UT Foundation Policies

7.0 Human Resources

7.1.1 Introduction

This Code of Conduct is intended to promote a harmonious, safe and collaborative work environment in all University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) offices through the establishment of general guidelines for employee conduct and behavior.

7.1.2 General Policy

Each UTFI employee is an integral participant in UTFI’s mission of benefitting the educational, research and public missions of The University of Tennessee. Each employee of the UTFI is expected to exhibit a high degree of professionalism and personal integrity consistent with the pursuit of excellence in the conduct of his or her responsibilities. The Foundation as a community holds to certain shared values by which employee actions are to be measured and governed. This policy identifies certain of those commonly held values and associated behaviors. Violations of the Code of Conduct may be cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

7.1.3 Respect for Persons

UTFI places a high value on human relations, human diversity and human rights. Consistent with these values, UTFI strives to maintain a work environment that is characterized by mutual respect for all individuals. Such an environment has no place for harassment or discrimination based on age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status; such behavior will not be tolerated.  UTFI staff are expected to treat one another, UT staff, students, and the general public in a cordial and respectful manner. The following behaviors are specifically prohibited:
  1. Disorderly conduct, including the use of discriminatory, abusive, or threatening language, fighting, provoking a fight, or attempting bodily harm or injury to another employee or to any other individual, or threatening physical action or injury on UTFI or UT property or during UTFI or UT activities; or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health, safety, or well-being of any person.
  2. Sexual harassment of employees, students, donors, customers, visitors, patients, vendors or any other person on UTFI or UT property or during UTFI or UT activities. See 7.7 Harassment and Discrimination.
  3. Discrimination against any individual on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.  See 7.7 Harassment and Discrimination.

7.1.4 Respect for Property

UTFI employees must be responsible caretakers of UTFI and UT resources. Consistent with this value, employees are expected to exercise reasonable care in the use of UTFI and UT property and to report any damage to property to their supervisors and/or other appropriate officials. The following activities are specifically prohibited:
  1. Willful or negligent damage to UTFI and UT property.
  2. Theft or dishonesty.
  3. Tampering with or wantonly destroying UTFI and UT data, records, or other information, gaining unauthorized access to such information; disclosing confidential information; or otherwise misusing UTFI and UT data or information.
  4. Unauthorized use of UTFI or UT vehicles, mail services, identification and credit cards, telephones, or UTFI or UT computers, or computer equipment, or other UTFI and UT equipment or materials. Computers and computer accounts are provided to employees to assist them in the performance of their jobs. Employees do not have a right to privacy in anything they create, send or receive on the computer. UTFI and UT have the right to access and monitor, for business reasons, any and all aspects of any university computer system, including employee e-mail.  Because UTFI’s technology infrastructure is provided by UT, technology in general and email in particular is subject to UT’s policy IT0110, Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  5. Soliciting, collecting money, or circulating petitions on UTFI or UT property at any time without permission of the location Vice Chancellor or CEO (in the case of UTFI property) or chief business officer or designee (in the case of UT property).

7.1.5 Standards of Safety

UTFI is committed to maintaining the safety and security of all persons on UTFI and UT property and during UTFI and UT activities and to maintain a safe and healthful working environment. Specific prohibited activities include:
  1. Possession of firearms, explosives, or other lethal materials on UTFI or UT property or during UTFI or UT activities.
  2. Possessing, drinking, or being under the influence of intoxicants on the job; unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol on UTFI or UT property or during UTFI or UT activities; illegally using, manufacturing, possessing, distributing, dispensing, or being under the influence of controlled substances on UTFI or UT property or during UTFI or UT activities.
  3. Refusal to obey security officials, Civil Defense personnel, or other proper authorities in emergencies.
  4. Failure to comply with safety rules, regulations or common safety practices.
  5. Failure to report an accident involving on-the-job injury or damage to UTFI or UT property.
  6. Smoking in non-designated areas.

7.1.6 Compliance with Laws and UTFI Policy

UTFI employees are expected to follow acceptable business and professional principles in matters of business and personal conduct and to exhibit personal and professional integrity and objectivity at all times.  UTFI employees are expected to take precautions to ensure that outside financial interests do not place them in conflict with carrying out their duties and responsibilities as employees of UTFI. Specifically prohibited activities include:
  1. Falsification of UTFI and UT records.
  2. Misrepresentation of academic credentials is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee. 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 UTFI, 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 institute 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.
  3. Behavior or conduct unacceptable to UTFI or UT or the community at large.
  4. Violating federal government security regulations.
  5. Any violation of state or federal law affecting ability to perform assigned work.
  6. Gambling on UTFI or UT property or during UTFI or UT activities.
  7. Flagrant violation or failure to observe traffic or parking regulations.
  8. Employees are expected to report to their supervisor, or other UTFI authority, evidence of activity by a state agency, contractor or employee that constitutes any of the following: violation of state or federal law or regulations, fraud in the operations of government programs, misappropriation of state or federal resources, acts which endanger the health or safety of the public or employees, and mismanagement of programs, funds and/or abuses of authority. The reporting of such evidence may be done in confidence, to the extent the law permits.  Retaliation against an employee reporting evidence of or refusing to carry out a directive to engage in such activity is strictly prohibited.  See Policy 7.17 Whistleblower Protection.

7.1.7 Work Performance

UTFI expects employees to make a commitment to quality job performance. Issues of poor performance or misconduct compromise both the employee and the organization. For this reason, UTFI expects work performance to meet high standards at all times. Prohibited behaviors include:
  1. Insubordination or refusal of an employee to follow instructions or to perform designated work or to comply with directives of authorized UTFI officials.
  2. Failure to wear proper uniform or identification in the prescribed manner as may be required by the UTFI.
  3. Sleeping on the job.
  4. Failure or refusal to maintain or obtain required licensure, certification or registration.
  5. Instigating or participating in deliberate low productivity and/or interfering with another employee’s work.

7.1.8 Standards of Attendance

UTFI depends upon its employees to carry out the work of the organization; therefore, reliable, consistent attendance is an important requirement of all positions. This standard is addressed more fully in Policy 7.18 Work Schedules, Attendance and Punctuality.


Individual performance and conduct issues can lead to a disruption of the work environment, failure to adequately perform work assignments and failure to meet performance goals, not just for the individual employee involved but for the organization as a whole. This policy is intended to encourage University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) employees to correct unacceptable work performance or work-related behavior and to adhere to UTFI policies and procedures.

Employment at Will

UTFI is an employment-at-will organization. Cause is not necessary to terminate employment.

General Policy

After considering all aspects of each individual disciplinary case, UTFI reserves the right to take any of the following disciplinary actions in response to performance and/or conduct issues:
  1. Verbal warning
  2. Written warning
  3. Suspension Termination
There is no requirement that discipline be progressive—in other words there is no requirement that one or more verbal warnings must precede a written warning nor that one or more written warnings must precede suspension or termination. An employee may be disciplined or discharged as a result of a single failure to meet a performance goal and/or a single conduct issue or as the ultimate step in an accumulation of performance or conduct issues for which verbal and/or written warnings may have been given. For serious performance and/or conduct issues, termination may be the first and only disciplinary step taken. Factors to be considered are:
  1. The nature of the performance or conduct issues under review.
  2. The seriousness of the performance or conduct issues under review.
  3. Previous disciplinary actions and the employee’s response thereto.
  4. Previous performance and work history of the employee.


