Examples of activities prohibited by this policy
This guidance document is intended to provide clear, specific, and concrete examples of prohibited conduct that violate the Code of Conduct and may lead to disciplinary action. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, but is instead intended to assist employees and supervisors in understanding what constitutes unacceptable conduct.
Lack of Respect for Persons or Property
- Disorderly conduct on University property, during University activities, or between
two University employees, including fighting, provoking a fight, attempting bodily
harm or injury to another employee or to any other individual, or threatening
physical action or injury; or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health,
safety, or well-being of any person;
- Discriminatory, abusive, insulting, or offensive language, including threats,
derogatory remarks, epithets, sexually explicit jokes, or jokes that demonstrate
insensitivity to a particular group;
- Spreading malicious rumors or perpetuating misinformation;
- Disallowing divergent points of view from being heard, including responses to
criticism of job performance;
- Violation of any University policy or law prohibiting harassment, discrimination, or retaliation against students or employees, including HR0280 – Sexual Harassment and Other Discriminatory Harassment;
- Incivility, including bullying, rudeness, or intimidation; verbal abuse in the
workplace, including derogatory remarks, insults and epithets; verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating, or humiliating nature in the workplace; sabotaging or undermining an employee’s work performance; unsolicited and unwelcome harassing conduct; or making comments (verbal or written, including e-mail communication and text/instant messaging), gestures, actions, or contacts that would inhibit the work performance of a reasonable person;
- Willful or negligent damage to University property, including physical violence or
excessive force (e.g., slamming doors, throwing objects).
Lack of Integrity
- Misrepresentation and dishonesty
- Dishonesty in the workplace
- Representing oneself without authorization as speaking or acting on behalf of
the University either directly or indirectly, including the unauthorized use of
University logos or other indicia on social media or otherwise.
- Abuse of Information Access, Confidential or Otherwise.
Tampering with or wantonly destroying University data, records, or other
information; gaining unauthorized access to such information; disclosing confidential
information; or otherwise misusing University data or information.
Unauthorized use of University vehicles, mail services, identification, credit cards, telephones, computers, computer equipment, or other University equipment or materials. Employees do not have a right to privacy in anything they create, send, or receive on a University computer. The University has the right to monitor, for business reasons, all aspects of any University computer system, including employee e-mail
- Possessing or carrying a firearm in violation of Safety Policy SA0875—Firearms,
explosives, or other dangerous materials on University property or during
University activities, unless the employee is authorized either by University
policy or law to carry such materials and it is also necessary to do so in the
course of employment (e.g., police officers R.O.T.C. personnel, etc.).
- Smoking in violation of University policy.
- Failing to wear proper safety equipment or adhere to safety standards.
- Insubordination or refusal of an employee to follow instructions or to perform
designated work or to comply with directives of authorized University officials..
- Deliberately performing non-work activities during work hours (e.g., illegal gambling,
social media use).
- Non-compliance with Applicable laws, regulations, policies, or procedures, including:
- Flagrant violation or failure to observe traffic or parking regulations; and
- Failure to report to a supervisor of Human Resources an arrest, indictment, or
conviction for a felony or misdemeanor (except for minor traffic offenses) within
seven (7) calendar days.
- Excessive absenteeism, including:
- Unexcused absences, meaning any absence without proper notification or satisfactory reason (an absence of three consecutive days, without notification or satisfactory reason, is considered a voluntary termination for job abandonment);
- repeated tardiness (arriving at work or designated work activity, whether on campus or remote, after the appointed starting time without supervisory approval);
- Other absences, including failure of employees to report to their work place, whether on campus, remote, or online (i.e., videoconferences, teleconferences, etc.) at the beginning of the work period, leaving before the end of the work period, and failure to inform the supervisor when leaving the work area;
- Unreported or unapproved use of leave;
- Failure to record work time accurately; or
- Misuse of sick or annual leave.
- Sleeping on the job.
- Failure to report an accident or injury to a student, employee, visitor, or self.
- Failure to cooperate in an investigation.
- Failure to wear proper uniform or identification in the prescribed manner as may be
required by the University.
