Policies and Practices

As a university employee, you help to support and serve students, patients, faculty, and other staff. It is important for you to be well informed about your workplace, including the policies and practices that govern your work and that of your colleagues.

The following sections provide information to help you understand the university's policies and answer questions about them.

Operational Status During an Event

The university is committed to maintaining the safety of our community. GW may cancel classes, close buildings, campuses, or the entire university due to adverse weather and other emergency situations. 

Designated On-Site employees hold positions that include job duties with services that must be performed despite an emergency or change in the university operating status. All Designated On-Site employees are required to report to work as scheduled, even if the university has announced an alternative operating status. 

All Other Employees are those who do not perform the above-mentioned services. All union members should refer to their collective bargaining agreements.


For Designated On-Site Employees:

Delayed Opening Employees should report unless otherwise directed by manager.
Open with Weather Flex Employees should report unless otherwise directed by manager.
Closed Employees should report unless otherwise directed by manager.


For All Other Employees:

Delayed Opening Employees should report to work at the revised  time.
Open with Weather Flex

Employees may:

  • Report to work on time,

  • Report to work after their normally scheduled start time,

  • Follow their department’s normal call-in procedure without being required to use accrued paid annual time off.

Closed Employees are excused from work and will be paid for their scheduled hours.


Communications During an Event

During an event, a number of resources are available to check on the university’s operating status. The university will make an effort to communicate with local news sources. However, for up-to-date information regarding emergency communications, please visit www.campusadvisories.gwu.edu.

Note: The university recommends that employees check 202-994-5050 or the GW Campus Advisories website because the information from the university is often more accurate than information broadcast by the media.

If conditions cause one campus to remain open while another closes, employees should follow instructions for their primary work location .

When a decision to close the university occurs while employees are at work, departments will be notified, and managers should immediately communicate to all affected employees that report to them.

Other Resources

Because certain critical and essential university services must be maintained at all times, it is important that employees and managers prepare for emergencies and disruptive incidents by reviewing roles and responsibilities during an emergency or when the university's operating status is adjusted. Resources such as the GW Emergency Response Handbook is available to provide guidance.

Many positions at the university involve the use of computers and other devices that provide access to a wealth of data and permit us to perform our jobs much more rapidly and efficiently. The data produced and records held are the property of the university, and the university has a right to access any and all information held on its equipment. The Division of Information Technology (DIT) provides support to the university community and has provided a number of technology related policies regarding security, access, and conduct/compliance to support the university’s ever changing technology needs and challenges. The university's social media policy also outlines a number of areas to avoid when using popular sites.

As a general practice, you should treat your electronic communication as seriously as you would any written communication. Your electronic transmissions to others may be read through an error on your part, someone else's misconduct, or as part of a planned review of computer records. In addition, although you may have deleted materials from your computer, they may be recoverable if, at the university's discretion, it is necessary to do so.

Additional information about the responsibilities of computer users may be found on the GW IT website.

Individuals who work in student, patient, faculty, and administrative offices often have access to information that is sensitive or confidential. Such information includes, but is not limited to, budgets, salaries, student records, employee records, patient records, personal messages, grant proposals, and real estate.

Sensitive or confidential information may be shared only with others with a need to know and only as required in the course of performing your job.

You are responsible for ensuring that sensitive information is kept confidential. If you have any questions about the confidentiality of information to which you have access, ask your manager and/or department head for clarification. You may also consult with the Division of Information Technology (DIT) regarding ways to secure your information at [email protected]. For more information, please see the university's Policy on Information Security.

In accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, the university is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace and promoting high standards of employee health and safety. University standards of conduct prohibit the illegal manufacture, possession, distribution, or use of alcohol and drugs. Violations of this standard may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. The university's  Alcoholic Beverage Consumption Distribution Policy provides additional information on preparing for events and enforcement of rules.

Employees may be dismissed for drug-related offenses, including unauthorized use or possession of alcoholic beverages or illegal or nonprescription controlled substances, or for reporting to or being at work while under their influence. The misuse of prescription drugs by employees during working hours, on university business, or during use of university-owned property is strictly prohibited.

Concerns about substance abuse involving an employee may be discussed with staff in the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Employee Relations (EEO/ER)

In addition, federal law requires that you notify the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Employee Relations within five days if you are convicted under a criminal drug statute of offenses committed on university property or while on university business.

If you have been convicted of such offenses, you must notify EEO/ER of the circumstances. If you have any questions about this issue, please contact them at [email protected].

In addition to any disciplinary action other than termination, you may be referred to the university's Employee Assistance Program, the Wellbeing Hotline, and through that program, to a treatment and counseling program for alcohol or drug abuse.

The university cooperates fully with law enforcement authorities. Violations of university policy that are also violations of federal or local law will be referred to the appropriate agency. In such situations, action to address the infraction may proceed concurrently in the university and in the criminal justice system.

If you are governed by a collective bargaining agreement or are working under U.S. Department of Defense grants and contracts, you may be subject to drug-free workplace compliance requirements under those documents.

The goal of the university’s Smoke Free Policy is to provide a clean and healthy environment for all members of our community on all university campuses. In addition to indoor space, the policy also includes university-owned outdoor spaces as well as certain public spaces adjacent to GW buildings. Staff members are asked to help support this initiative by encouraging others to refrain from smoking in front of GW buildings or in GW outdoor areas.

GW’s Smoke Free website includes resources to assist staff with smoking cessation and maps of smoke free zones and smoke free partners on campus.