Working At GW

3: Working at GW

The policies and practices outlined in this section will help you understand the university's commitment to promoting an environment that encourages all employees to thrive. Knowing these policies will help you serve as an active member of our community. You will find addresses and telephone numbers for university offices that administer these policies in the Section 13, "Resource Guide."

3.1 Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement

The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) employer committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory, diverse work environment. The university does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law in any of its programs or activities.

Staff members who believe that they have received unfair treatment resulting from sexual harassment, discrimination, affirmative action, or other issues involving fairness or accommodations for disability or religion, should contact the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Relations at For more information see the university's policy on Equal Employment Opportunity.

3.2 Employees with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended, the university does not discriminate against any "qualified individuals with a disability." Individuals qualify for employment if they meet the educational, skills, and experience requirements of a position and can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.

The university is committed to diversity and nondiscrimination and supports the full employment of qualified individuals with disabilities in its workforce. Therefore, a process has been established to assist employees with disabilities in reasonably modifying the work environment to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

It is the responsibility of the staff member to request an accommodation of his or her physical or mental disability by contacting the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Employee Relations. In accordance with the ADA, the university takes such requests seriously and promptly determines whether the employee is a qualified individual with a disability and whether a reasonable accommodation exists which would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job without imposing an undue hardship on the university or other employees.

If you believe that you have been unlawfully discriminated against because of a disability, you should contact EEO and Employee Relations at  For more information, see the university's Disabilities Policy.

3.3 Preventing Sexual Harassment, Violence and Threats

The university is committed to maintaining a positive climate for study and work, one in which individuals are judged solely by relevant factors, such as ability and performance, and one in which they may pursue their academic and work activities in an atmosphere free from coercion and intimidation. Sexual harassment/violence of employees by those in a position to affect their employment conditions or by other employees is contrary to such an atmosphere and will not be tolerated.

The university's Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence provides detailed definition of each term but is generally categorized as unwelcome sexual conduct, such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct is made a term or condition of employment or creates a hostile and intimidating work environment. Sexual harassment can take different forms. It includes such behavior as touching, pinching, hugging, jokes of a sexual nature, making obscene gestures, or using sexual language or pictures on computer software.

If you believe you are being or have been sexually harassed, have been the victim of sexual violence, if someone has accused you of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature, or if you receive a report of sexual harassment, you may contact the Title IX Coordinator, at or the Assistant Title IX Coordinator in Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Relations at The Coordinator will respond to your questions, provide support and referral information, address your concerns, and, if warranted, coordinate an investigation and appropriate remedial action.

For more information see the university's policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence and the Threats and Acts of Violence policy.

3.4 Religious Accommodation

Sometimes individuals hold religious beliefs or conduct religious practices that conflict with their work schedules or assigned responsibilities. The university will attempt to provide a reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs and practices of such individuals if to do so does not impose an undue hardship for the staff members' department or interfere with their ability to perform the essential functions of their position. Staff members who wish to request a reasonable accommodation based on your religious beliefs should contact the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Relations at Documentation may be requested to support an accommodation request. For more information see the university's policy on Religious Accommodation.

3.5 Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9 Form) and E-Verify

As a condition of employment, and in compliance with federal law, staff members hired after November 6, 1986, must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form, commonly called the I-9 Form. The I-9 form establishes identity and eligibility to legally work in the United States and at GW.

To comply, staff must:

1) Complete Section 1 of the I-9 Form, the Employee Information and Attestation Section, on or before the first day of employment; AND

2) Present original documentation of identity and work eligibility to an authorized GW university representative as designated in the “List of Acceptable Documents” that accompanies I-9 Form, prior to the third business day following the start of employment for completion of “Section 2 Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification.”

Completion of Section 1 of the I-9 Form using, the school’s code 14290 may be accomplished electronically using the university’s I-9 Management process.

Original documentation from the “List of Acceptable Documents” may be presented in person* for completion of Section 2 at the following locations:

Faculty and Staff Service Center
2121 Eye Street, NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-8500

University Human Resources – HRIS
44894 Knoll Square, Suite 391
Ashburn, VA 20147
(571) 553-3679

Faxed, digital, copied or laminated documents are not acceptable.