Verbal Warning

A verbal warning is a conversation between a supervisor and an employee held in private about a performance or conduct issue. The warning is intended to correct the performance or conduct matter by bringing it to the employee’s attention in a serious yet friendly manner. Although verbal, the warning should be documented in writing, including:
  1. The date of the warning.
  2. The specific performance or behavioral issue.
  3. The expected performance or corrective action and a timeline for completion.
  4. Any explanation given by the employee or other information the supervisor feels is significant.
The documentation will be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Written Warning

A written warning is a formal written notice from the supervisor to the employee documenting a performance or conduct matter. The warning is intended to correct the performance or behavioral issue by bringing it to the employee’s attention and providing a written record of the warning. The warning should be documented in writing, including:
  1. The date of the warning.
  2. A description of the specific performance or conduct issue.
  3. A work improvement plan outlining steps to be taken, goals to be met or other performance or conduct objectives required to correct the performance or conduct at issue and a timeline for completing the same.
  4. A statement indicating that failure to meet the goals and objectives within the timeline set forth in the work improvement plan can result in additional disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
  5. The supervisor’s signature.
  6. Space where the employee may make a written statement in response to the warning. The employee may also provide a written response in a separate document and any such document will be attached to and filed with the warning.
  7. A place for the employee is to sign indicating he or she has received a copy of the warning notice.
    1. The employee’s signature signifies only that he or she has received a copy of the notice and does not in any way indicated the employee’s agreement with the content of the notice.
    2. If the employee refuses to sign the notice then the supervisor should indicate this fact, along with any reasons for not signing given by the employee, on the warning notice form.
The written warning, along with any written response from the employee, will be filed in the employee’s personnel record by HR.


Suspension means the employee is relieved of his or her job assignment while the unacceptable work performance or work-related behavior is investigated. During that time the employee shall not be physically present in any UTFI or UT office and shall have no contact with any UTFI or UT employee except through the UTFI HR office. When suspending an employee the supervisor or other authorized official must:
  1. Consult with the UTFI HR office;
  2. Place the employee on leave with pay while investigating the unacceptable work performance or work-related behavior in order to determine the appropriate action to take;


Pre-Termination Meeting: Before terminating a non-exempt employee or an exempt employee for gross misconduct or any reason that would result on loss of accrued annual leave, UTFI HR will convene a pre-termination meeting with the employee. UTFI HR will provide the employee with written notice of the pre-termination meeting. The notice shall include an explanation of the reason(s) for the termination. The employee will have an opportunity to respond to the reason(s) for termination at the pre-termination meeting. Termination means the employee is permanently relieved of all duties and his or her employment with UTFI is formally ended. If a decision to terminate is made, written notice of the termination and a Statement of Separation shall be delivered to the employee by the UFTI HR office. In the case of terminations of employees outside of the Knoxville area, the CEO may designate the campus Vice Chancellor or Associate/Assistant Vice Chancellor to deliver the written notice of termination and Statement of Separation. The written notice of termination shall include:
  1. The effective date of the termination.
  2. A description of any compensation which UTFI owes the terminated employee.
  3. The CEO or designee’ signature.
The notice of termination will be filed in the employee’s personnel record by HR. In the case of exempt employees, a decision to terminate is final. In the case of non- exempt employees, see Policy 7.6 Grievances.

Gross Misconduct

Gross misconduct includes the following: theft or dishonesty; gross insubordination, willful destruction of UTFI or university property; falsification of records; acts of moral turpitude; reporting for duty under the influence of intoxicants; the illegal use, manufacturing, possessing, distributing, purchasing or dispensing of controlled substances or alcohol; disorderly conduct; provoking a fight; and other similar acts involving intolerable behavior by the employee.
  1. In a case of gross misconduct, immediate disciplinary action up to and including termination may be taken.
  2. During the investigation of alleged gross misconduct, an employee may be placed on administrative leave with pay.
An employee suspected of theft of UTFI or University of Tennessee (UT) property may not resign as an alternative to discharge unless the approval of the CEO and, in the case of employees leased from UT, UT’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, is obtained in advance. An employee terminated for gross misconduct will not receive payment for accrued unused annual leave and is not eligible for state Consolidated Omnibus Benefits Rights Act (COBRA) benefits. Exception: If an employee is permitted to resign in lieu of termination for gross misconduct, the employee will retain rights to annual leave accruals and COBRA benefits.


Before suspending or terminating an employee for gross misconduct, the supervisor or Vice Chancellor must:
  1. Consult with the HR office,
  2. Advise the employee, orally or in writing, of the charge(s) against the employee, and
  3. Provide the employee an opportunity to respond.


An employee desiring to appeal a disciplinary action for gross misconduct must file a written request with the HR office within fifteen (15) working days following receipt of notification of the disciplinary action taken.

Appeal Process

The appeal process for employees disciplined or discharged for gross misconduct is as follows: Non-Exempt. A non-exempt employee may request an administrative review in writing through the appropriate vice chancellor or vice president to the Director of Human Resources. The review process will be coordinated by the HR office.
  1. Alternatively, a non-exempt employee may choose to go through the grievance procedure as described in Policy 7.6 Grievances.
  2. If any employee chooses to receive an informal hearing, a waiver of the employee’s right to proceed under the TUAPA must be signed by the employee.
Exempt. An exempt employee may request an administrative review in writing through the appropriate vice chancellor or vice president to the UTFI HR. The review process will be coordinated by the HR office.
  1. Alternatively, an exempt employee may request an informal hearing before a panel of 3 unbiased UTFI employees or, if the employee is leased from UT, a formal hearing under the TUAPA.
  2. If any employee chooses to receive an informal hearing, a waiver of the employee’s right to proceed under the TUAPA must be signed by the employee.

Roles and Responsibilities

Supervisor Responsibilities

Make certain that all employees of the unit understand their performance goals and the rules and regulations which govern their conduct. Point out and discuss performance issues, rule infractions and, when appropriate, give verbal warnings.
  1. Document all pertinent facts relating to any performance issues or misconduct.
  2. Record dates and substance of verbal warnings and convey the same to the UTFI HR.
Consult UTFI HR when contemplating issuance of a written warning. Issue the HR-approved warning. Recommend suspension and termination when the employee’s performance or conduct warrants that level of discipline.
  1. The CEO must approve any suspension and termination.
  2. Document the suspension and termination in accordance with Section 7.2.4, above.

HR Responsibilities

Review all disciplinary actions to ensure they are consistent with policy and fairly administered. Review and approve (in advance) all written warnings. Investigate all the facts and circumstances surrounding performance and/or behavioral issues that lead to supervisory recommendations for suspension and termination and report the results of the investigation to the CEO. No investigation shall begin without advance approval of the CEO.


The University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) is an employment-at-will organization. Cause is not necessary to terminate employment.


The University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) embraces human diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, and eliminating discrimination. This commitment is both a moral imperative consistent with an intellectual community that celebrates individual differences and diversity, as well as a matter of law.

General Policy

UTFI will not discriminate against any individual on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or military veteran status. This policy extends to recruitment, employment, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, compensation, training, benefits, and all other terms and conditions of employment.
  1. Employment opportunities will not be distinguished on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or military veteran status regardless of whether these categories enjoy a protected status under state or federal law.
  2. Selection practices will emphasize hiring qualified individuals with due consideration for qualified persons from underrepresented groups.
  3. All decisions concerning employment and performance should be based on an individual’s qualifications and performance and not on characteristics unrelated to job requirements.
  4. Employees shall not discriminate against or harass any employee on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military veteran status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status regardless of whether these categories enjoy a protected status under state or federal law. Employees who violate this principle are subject to discipline up to and including termination.
  5. Employees who believe they are the target of discrimination or harassment of any nature should immediately contact the UTFI Office of Human Resources for assistance. See also Policy 7.7 Harassment and Discrimination and Policy 7.6 Grievances.