- Instigating or participating in deliberate low productivity and/or interfering with
another employee’s work.
- Failure or refusal to obtain or maintain required licensure, certification or
- Misrepresentation of academic credentials, which is defined by Tennessee Code
Annotated § 49-7-133(a) as follows: “A person commits the offense of
misrepresentation of academic credentials who, knowing that the statement is false
and with the intent to secure employment at or admission to an institution of higher
education in Tennessee, represents, orally or in writing, that such person 1) has
successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one or
more degrees or diplomas from an accredited institution of higher education; 2) has
successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one or
more degrees or diplomas from a particular institution of higher education; or 3) has
successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas in a particular field or specialty from an accredited
institution of higher education.” Misrepresentation of academic credentials is a
Class A misdemeanor
- Violation of federal government security and workplace safety requirements as
outlined in contracts
- Any violation of any law in the performance of duties or that affects the ability to
perform duties satisfactorily
- Abusive or irresponsible behavior on social media that violates any provision of this
Code of Conduct
- Failure to comply with laws imposing mandatory reporting requirements applicable
to health care professionals’ interactions with patients while acting within the scope
of University employment
- Failure to submit a complete and accurate Conflict of Interest disclosure form or
otherwise fail to comply with the University’s conflict of interest policy
- Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other serious unethical or illegal deviations from accepted practices in proposing, conducting, or reporting the results of or
reviewing research of service activities, in violation of University policy or state or
federal laws or regulations
- Behavior or conduct that violates the ethics and responsibility requirements of this Code in any way not otherwise enumerated
The following occurrences are considered gross misconduct and are grounds for immediate
termination without notice or without pay in lieu of notice. While the following offenses
illustrate gross misconduct, discharge is not limited to the situations below:
- Conviction of a felony.
- Unauthorized possession of firearms, knives, or other weapons.
- Any act of fighting on University property.
- Sleeping on the job.
- Absence without notification or reasonable cause for failure to notify supervisor of
- Falsifying personnel or pay records, including applications for employment,
timeclock records, or signing a time sheet for another employee.
- Falsifying official or University records or documents, including patient medical
records at affiliated hospitals or clinical training facilities.
- Intentionally interfering with a University investigation, including but not limited to
refusing to cooperate in an investigation or concealing information relevant to the
- Filing a fraudulent worker’s compensation claim.
- Immoral or indecent conduct on University property.
- Theft, loss, misappropriation of funds, or unauthorized use or removal of University
- Reporting to work under the influence of intoxicants, including alcohol, nonprescribed drugs, or illicit drugs. This includes marijuana even if pursuant to an
otherwise valid out-of-state prescription. Note: CBD products may contain
sufficient quantities of THC to trigger a positive drug test
- Unauthorized release of confidential or official information.
- The access, use, or disclosure of a person’s financial information, personal information, protected health information or other confidential information without authorization or legal justification, in violation of University policies or laws, e.g., privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Unlawful possession, use, manufacture, distribution or dispensing of illicit drugs,
controlled substances, or alcoholic beverages during the employee’s work period
whether on University premises or at any other site where the employee is carrying
out University duties.
- Behavior of any nature that brings the University into disrepute, including but not
limited to willful misrepresentation to or behalf of the University
- Behavior that interferes with the operation of the University.
- Use of University’s electronic resources to intentionally display, hold, send, view,
print, download, retransmit, distribute or otherwise disseminate content which the
University may deem to be indecent, obscene, sexually explicit, or pornographic
without a legitimate academic, research, or medical purpose.
- Any other action, behavior or communication that, as perceived by University
officials, adversely affects the University.
Key Policies, Statements, and Guidelines
- University of Tennessee System Policies
- UT Knoxville Faculty Handbook
- UT Chattanooga Faculty Handbook
- UT Southern Faculty Handbook
- UT Martin Faculty Handbook
- UT Health Science Center Faculty Handbook
- UT Business Management Guide for the Head of an Academic or Administrative Unit or Manager of a Program.
UT System Employee and Organizational Development Training
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