when they have a reasonable basis to believe such an act has occurred.  Managers and supervisors are responsible for educating employees about proper conduct, creating an environment that deters dishonesty and maintaining internal controls that provide reasonable assurance of achieving management objectives, and detecting dishonest acts.

Examples of fraud or dishonest acts include taking cash or other property; making false time reports or reimbursement claims; forgery or alteration of documents or reports; improper handling or reporting of financial transactions or audit information; and incurring contractual or other obligations that exceed appropriations.

Subpart D: Intellectual propertyAs a higher education system we recognize that research and development of original works and inventions that require intellectual property protection are a vital part of the academic community.  This policy establishes the intellectual property ownership rights for the employer, employees, and students, and the procedures for ensuring protection of those rights.

Subpart E: Nepotism. In an effort to ensure that we avoid any perception that state employment is based on favoritism and not on individual merit we have a policy on nepotism.  Under this policy, we may not participate in the hiring, supervision, performance reviews, or compensation decisions for any person who is a member of our family or household.  In very limited cases where this is not possible without discriminating against the family member one or more of these activities may be permitted under strict procedures adopted by the President.

Subpart F: Weapons and safetyTo create a safe learning and working environment for students and employees, Policy 5.21, Possession or Carry of Firearms, and policies concerning Zero Tolerance for Workplace Violence prohibit the presence of weapons and use of harassment.

Under the policy, employees and students generally are prohibited from having firearms on campus, except in their vehicles in college parking areas or for approved academic purposes.   This policy is in accordance with the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act of 2003, Minnesota Statutes section 624.714 and other applicable laws.

Zero Tolerance for Workplace Violence policies promote a workplace that is free from violence, threats of violence harassment, intimidation, and other disruptive behavior.

Subpart G: Acceptable use of computers and technologyComputer and information technology resources are essential tools in accomplishing the mission of Lake Superior College. As with all public resources, we are to use these resources responsibly in order to ensure their availability for the competing demands of teaching, scholarship, administration, and other mission-related uses. Responsible management includes not sharing passwords, not allowing access by unauthorized users, and not using the resources for unauthorized purposes.  Some types of limited personal use are allowed in accordance with Procedure 5.22.1.

Subpart H: Information security and privacyAs state employees we are entrusted with “government data” every day in fulfilling our assigned work.  Each of us is responsible for protecting the privacy, security, retention and disposal of the records under our control in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.

You can see these related topics at the links below:

Minnesota Government Data Practices Act

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Subpart I: Alcohol and drug useEmployees are expected to perform their jobs efficiently, safely and in a professional business-like manner.  An employee’s ability to perform effectively may be hampered by alcohol or other drug use, and under state policy employees may not report to work under the influence, or operate machinery, vehicles or equipment while under the influence.  Recognizing that alcoholism and other drug dependencies are a significant societal and personal problem, the state’s employee assistance program is available to assist system employees who may have an alcohol or drug abuse problem.  The state’s policy on work-related substance abuse is non-discriminatory in intent and application. However, in accordance with Minnesota Statutes chapter 363A, disability does not include any condition resulting from alcohol or other drug abuse which prevents a person from performing essential functions of the job or creates a direct threat to property or the safety of individuals.

Part 5: Reporting Suspected Fraud or Abuse. As System employees we are required to report suspected acts of fraud, abuse, or other dishonest conduct if we have a reasonable basis to believe that such an act is occurring or has occurred, in accordance with Lake Superior College Policy 1C.2 Fraudulent or Other Dishonest Acts. The report should be made to your supervisor or manager, unless you believe your supervisor or manager participated in or condoned the act.  In that case, you should report the matter to the next highest level of supervision or management or directly to the college, Human Resources office, or the Office of Internal Auditing. You also may report such acts to the Office of the Legislative Auditor.

Date Implemented: October 2008