Job Posting Language

All postings and advertisements for open positions shall include this language: “EEO/AA Employer.” When feasible, postings and advertisements for open positions should include this language: ‘To build a diverse workforce The University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. encourages applications from individuals with disabilities, minorities, veterans and women. EEO/AA employer.”

Pay Transparency

The University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the University of Tennessee Foundation’s legal duty to furnish information.

Affirmative Action Program

UTFI has an affirmative action program (AAP) for women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and military veterans, and any applicants or employees who wish to review the AAP can do so at the UTFI Human Resource office located at 1525 University Avenue, Room 225, Knoxville, TN, 37921, between the regular business hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST. Fully supported by the President and CEO, the AAP is audited and reported on annually. The overall responsibility for the AAP implementation is assigned to the Director of the Office of Human Resources. As part of the AAP, UTFI will recruit, hire, train and promote and ensure all personnel actions are administered without regard to protected veteran/disability status.

7.5.1 Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to ensure the retrieval of University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) assets when an employee separates from employment, to encourage departing employees to voice concerns and make suggestions to identify work environment issues that contribute to retention and turnover, and to guard against unjustified unemployment compensation.

7.5.2 Exit Interview

All regular employees (whether leased from UT or directly employed by UTFI) who voluntarily terminate their employment are encouraged to schedule an exit interview directly with the UTFI Office of Human Resources (HR) or, in the case of employees outside the Knoxville area, with a UTFI official designated by the campus Vice Chancellor for this purpose. Alternatively, staff may complete and submit the electronic form provided by HR. Data from exit interviews may be used to help improve human resource practices such as recruiting, orientation, performance management, training, and work conditions.

7.5.3 Release of Final Paycheck

For employees located in or responsible to the Knoxville area, UTFI uses the University’s “UTK Human Resources Exit Process” to check employees out at the conclusion of employment.  For employees outside the Knoxville area, UTFI follows the exit process for the home campus where the employee is located or responsible to.   The appropriate process must be followed by all regular exempt and non-exempt employees terminating or retiring from employment with UTFI for whatever reason.   Employees will return any University or UTFI owned equipment, along with their UT ID card, to a UTFI official designated by the campus Vice Chancellor for this purpose.    Final paychecks will not be issued until the final exit process has been completed and items have been turned in to the appropriate official.   Any unpaid debts may be deducted from the employee’s final paycheck, or the final paycheck may be withheld until debts are cleared. Employees leaving regular status should also consult with the UT Office of Benefits and Retirement to inquire about possible retirement distribution matters.

7.5.4 Change to Student or Term Status

When a regular exempt or non-exempt employee changes to a student or term employee status, the exit procedure outlined above must be followed.

7.6.1 Introduction

The objective of this policy is to provide a framework for the resolution of disputes which may arise between the University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) and its employees.

7.6.2 General Policy

UTFI recognizes that disputes may arise in the employment setting.  Employee complaints and disputes should be clarified at the earliest possible time and at the administrative level or office closest to the origin of the complaint. UTFI encourages the informal resolution of disputes through regular and forthright communication between staff and supervisors.  Assistance is available to supervisors from the UTFI Office of Human Resources (UTFI HR).  Supervisors should discuss any concerns regarding an employee’s work with that person in a timely fashion in an effort to resolve any work-related issues.  Employees are encouraged to bring work-related issues to the attention of their supervisors as soon as those issues arise, so that the issues can be discussed with the objective of informal resolution. Work-related issues involving a direct supervisor of an employee should be brought to the attention of the next level supervisor or appropriate unit leadership.

7.6.3 Grievances

The grievance procedure is available to non-exempt employees only.
  1. Grievance is a non-exempt employee’s formal complaint about one or more of the following matters, which the employee has not been able to resolve with his or her immediate supervisor and/or through the Complaint procedure:
    1. Any unresolved issue concerning interpretation and/or application of UTFI policy, practice, or procedure.
    2. Discipline (verbal or written warning, suspension, termination), work assignments, or conditions of work which the employee claims are based on discrimination, workplace harassment, or other unlawful acts (including claims of racial and sexual harassment).
    3. Any employee who feels he or she has been the victim of unlawful harassment should report the situation immediately to the President/CEO or to the UTFI Office of Human Resources (HR).  See 7.7 Harassment and Discrimination.
  2. To file a grievance the employee must, within 15 working days of the conduct which forms the basis of the grievance, submit a Grievance Form outlining the pertinent facts to his/her immediate supervisor.
    1. Supervisors are responsible for making every effort to resolve grievances locally.
      1. On receiving a grievance the supervisor shall meet face-to-face with the employee filing the grievance.
      2. The supervisor shall also conduct such other investigation as he or she deems appropriate.
    2. Within 30 working days of receiving a grievance, the supervisor shall issue a written response to the grievance.
  3. If the employee filing the grievance is not satisfied with the supervisor’s written response, then the employee may, within fifteen working days of receipt of the response, forward the original grievance complaint, the supervisor’s written response, and a written request for a hearing to the UTFI HR Office. A hearing is the final step for a grievance.
    1. The UTFI HR Office will arrange for a hearing before the President/CEO (or someone he/she designates) and a panel of 3 unbiased UTFI employees. The hearing will take place within 15 working days of receiving the request for hearing. The UTFI HR Office will work in collaboration with the UT Human Resources Office.
    2. The CEO (or his/her designee) will issue a written decision within 15 working days of the hearing.
    3. This decision will be final and binding.
  4. At each step in a grievance procedure, the employee filling the grievance is entitled to be accompanied and represented by one UTFI employee chosen by the person filing the grievance.

7.6.5 Confidentiality

Except as required by law, all information received in connection with a complaint or grievance process will be held in strictest confidence by all participants in the complaint or grievance process.  If UTFI is required to disclose any such information to an outside agency, UTFI will notify those involved in the complaint or grievance process.

7.6.6 Retaliation Prohibited

UTFI employees are entitled to pursue legitimate complaints and grievances without fear, restraint, interference, discrimination, or reprisal.

7.6.7 Documentation

All records generated in connection with any informal dispute resolution, complaint or grievance will be turned over to the UTFI HR office at the conclusion of the process.  UTFI HR will maintain these records in accordance with the Record Retention Schedule (see Policy 9.1 Records Management).


The University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) does not condone or tolerate harassment or discrimination.

General Policy

All employees of UTFI are expected to treat each other with courtesy, consideration, and respect. All employees are responsible for creating and maintaining a work environment that is free of illegal harassment or discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, marital status or any other legally protected status. Any UTFI employee who engages in harassment or discriminatory acts in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.


Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that demeans or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of that person’s age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Examples of harassing conduct include, but are not limited to epithets; slurs; negative Stereotyping; demeaning comments or labels; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability; and written or graphic material that demeans or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability and that is placed on walls, bulletin boards, computers or elsewhere on the employer’s premises, or circulated in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of gender (sex) discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has defined sexual harassment as follows: “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment”. Prohibited sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, sexual jokes, calendars, posters, cartoons, magazines; derogatory or physically descriptive comments about or towards another employee; sexually suggestive comments; inappropriate use of UTFI or UT communications include e-mail and telephone (see UT policy IT0110, Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources, which is incorporated herein by reference), unwelcome touching or physical contact; punishment or favoritism on the basis of an employee’s sex; sexual slurs; negative sexual stereotyping.

Complaints of Harassment or Discrimination

Any employee experiencing or witnessing harassment or discrimination should immediately report the matter to the UTFI Office of Human Resources (HR) or the President/CEO. UTFI will undertake an appropriate investigation of all reports of harassment and take such corrective action as deemed necessary and appropriate in light of the results of the investigation and this policy. UTFI will take no retaliatory or other negative action against an employee who, in good faith, reports harassment or discrimination or who participates in any investigation of harassment or discrimination.


