Workplace Conduct

The following USF standards, while not all-inclusive, are the guiding principal standards in effect at USF. These standards apply equally to all and are for the protection of all employees and our institution. In fulfilling responsibilities, all employees are expected to:

  • Work to understand, interpret, and apply University policies, programs, and procedures in an ethical, accurate, and constructive manner;
  • Provide exceptional service to students, employees, and the University community;
  • Understand that change is necessary and essential to keep the University vibrant and innovative and be willing to think and act creatively;
  • Maintain professional interactions which are open, collaborative, and characterized by mutual trust, respect, and care;
  • Create and maintain an inclusive and equitable workplace culture that encourages commitment to excellence, respect for differences, and growth through professional development and training.

Non-compliance with conduct and performance policies may lead to disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment as noted in the following section.

As determined by the University, any employee conduct that violates federal, state, or local laws, University policy, or interferes with or adversely affects University business may warrant disciplinary action. Examples of unacceptable employee conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Violating University conduct policies, including those related to discrimination and harassment;
  • Violating safety rules and regulations;
  • Failure to meet standards for work performance;
  • Insubordinate behavior, including failure or refusal to perform job assignments;
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness;
  • Theft;
  • Dishonesty;
  • Falsification of University documents, including time cards;
  • Disclosure of confidential information;
  • Violating drug and alcohol use policy;
  • Misuse or removal of University property;
  • Unauthorized access to or misuse of University computer systems; and
  • Threats or acts of violence.

This non-inclusive list of examples does not modify the University’s at-will employment policy.

Corrective action may need to be implemented to improve performance and/or to prevent unacceptable behaviors. Because the circumstances differ considerably, the University may respond to employee performance or behavior issues in various ways, including the following, and is not required to follow any set process or sequence:

  • Coaching or counseling
  • Verbal Warning
  • Written Warning
  • Termination

For example, if circumstances warrant, the University may terminate employment without prior warning and/or without previously requesting the employee to implement corrective action of any kind. 

USF recognizes that employees will have suggestions for improving the workplace, as well as reporting concerns about the workplace. The most satisfactory solution to a job-related problem or concern is usually reached through a prompt discussion with a supervisor. Employees are encouraged to contact their supervisors with any suggestions and/or concerns.

The University believes that open communication is essential to a successful work environment, and all employees should feel free to raise issues of concern without fear of reprisal.


It is important for all employees to project a professional image while at work by being appropriately attired. Employees are expected to be neat, clean and well-groomed while on the job. Clothing must be consistent with the standards for the department and must be appropriate to the type of work being performed.

Some departments may have their own policy or dress code appropriate to the nature of the work done within that department. Employees should consult with their supervisor regarding any dress code requirement specific to their department. If you are required to wear a uniform, please review the dress code with your supervisor. Union employees should refer to their collective bargaining agreement for information on personal appearance in the workplace.

University business hours (8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday), work hours, and schedules may vary depending upon position. As part of an employee’s department orientation, employees should review their normal work schedule requirements with their supervisor. Supervisors are responsible for establishing and informing employees of specific work schedules, including start times, lunch schedules, and normal ending times. When a work schedule must be changed, supervisors will provide as much advance notice as possible so that employees can make personal arrangements to meet the new scheduling requirements. The operating requirements of the department are the primary consideration in establishing work schedules.

Punctuality expectations are dictated by position responsibilities and/or department leadership. Employees should follow their supervisor’s protocol for reporting tardiness and/or absences from work. Not notifying your supervisor of an absence and not reporting to work is a no-call/no-show and it is a serious matter. Failure to report to work without notifying their supervisor for three consecutive workdays can be considered job abandonment. Refer to the job abandonment section of the Handbook for more information. Patterns of absenteeism or tardiness may result in disciplinary action even if the employee has not yet exhausted available paid time off.

For information on communication, technology, and web use, visit Communication, Technology, and Web.

Employees are permitted to engage in outside work or to hold other jobs, subject to the following restrictions:

  • Employees are cautioned to carefully consider the demands that additional work activity will create before accepting outside employment.
  • There must be no conflict of interest involved in taking on outside employment. For more information, view the Conflict of Interest section of the Handbook.
  • Activities and conduct away from the job must not compete with, conflict with, or compromise the University’s interests or adversely affect the employee’s job performance, scheduled work hours, and the ability to fulfill all job responsibilities. This also extends to the unauthorized use of any company tools or equipment and the unauthorized use or application of any confidential information.
  • Outside employment will not be considered an excuse for poor job performance, absenteeism, tardiness, leaving early, refusal to travel or refusal to work overtime, or different hours.
  • The University will hold all employees to the same standards of performance and scheduling demands and cannot make exceptions for employees who also hold outside jobs. If an employee decides to work at another job, activities that impair or have a detrimental effect on the employee’s work performance with the University are prohibited.
  • Employees may not solicit or conduct any outside business during paid working time.
  • Employees who have accepted outside employment may not use paid sick leave to work on the outside job. Fraudulent use of sick leave will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

The University prohibits the solicitation, distribution, and posting of materials on or at University property by any employee or non-employee, except as may be permitted by this policy. The sole exceptions to this policy are charitable and community activities supported by the University management and University-sponsored programs related to the University’s services. Provisions:

  • Employees may not solicit other employees during work times, except in connection with a University-approved or sponsored event.
  • Employees may not distribute literature of any kind during work times or in any work area at any time, except in connection with a University-sponsored event

Violations of this policy should be reported to Human Resources. Solicitation and distribution by any other person is prohibited at all times on University premises.

All confidential information concerning past and present employees, students, clients, donors, and firms with which the University does business is to be maintained in strict confidence. However, Human Resources will confirm dates of employment. Other employees should, therefore, never share or discuss such information without clear and prior authorization. Failure to protect confidential information could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.