Tuesday, March 27, 2012
UNT System to adopt at-will employment policy
Each member institution can now set their own rules, although they must follow certain requirements.
After four months of considering a move to at-will employment, UNT Chancellor Lee Jackson announced an adoption of the policy in a staff-wide email sent out March 20.
The adoption of the at-will policy will allow institutions of the UNT System to fire staff employees for any reason that is not illegal -- which federal and state laws describe as age, race, sex, disability, religion, and national origin.
“Effective June 1, all current and future employees within the UNT System, except faculty and individuals under contract, serve at-will,” Jackson wrote in the email.
While the email was not the official framework member institutions would be required to abide by when creating their own policies, Jackson said the official policy would be similarly structured.
“I will take the policies described in the letter and reflect them in the framework,” Jackson said in an interview Monday.
Jackson’s email included five requirements the system’s member institutions would need to implement when creating their own set of rules.
The requirements included notifying employees of their expected duties, giving a written notice with a reason for dismissal, an option to request a review, and requiring supervisors to consult with their human resource departments.
“I am revising our employment policies because I believe improvement is needed. With enhanced training and by working together, I believe we can place a higher priority on the quality of our workforce and support for employees,” said Jackson in the email.
When the official at-will policy is released by the self-imposed April 2 deadline, UNT will then begin developing its own policies and seeking input from staff representatives during the process, UNT President V. Lane Rawlins said.
“Once we have the policy and can see the details, UNT will be in a better position to answer your questions,” said Rawlins in a staff-wide email.
While protections to employees may have been put in place, political science department administrative coordinator Cece Hannah believes the passage of the policy will negatively affect employee morale.
“They talk about a green light to success, I don’t see this as part of the green light. For staff, who are the lowest paid employees of the university, I think it would make them think twice before trying to get a job here,” Hannah said.
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