One of the driving forces behind the current University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) structure is the ongoing management of performance through a contemporary approach to continuous assessment, feedback and constant workforce development of behavior, knowledge, skills and abilities (BKSA) for a highly functioning team.

Performance Management

Performance management is the broad function of coaching, assessing, developing, and managing performance outcomes to realize the overall mission. UTFI is committed to recognition and reward of outstanding individual and team contributions. The UTFI compensation and performance management approach is in support of this function.

The ongoing process of performance management provides for definition of clear job responsibilities and expectations of success; methods of measuring productivity against defined expectations; alignment of individual, team and unit goals with the overall values of UTFI; feedback and coaching; identification of BKSA needs; and, support and guidance for individual promotional/career development progression.

Tools used provide the mechanism for documenting the measurement of what and how individuals achieve desired outcomes.

The major steps in continual process:

  1. Planning – at the initial onset of beginning the job or of the performance year, establish mutual understanding of responsibilities and expectations, establish goals and functional competencies to successfully achieve the desired outcome, document all.
  2. Coaching and feedback – throughout the year communicate regularly and document progress.
  3. Progress and develop – identify, develop and implement new skills or behaviors to meet expectations. Document accomplishments towards the efforts.
  4. Review – The formal review is completed at fiscal year-end and documented in Sprigg HR. Performance review information and a timetable is available in the performance management section of the UTFI HR web site.

The formal review provides a documented account of each employee’s performance contributions at the conclusion of the review cycle. It is an essential component of the performance management system and ties directly to workforce development and compensation decisions, both for merit increase and performance incentives. See Policy 3.1 Compensation Philosophy.



The University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) strives to ensure that all employment positions, exempt and non-exempt, are classified and assigned to a pay grade or band equitably in light of the duties and responsibilities of each position.

General Policy

The UTFI Office of Human Resources (HR) will classify and assign each position a title and pay grade/band. In doing so, HR will consider the education, experience, skill, duties, effort and responsibility inherent in each position and by way of comparison to other positions with UTFI. The review and classification process will also consider UTFI’s 3.1 Compensation Philosophy and related compensation policies. Subject to oversight and guidance from the President and Chief Executive Officer (President), the CFO is the final management authority on all decisions under the classification and pay grade/band system.

Position Descriptions

Each supervisor is responsible for maintaining accurate, up-to-date position descriptions for all positions in the supervisor’s area of responsibility. HR will maintain a master file of active position descriptions which shall be available as a resource to any UTFI employee.

New Positions

Requests for new positions should be made through the HR Office and should include the following information:
  1. Anticipated salary and benefits (including any cell phone allowance) and budget source for funding the same
  2. Estimated start-up and operating costs (e.g., new computer, travel budget for development officer) and budget source for funding the same
  3. Proposed position description
  4. Any other information deemed appropriate.
See Policy 7.13 Recruiting.

Reclassification of Positions

Requests for reclassification of existing positions should be made through HR and should include the following information:
  1. Reason for the request
  2. Existing position description
  3. Proposed new position description
  4. Any other information deemed appropriate.
See Reclassification Procedures. Ordinarily, a position will be reclassified when there is a significant change in job content, but not an increase in work volume or pace.

Legal Requirements

Various federal and state laws regulate numerous position classification and compensation issues, including child labor, minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping. HR is responsible for determining which job classifications are exempt and non-exempt in light of these laws and regulations:
  1. Exempt verses non-exempt status is based on the duties and responsibilities of an individual position, the required educational level and the compensation provided.
  2. Exempt employees are paid a salary and are not entitled to overtime pay or compensatory time.
  3. Non-exempt employees are paid on an hourly basis and are entitled to overtime pay at one and one-half times their “regular hourly rate” for any hours worked in excess of 40 during the workweek. Regular hourly rate is defined as the calculated average hourly rate for that pay period. Supervisors must consult with HR for all overtime calculation needs that require manual calculation outside the payroll system.


All newly hired employees (whether leased from UT or directly employed by the University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI)) shall serve an introductory period of six calendar months in an active pay status with UTFI beginning with the first day of regular employment. During this introductory period employees are subject to discharge without recourse. Supervisors will evaluate each introductory employee’s performance (using the same performance review tools used for annual performance evaluations) and provide the employee with feedback at least once during the introductory period. Successful completion of the introductory employment period does not change the applicability of Policy 7.3 Employment at Will.

7.12.1 Introduction

Accurate recording of hours worked and annual or other leave used is essential to ensure the accuracy of employee paychecks, the accuracy of the University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) records, and the ability to audit for compliance with UTFI policies. Each employee will record time and leave as warranted by pay cycle (monthly or bi-weekly).

7.12.2 General Policy

  1. MONTHLY PAID EMPLOYEES: Each employee will record leave (annual, sick, etc.) through the Employee Self Service (ESS) IRIS Web Portal. Leave should be certified by employees on the first day of each month. The immediate supervisor should verify the leave hours recorded and certified for accuracy and approve in IRIS.
  2. BI-WEEKLY PAID EMPLOYEES: Each employee will record working hours and leave requests (annual, sick, etc.) through the Employee Self Service (ESS) IRIS Web Portal no later than the deadlines set by the University Payroll Office. The immediate supervisor should verify the hours recorded for accuracy and approve/deny as appropriate by the deadlines set by the University Payroll Office.
  3. TEMPORARY & STUDENT EMPLOYEES: Each temporary or student employee will complete the 7.16.1 Biweekly Time Report or 7.16.2 Monthly Time Report (depending on whether the employee is paid biweekly or monthly) no later than the deadlines set by the University Payroll Office. The immediate supervisor should verify the hours recorded for accuracy and approve before forwarding to the UTFI [email protected] for processing.

7.12.3 Overtime

The University of Tennessee Foundation will pay time and a half to nonexempt employees who exceed 40 hours of work time in a workweek. Paid leave, such as holiday, sick or annual leave pay, does not apply toward work time. Overtime payments do not commence until the employee exceeds 40 hours in a workweek. Employees who anticipate the need for overtime to complete the week’s work must notify their supervisors in advance and obtain approval prior to working hours that extend beyond their normal schedule. Approval is required for hours that exceed 40 hours in a workweek. Supervisors who continually rely on the use of overtime hours to complete a week’s work without it being deemed as extenuating circumstances by management and employees who fail to obtain approval prior to working hours that extend beyond their normal 40-hour workweek may be subject to disciplinary action.

7.12.4 Falsification

Falsification of time reports is grounds for immediate discharge.


The University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) is an employment-at-will organization. Cause is not necessary to terminate employment.

General Policy

Termination from UTFI, for whatever reason, shall be officially documented in such a manner as to establish a clear record of the termination action. Unless a termination occurs while the employee is on leave of absence without pay, a termination is effective as of the end of the employee’s last working day. The UTFI Office of Human Resources (HR) will create the necessary forms and procedures to implement this policy.

Termination Categories

  1. Resignation is a voluntary action on the part of the employee. Non-exempt employees must give a minimum of two weeks advance, written notice of resignation. Exempt employees must give a minimum of four weeks advance, written notice of resignation. Resignations should be submitted to the employee’s immediate supervisor, who will acknowledge the resignation in writing. Supervisors should immediately forward all written resignations to HR, which will then contact the employee to ensure that the resignation is implemented.
  2. Discharge is an action initiated by UTFI to terminate an employee. See Policy 7.2 Disciplinary Action. All discharges must be approved in advance by the CEO.
  3. Reduction In Force is a discharge action initiated by UTFI to terminate an employee because of temporary or permanent lack of work, lack of funds, or reorganization.
  4. Death: See “Benefit in the Event of an Employee Death” in Policy 3.4 Employee Benefits.
  5. Retirement is a form of resignation. Any employee who decides to retire should notify his or her immediate supervisor of the projected retirement date in writing as far in advance as possible. The supervisor will immediately forward the retirement notice to HR. HR will contact the employee and, in the case of employees leased from the University, put the employee in touch with the appropriate University officials to initiate the needed paperwork.


The University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI), in light of its goal to operate in an open and transparent manner and in the spirit of the Tennessee Whistle Blower Protection Act, T.C.A. Section 8-50-116, establishes the following Whistleblower Protection Policy. The purpose of this policy is to prohibit supervisory personnel from taking adverse or retaliatory actions against an employee as a result of the employee’s disclosure of alleged wrongful conduct. The employee who discloses the alleged wrongful conduct is a “whistleblower.” UTFI strives to conduct all of its business activities in an open, responsible, legal, and accountable manner. To fortify this effort, and as a demonstration of the seriousness with which these responsibilities are accepted, this policy is intended to:
  1. Encourage individuals to bring to the attention of UTFI any known or suspected violations of improper, illegal, wasteful, or fraudulent activity regarding UTFI resources.
  2. Encourage staff and volunteers to come forward with credible information on illegal practices or serious violations of adopted policies.
  3. Prohibit UTFI employees from interfering with the right of an employee to blow the whistle.
  4. Prohibit UTFI employees from retaliating against an employee for having made a protected disclosure or for having refused an illegal order.
  5. Provide a procedure for filing and addressing complaints of retaliation for whistle-blowing.

General Policy

No adverse personnel action or other retaliatory action will be taken against a UTFI employee in reprisal for the employee’s disclosure of information regarding:
  1. A violation of law.
  2. Mismanagement/gross waste of funds.
  3. Abuse of authority.
Allegations regarding any of the foregoing are collectively referred to in this policy as “alleged wrongful conduct.” No UTFI employee with authority to make or materially influence significant personnel decisions shall take an adverse personnel action or any other retaliatory act against an employee in reprisal for disclosing alleged wrongful conduct. Any UTFI employee found to have violated this policy shall be disciplined in accordance with UTFI policies and procedures.

Whistleblower Retaliation Complaint

Any current or former employee who has been subjected to an adverse personnel action or retaliation based on his or her prior disclosure of alleged wrongful conduct may protest the personnel action or retaliation by filing a written whistleblower complaint with the CEO. The written whistleblower complaint filed must set forth in sufficient detail the necessary facts, including:
  1. Date(s) of the alleged adverse personnel action or retaliation.
  2. Names of the UTFI employees involved in the alleged adverse personnel action or retaliation.
  3. Nature of the alleged adverse personnel action or retaliation.
  4. Facts supporting the alleged adverse personnel action or retaliatory act(s).
  5. The effect on the complainant of the alleged adverse personnel action or retaliatory act(s).
The CEO may require the complainant to provide such additional detail as necessary in order to act on the complaint. If the complainant fails to provide the additional detail requested within 15 business days, the complaint will be dismissed. On receipt of a written whistleblower complaint, the CEO shall review the complaint and interview any individuals he or she deems appropriate in order to expeditiously determine:
  1. Whether the whistle-blower complainant reported alleged wrongful conduct before an adverse action was imposed,
  2. Whether the complainant suffered an adverse personnel action or other retaliatory act after reporting alleged wrongful conduct , and
  3. Whether the adverse action or other retaliatory act resulted from the prior disclosure.
Within 30 business days after receipt of the complaint, the CEO shall notify the complainant in writing, with a copy to the employee’s supervisor, of the results of the review and whether the adverse personnel action or other retaliatory act is affirmed, reversed, or modified. The supervisor will implement the decision and will verify implementation in writing to the CEO within 10 days after receipt of the decision.

Harassment and Discrimination Concerns Vs.Whistleblowing

It is important to distinguish concerns about workplace harassment and/or discrimination from the types of concerns this policy is meant to address. See Policy 7.1 Code of Conduct and Policy 7.7 Harassment and Discrimination.

7.18.1 Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to provide a standard of attendance and punctuality for all University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) employees.  Because employees are vital to the mission of UTFI, reliable and consistent attendance is a condition of employment.

7.18.2 General Policy

Normal UTFI office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, local time (UTFI has offices in both the Eastern and Central zones).    Supervisors may set different office hours and work schedules and/or work locations as needed to accommodate the operational needs of each office provided that any such office hours, work schedules, and locations comply with state and federal law and are documented in writing using the Alternate Work Acknowledgement Form.  See 7.20 Alternate Work Arrangements Guidelines. In emergency situations, the Foundation president or CFO has authority to waive the requirement of a formal documented work schedule and authorize telecommuting for all or part of the staff at central, campus and institute locations. For purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the work week begins at 12:01 a.m., local time, on Monday of each week.

7.18.3 Attendance

An employee is absent when not at work or unavailable for the assigned work schedule regardless of the reason for the unavailability.

Scheduled Absences

Employees shall seek supervisor (or designee) approval of scheduled time off from work (e.g. vacation, doctor’s appointments, personal days, etc.), whether paid or unpaid, as far in advance of the anticipated time off as possible.  Scheduled absences are arranged at the mutual convenience of the office and the employee based on the operational needs of the office.  Scheduled absences must be requested in advance of time off by the employee via Employee Self Service (ESS) leave request form submission and approved in advance of the absence by the supervisor (or designee).

Unscheduled Absences

If an employee misses work due to an unscheduled absence (e.g. due to illness or a sick child), the employee must notify the supervisor (or designee).  Absence must be documented via leave request in ESS and approved by the supervisor within the current pay period of the employee’s return to work.  Excessive unscheduled absences may result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

Family and Medical Leave

See UT’s Policy HR0338, Family and Medical Leave, which applies to all UTFI leased employees.


An employee who has three consecutive days of unscheduled absences with no notice to the supervisor (or designee) shall be deemed to have abandoned his or her position and the supervisor can, at his or her discretion, terminate the employee effective the day following the last day of work.

7.18.4 Punctuality

Employees are expected to report to the assigned work site during scheduled work hours. Employees who fail to report to the assigned work site at the scheduled time (including failing to return from any breaks or lunch periods on time) are deemed to be tardy and may be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge.  Employees may not extend a normal workday to make up for being tardy without supervisor approval.

7.18.5 Documentation

Employees shall note all absences (scheduled or unscheduled), late arrivals, early departures and extended breaks in the workday via the appropriate method of ESS entry or on the appropriate time record. See Policy 7.12 Recording Time and Leave. Annual leave, sick or personal time away from work must be reported on the time record.  Falsification of time records is grounds for immediate discharge. Alternate work schedules/arrangements will be developed following 7.20 Alternate Work Guidelines, and in consultation with UTFI HR and documented on the Alternate Work Acknowledgement form.


The purpose of this policy is to provide a safe working environment for employees by establishing rules regarding weapons on property occupied by University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc.

Firearms Prohibited

The University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. (UTFI) prohibits all employees, leased from the University of Tennessee or directly hired, from carrying a handgun, firearm, or prohibited weapon of any kind onto UTFI property regardless of whether the employee is licensed to carry the weapon or not. This policy applies to all UTFI employees, leased from the University of Tennessee (UT), directly hired, contract, temporary and student employees. Visitors on University property may not carry a concealed weapon, regardless of whether or not they are licensed to carry a concealed weapon. The only exceptions to this policy will be police officers, security guards or other University of Tennessee employees who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon and have registered with campus security to have written consent by the University of Tennessee to carry a weapon on University property. All UTFI employees are also prohibited from carrying a weapon while in the course and scope of performing their job, whether they are on UTFI or University property at the time or not and whether they are licensed to carry a handgun or not. Employees may not carry a weapon while performing any task on the UTFI’s behalf. This policy also prohibits weapons at any UTFI or University sponsored function such as parties or picnics. Specifically excluded from this policy are recreational hunting and shooting by UTFI and University employees either (1) on University or UTFI property appropriate for such activities or (2) on property not owned or operated by UT or UTFI if such activities are within the course and scope of one’s UTFI or University employment.

Prohibited Weapons

Prohibited weapons include any form of weapon or explosive restricted under local, state or federal regulation. This includes all firearms, illegal knives or other weapons covered by the law. If you have a question about whether an item is covered by this policy, please contact the UTFI Office of Human Resources. You will be held responsible for ensuring that any potentially covered item you possess is not prohibited by this policy.


  1. “UTFI property” covered by this policy includes, without limitation, all UTFI and University of Tennessee owned or leased buildings and surrounding areas such as sidewalks and walkways under the UTFI’s ownership or control (including by lease from the University or from others). UT vehicles are covered by this policy at all times regardless of whether they are on UTFI or University property at the time.
  2. Parking Areas -In accordance with Tennessee law (TCA § 39-17-1313), and unless expressly prohibited by federal law, an employee who is the holder of a valid handgun carry permit may transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the employee’s private motor vehicle while parked in an authorized location. The firearm and firearm ammunition must be kept from ordinary observation and locked in the trunk, glove box, interior of the motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to a motor vehicle. For purposes of this section, motor vehicle does not include any that are owned, operated or controlled by the University and that are provided by the University for use during the course of employment.


UTFI reserves the right to conduct searches of any employee, office or object that enters onto UTFI property. Pursuant to this provision, UTFI is authorized to search lockers, desks, purses, briefcases, baggage, toolboxes, lunch sacks, clothing, and any other item in which a weapon may be hidden. Additionally, UTFI may search a vehicle used by the employee to conduct business on behalf of the Company, regardless of whether the vehicle is located on University or UTFI property at the time. Searches may be conducted by UTFI leadership, UT Police or local authorities. To the extent the search is requested by UTFI leadership and the employee is present, the employee may refuse the search; provided, however, that such refusal can result in termination of employment for refusal to cooperate. UTFI reserves the right to conduct searches on its property or authorize searches by UT Police or law enforcement on its property without the employee being present. Any searches under this policy shall be reasonable both in determination of need and execution of the search.


Failure to abide by all terms and conditions of the policies described above may result in discipline up to and including termination. See Policy 7.2 Disciplinary Action. Further, carrying a weapon onto UTFI or University property in violation of this policy will be considered an act of criminal trespass and will be grounds for immediate removal from the property, and may result in prosecution. NOTE: This policy shall not be construed to create any duty or obligation on the part of utfi to take any actions beyond those required of an employer by existing law. If you become aware of anyone violating this policy, please report it to the UTFI Office of Human Resources or UT Police immediately. UT Police Department 1101 Cumberland Av. Knoxville, TN 37996 865-974-3114 [email protected] UTFI Office of Human Resources 1525 University Avenue Knoxville, TN 37921 865-974-4686 [email protected]


The purpose of this policy is to provide a standard of alternate work arrangements (AWA) for all University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) employees when it is deemed appropriate.

Jump to:

General Guidelines

AWA may be necessary to meet operational needs or requested by staff for personal reasons. AWA must comply with state and federal law and must be documented in writing. These AWA may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Flexible schedule – a flexible schedule may include a compressed work week (i.e. four 10-hour work days) or varying work hours outside of normal UTFI office hours of Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time where the staff member works (i.e. 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).
  • Telecommuting – Telecommuting is an arrangement that allows a staff member to perform some work at a location other than the office. This may be a regular or occasional schedule based on department need or that of the staff member.
  • Job sharing – Two or more staff may share responsibilities of a single position at less than full time effort. Both are responsible to share accountability of the role. (i.e. 2 staff work 2.5 days each per week to fulfill one full time position need).

AWA may be instituted as a regular ongoing schedule or temporarily based on the need or preference of a staff member, or, on the needs of UTFI (for example a weather event or response to emergency needs). Temporary is considered excess of 5 days up to 3 months duration.

Requests for AWA will be considered on a case-by-case basis.   An AWA is an option of flexibility in situations benefiting the employee, job, supervisor and others when all are well-matched to the arrangement. Not all people or positions are suited to such flexibility.  All requests and situations will be evaluated with feasibility determined based on the people involved, positions, technology and approval as warranted.

Telecommuting AWA may not exceed 60% time or 3 days a week unless prior authorization is granted based on business need or, defined as a regional position specifically serving a constituency in a location at least 75 miles or more from the campus/institute of responsibility.

AWA requests may not be granted where presence in the office or availability during normal business hours are necessary to perform the responsibilities of the position.

Telecommuting is not designed to be a replacement for appropriate dependent care or for conducting personal business. Appropriate leave is a benefit for that purpose and expected to be used.  The focus of the arrangement must remain on job performance and meeting business demands during documented work hours. 

Eligibility and Arrangement Expectations

Any new employee entering into an AWA agreement must have completed an introductory employment of 6 months.  New employees hired directly from the University of Tennessee who have successfully completed an introductory employment period of 6 months are eligible to enter in an AWA immediately upon hire with the Foundation.   A probationary period of 3 months must be completed to continue on a permanent basis.  Ability to participate in an AWA is not a University benefit or entitlement of working for UTFI.

To determine eligibility for an AWA, following questions, along with others that are appropriate to the specific situation, should be considered:

    • Can the operational needs be met through work accomplished under an alternate schedule/location?
    • Can data integrity (security and privacy) be appropriately safeguarded?
    • Will the impact of an AWA allow for continued collaboration with others?
    • Can the appropriate equipment be reasonably assigned/installed at an alternate location?

The following are expectations of an alternate work arrangement:

  • The employee may request AWA based on personal needs or the supervisor may set an alternate work arrangement based on operational needs. See Policy 7.18 Work Schedules, Attendance and Punctuality. Normal work schedule hours if outside of the published 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and must be documented including justification if outside of the published normal hours of operation.
  • The alternate work arrangement must be documented via the Alternate Work Acknowledgement form in consultation with UTFI Human Resources Office.
  • Employees are expected to adhere to all UTFI operational policies and procedures regardless of any AWA. Working under an AWA does not affect employment terms and will not change as a result of working at an assigned office location or remote work location.
  • Benefits for employees in an AWA will be based on regular eligibility and as applicable to position status and FTE percentage.
  • Employees may not be in an AWA if in a current disciplinary status or performance improvement plan.
  • Employees are expected to maintain their assigned full-time effort and documented work hours while performing responsible duties under an alternate work arrangement. An AWA formal document is not necessary for temporary situations (less than 5 days) or, in situations where normal work responsibilities are accomplished working outside of the assigned office space. i.e. Staff traveling to meet with donors or participate in events with alumni.
  • Employees are expected to record time and leave appropriately while working under an AWA. See Policy 7.12 Recording Time and Leave.
  • All parties are expected to adhere to the protection and security of data and information as outlined in the UTFI Confidentiality Agreement. Employees are expected to adhere to the UT IT0110 Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources. Employees will be given access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure connections with appropriate servers and networks. The VPN must be used in an effort to secure and protect data to the maximum.
  • Any deviation from the AWA must be approved in advance by the supervisor and unit head. (i.e. schedule, working hours, overtime, etc.)
  • UTFI will provide equipment and reasonable supplies as warranted for AWA arrangements. Employees may use personal equipment as approved by supervisor.  Any cost sharing will be evaluated on a case by case basis and need given position or location and should not be an expectation of an arrangement.  Internet costs and parking are not reimbursable. All parties agree on equipment needs or costs at the initiation of and as documented in the AWA.  If AWA at employee request, employee must have reliable, internet with adequate speed required to perform work expectations with minimal interruptions.  If alternate location is required by the business need, UTFI will provide necessary equipment to perform expected duties. All equipment owned by UTFI will be returned upon request or at the end of the AWA.
  • Employees are expected to maintain a designated work area that will provide for appropriate, productive and safe working conditions. If an employee is injured in the course of work-related activities, he or she may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Should an injury occur, it is expected employees follow normal procedures of on-the-job injuries. The workers’ compensation provider will determine eligibility of coverage based on the incident documentation. UTFI is not responsible for costs associated with setup of alternate work spaces to include but not limited to the following: construction, remodeling, furnishings, repairs or modifications to alternate spaces.
  • It is expected that an employee performs the job they are responsible for under an AWA. If an employee is unable to perform the expected duties of an AWA due to personal reasons, or equipment or weather issues, the employee must report the issue to their supervisor immediately.  Depending on the nature of the problem, the employee may take leave or be expected to return to normal work arrangements. (i.e. normal work hours and/or location)
  • As need may arise on occasion, employees are expected to attend necessary meetings which may occur on scheduled remote work days. With supervisor permission, adjustments may be made by exchanging for an alternate scheduled in-office day. When in a remote setting, employees should not conduct business meetings or visits at the alternate work location unless traveling and conducting business in the normal course of expected responsibilities.  Any exception to meetings at documented alternate work locations must be approved by the supervisor in advance.

Performance Expectations

While in an AWA, it is expected that employees continue to meet standards of conduct and behavior including performance for the position.  See Policy 7.1 Code of Conduct. Should the employee fail to meet expectations or the AWA, steps will be taken to address the performance.  See Policy 7.2 Disciplinary Action Policy.

Expectations of an AWA may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Communication
  • Deadlines of work output
  • Meeting attendance
  • Responsiveness to inquiries
  • Activity reports

An AWA may be discontinued at any time.  Reasons may be based on need of the employee, operational needs, expectations of the AWA or, employee performance are not being met.

Any questions related to an AWA or claims of property damage (UTFI or personal) resulting from performance of duties under an AWA should be directed to the employee’s supervisor and the UTFI Human Resources Office.

  • Does being in an AWA affect benefits? Vacation time, sick time, etc.
    • Benefits will remain unchanged regardless of work location. Benefits eligibility is based on status (regular/temp) and effort of the position.
  • What should be listed in the justification portion of the form?
    • Justification is the reason for the request whether employee preference to work effectively or, based on business needs.
    • Expectation of duties should list what will be accomplished in a remote setting and the expected quantity and quality of work during remote work
  • Whose responsibility is it to submit the jot form?
    • The form may be submitted by an employee or supervisor to document the agreement and expectations.
  • Is there a time frame to submit a request? What if we want to explore the option at a later date?
    • The AWA requests are effective July 6, 2021. A request may be submitted any time after that date based on staff request or business need.
  • Is this also a policy for new hires?
    • You must be employed for 6 months before requesting alternate work based on the AWA policy.
  • Can we request for equipment (ex: new laptop) if we have been using our personal computers, etc.?
    • Each campus/department will evaluate the need for remote work and resources available to allow the option. The is no guarantee of equipment being assigned or purchased if the need for the AWA is not business driven.
  • Why would someone’s request to telecommute be turned down?
    • A request may be denied based on the business need of presence in the office or performance not meeting expectations.
  • Are managers considering all like titled positions in the department in person/remote balance?
    • Managers should consider positions based on department need and employee performance. If requests are made by employees of the same title/level position, both should have equal opportunity for remote/flex schedule if the business need allows and performance expectations are met.
  • If you need to change the days or percentage that you work remote during the time of your AWA, should we submit a new form?
    • If the days or times need to be changed an email to HR from the supervisor is sufficient. A new form should document changes of significance related to expectations of work.
  • On July 6, if anyone does not have an AWA in effect, will those employees be expected to be in office full time?
    • Yes, employees are expected to be in-office.
  • Will staff be required to work the same hours no matter work location?
    • Standard business hours should be observed regardless of work location however, if AWA is for flex schedule that will be documented. Discuss with a supervisor if a temporary change is needed.
  • Are we limited to 2-3 days a week working from home?
    • The policy is for up to 60% or 3 days remote per week. The expectation is that the remainder of the work week will be in the office.
  • Do you pay the full rate for a parking while in an AWA?
    • If you need parking which requires payment for your work location, that is not an item UTFI controls and you are expected to pay for the lot to which you are assigned or make alternate arrangements.
  • If you didn’t want to sign up for a permanent schedule, can you just let your supervisor know when you want to work an occasional day remotely?
    • No, anything over 5 continuous days of temporary need must be documented.
  • What if we have symptoms of illness, but still feel well enough to work, can we request a one-day work from home from our supervisor?
    • Yes, on a case-by-case basis, and as long as your supervisor agrees staff may work remotely in this situation. An AWA form is not necessary for rare occasions.
  • What’s the difference between temporary and telecommute options are?
    • Up to 5 days is a temporary scenario such as a sick or snow day.
    • Anything in excess of 5 days requires a form.
    • 3-month window is a probation period, and after that it may become permanent until changed or cancelled.
    • Each is subject to reevaluation due to office needs, performance, etc.
  • Do I have to choose MWF or TR for remote schedule?
    • Days to be remote should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and should be discussed with your supervisor. Supervisors have the responsibility to ensure staffing in office meets the business need of the unit.
  • If a person violates the terms of an AWA agreement and is brought back to office full time, will they be able to request it again in the future?
    • If performance meets expectations following a performance period, it is possible an AWA request could be honored in the future.
  • If there are times where I need to come into the office on a day that is scheduled on my AWA as a remote day, is that a violation of the policy?
    • Individual day changes do not need to be documented, but should be worked out with a supervisor.
  • Can Mondays and Fridays be remote days?
    • There is nothing in the policy that restricts days. That is a consideration that the supervisor would need to determine based on the needs of the business.
  • Do you have to set the days of the week that you’re working in or out of the office?
    • This policy is to set expectations as to what work will be done on the scheduled days in-office or remotely.
    • The more consistent that you are, the easier it is to plan with your supervisor and business structure.
  • Is there a policy decision for buying additional equipment to work remotely?
    • No, if not a business need, additional equipment expenses will fall to the employee. Equipment will be provided based on business need regardless of location.
  • If you’re working remote, must you be at home, or can you work from Starbucks or Panera, etc.?
    • It is an expectation that if not traveling, remote work be conducted at a permanent location where a dedicated space has been established to work. The policy is to allow for one to accomplish the expected job outside of the office location.
  • Is the probation period formal, and if so, how is it documented?
    • Yes, the initial 3 months will be documented. HR will contact supervisors near the conclusion of the 3 month probation to confirm if expectations are being met. It not, steps will be determined as to proceeding.
  • Is this considered a permanent policy for the Foundation, or is it just for an interim period?
    • It is intended to be a permanent policy
  • Is it okay to be in the office more than what’s on the AWA?
    • The primary concern is safety. Documentation will only be if the change in days are permanent.
  • Can I have a compressed work week and telecommute?
    • Yes, as long as you are able to meet the requirements of your job and the business need of the unit.
  • What if I don’t know the tag numbers for my equipment?
    • Supervisor or employee can fill it out. Tag numbers are assets tracked in IRIS as well.
  • If in-office responsibilities are to be divided, can multiple employees work remotely on the days that they aren’t required to be in office?
    • It is up to the supervisor to determine schedules based on the business need and requests.
  • For development officers and others who are in and out of the office and work while traveling, do we need to do an AWA?
    • If your supervisor requires it, then yes. The expectation is that you accomplish your job as you did pre-pandemic. If staff who normally were in the office pre-pandemic expect to work remotely on a regular basis, an AWA should be completed.
  • If a compressed work schedule does not work for our team, do supervisors have to provide that option?
    • It’s up to the supervisor to determine what options are available based on the business need. Consistent application is expected for employees meeting performance expectations.
  • If someone is not meeting the expectations of their job remotely, will leadership assist with getting that employee back full time in-office?
    • Yes. This policy is a courtesy to employees or based on business need. Employees are expected to fulfill their job duties as assigned regardless of work location.

7.21.1 Introduction

The purpose of these guidelines is to establish the criteria and process for employment of relatives within the University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. (UTFI) and to outline supervision and evaluation procedures that will mitigate possible conflicts of interest.

7.21.2 General Policy

Pursuant to Tennessee State Law (T.C.A. § 8-31-101), no employees of a State institution who are relatives shall be placed within the same direct or indirect line of supervision whereby one relative is responsible for supervising the job performance or work activities of another relative. No employee shall participate in the process of review, recommendation and/or decision making in any matter concerning hiring, opportunity, promotion, salary, retention, or termination of a relative as herein defined.

While employment of relatives is permitted under Tennessee law, UTFI prohibits relatives from working as full or part-time regular or temporary employees within the same functional area of any unit of the Foundation, irrespective of lines of supervision. This is not applicable to student workers.

It is the responsibility of every employee to identify to his/her supervisor, and UTFI Human Resources, any potential or existing familial relationship which falls under the definitions provided below. Employees who fail to disclose familial relationships covered by these guidelines may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including the termination of employment.

Exceptions to these guidelines must be reviewed and approved by the Foundation President in consultation with the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources.

7.21.3. Definitions

For the purposes of these guidelines, a relative is defined as a parent, parent-in-law, child, spouse, brother, foster brother, sister, foster sister, grandparent, grandchild, son-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, or other family member who resides in the same household.

7.22.1   Introduction

The University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. (UTFI) desires to maintain a professional image to existing and potential donors, employees, competitors, and others, at all times. UTFI supports the general use and knowledge of social media outlets by employees. UTFI also recognizes the inherent risk that is involved with such activities, and the possibility that these activities can impact UTFI.  For that reason, UTFI has adopted this policy regarding social media. This policy applies to all employees of UTFI. Failure to abide by this policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

7.22.2   General Policy

As with all communications, it is a good general practice to be professional, respectful, responsible, accurate, and clear that as an employee you do not speak on behalf of UTFI.  Following this general advice will go a long way toward complying with this policy. In addition, bear in mind the following specific requirements.
  1. Do not post any information or conduct activity that may violate applicable local, state or federal laws or regulations.
  2. Follow all UTFI internal policies. Activity should not reveal confidential or proprietary information, or violate policies against discrimination or harassment.
  3. Employees are personally responsible for anything posted or created by them individually, and that in many cases, the material will be public and will remain available indefinitely.
  4. Unless authorized by management in writing beforehand, employees are not authorized to speak on behalf of the organization. Therefore, if as an employee you choose to mention the UTFI in any way, you are responsible for making it very clear that you do not speak on behalf of UTFI.
  5. Do not engage in non-UTFI-related online (including social media) activities except during non-working hours.
  6. Occasional and incidental use of University (UT) provided systems for online activities during non-working time is permitted. Please note, however, that the University and UTFI reserves the right to monitor the use of University systems and any activities on them, so there is no expectation of privacy when University systems are used. See IT0110 – Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources.
  7. Regardless of an employee’s private, personal or public social media status, each is personally held responsible legally and by UTFI policy for online activity conducted with a UTFI email address, and/or which can be traced back to a UTFI or UT IP or domain, and/or which uses UTFI or UT assets (computer, software, facilities, etc).  Any of these situations could indicate or imply that an employee may be acting on behalf of UTFI.
  8. Employees of UTFI may have good reason, from time to time, to access social media outlets for work related functions. Likewise, production associates (especially web-related) may have the occasional need to access social media. These occasions are acceptable as long as the usage is in fact work-related.
  9. Remember that the lines between public and private, personal, and professional are blurred in regard to online social networks. If an employee identifies them self as an employee of UTFI, be aware that a perception may be created about UTFI to donors and the general public.  Consider whether content associated with you as an employee is consistent with your work and with UTFI’s values and professional standards.  Feel free to consult with management in advance should you have questions.
  10. Although UTFI does not wish to unduly restrict anyone’s activities while away from work, much social media is publicly available, and UTFI reserves the right to view such information and to determine whether the posting or other activity is of a legitimate, business related concern to UTFI. Further, where information is brought to the attention of UTFI or UT authorities (for example, a sexually harassing message, or activity that might violate intellectual property rights), UTFI may ask to view postings or other content that an employee might believe are private.  Refusal to cooperate with such requests will be considered a refusal to cooperate with an investigation being conducted by UTFI.
  11. If any employee has any doubt about social media activity and the application of this policy, please consult with management in advance of the activity.  Clarification will be provided.


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to support eligibility of specialty pay at time of hire for acquired talent to all eligible University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) departments as deemed appropriate.


A sign on bonus is intended to support the acquisition of new talent with an immediate initial payout to the employee. Department supervisors can use this bonus at their discretion and under the direction of policy eligibility, UTFI may provide a sign on bonus of up to 10% of salary for a newly hired exempt level employee. Amounts greater than 10% must be approved by the campus Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with prior notice. Any sign on bonus terms must be included in the offer of employment to the new employee. See section 7.13.4 (Hiring) in 7.13 Recruiting. Sign on bonuses will be payable to the employee on a payout schedule. Half of the approved total amount will be paid to the employee on the first pay period from start date with the remaining half of payout due to employee at the end of the introductory employment period. See section 7.11 (Introductory Employment).  If employment is terminated for any reason within 12 months of employment, the employee must agree to reimburse the Foundation the monthly bonus amount for each month remaining between the employee’s termination date and one-year hire/rehire anniversary date (the payback amount will be prorated for any partial months). The sign on bonus will be reported as taxable income and subject to all appropriate withholdings.

7.24.1   Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the payment of moving expenses for newly hired University of Tennessee Foundation (UTFI) employees.

7.24.2   General Policies

UTFI may provide a moving allowance for a newly hired employee to move from his or her former residence to his or her new residence. The designated amount for relocation for the employee will be determined by the current location to destination mileage, household goods volume and other moving variables deemed appropriate to a relocation for work as well as  applicable taxes. To comply with guidelines published by the Internal Revenue Service, the new workplace must be at least 50 miles further from the employee’s former residence than the former workplace was. For example, if the former workplace location was 3 miles from the former home, then the new workplace must be at least 53 miles from that former home. Any moving allowance should be included in the offer of employment to the new employee. The request for and amount of the moving allowance should be included in the offer letter. See section 7.13.4 (Hiring) in 7.13 Recruiting. To initiate payment of an approved moving allowance, use the Moving Expense Form. The approved departmental request for the allowance must be attached to the Request for Special Payment. The request and payment can be processed upon receipt of the new employee’s signed letter of employment. The moving allowance will be reported as taxable income on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1099. The individual receiving the allowance will be responsible for documenting expenses on their  federal tax return as required by IRS Publication 521 – Moving Expenses. Updated: June 15, 2022

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