*Staff members that work outside of the Washington metropolitan area and are unable to present documentation at the locations listed in a timely manner relative to the requirements noted may request Remote I-9 assistance.

Failure to complete the I-9 Form as required by law will result in termination of employment.

The university is a participant in the E-Verify Program which verifies the employment eligibility of new and continuing employees who are assigned to work on select federal contracts.

3.6 Career Path – GW's Position Classification Plan

The university classifies its regular staff positions, including research, based on the type of work and the level of work performed in the job. All regular staff positions at the university are systematically arranged within a job classification structure referred to as the Career Path. The Career Path does not apply to temporary non-student staff positions. Each classification is comprised of a job family, a subfamily, a career stream and level.
The Career Path provides a logical and consistent method for ensuring that similar roles are assigned salary ranges based upon appropriate and well matched internal and market considerations.

The Career Path website provides detailed information that may assist in your understanding of and preparation for future opportunities and/or career advancement at the university.

Questions regarding Career Path should be directed to supervisors and/or Human Resources Representatives.

3.7 Employment Records

The Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) unit maintains official employee records for staff. These records are the property of the university. To obtain a copy of a specific document, staff members must complete a Request for Review of Employee Record in person and present current picture identification to HRIS staff located in Enterprise Hall 391 or, if in Foggy Bottom, at the Faculty & Staff Service Center. Copies of documents will be provided within two business days. Staff members are also entitled to one copy of the contents of their file per year.

Staff members are encouraged to use Gweb to maintain their employee record where allowable. Items such campus address, emergency contact, GW Alert information can be updated through this self-service process. Where documentation of the requested change or further validation is required, the Employee Data Questionnaire/BioDemo, the Employee Data Change Request or other documentation may be required. For more information regarding your employment records contact HRIS at

3.8 Information Security

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 immediate supervisor and/or department head for clarification. You may also consult with the Division of Information Technology (DIT) regarding ways to secure your information at For more information see the university’s policy on Information Security.

3.9 Computing at GW

Many positions at the university involve the use of computers and other devices that provide access to a wealth of data that permits 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 Division of IT website.

3.10 Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest exists when employees acting on behalf of the university obtain improper personal gain for themselves or for another party, or when a particular action has an adverse effect on the university's interests. All members of the university community are expected to exercise good faith and judgment in all activities that relate to their responsibilities at the university. In accordance with university policy, some staff members may be required to complete a Conflict of Interest Questionnaire.

If you are in doubt about the proper application of the university's Conflict of Interest for Non-Faculty Policy to particular situations, you should immediately make all the facts known to your supervisor and act according to his/her guidance.

University officers, senior management, and researchers have some special responsibilities in avoiding conflict of interest. These responsibilities are more clearly detailed in the Supervisor's Guide for the use of Supervisory Staff, the Handbook for Sponsored Programs, and other documents.

3.11 Drug Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Prevention

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 and Employee & Relations

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

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.

3.12 Smoke-Free GW

3.13 Adverse Weather, Emergencies and Disruptive Incidents

Emergencies can occur anywhere at any time. The university plans for all-hazards and relies on designated on-site and essential employees to perform specific critical and essential functions that support the university during an emergency or disruptive incidents.

Despite disruptions or emergencies, the university strives to operate on a normal schedule. For purposes of emergency planning, management should pre-identify employees as designated on-site, essential, or non-essential, unless otherwise prescribed through a collective bargaining agreement.

Additionally, supervisors should inform employees of their emergency designation on an annual basis and review employee roles and responsibilities before, during and after an emergency or adjustment to the university’s operating status. Cancellation of classes does not mean the university is closed or has implemented liberal leave for employees. In addition, special events may be held despite an adjustment to the university's operating status.
Emergency Designation definitions are as follows:

Definitions of Designated, Essential, and Non-Essential

Designated On-Site

Employees who are required to physically report to work or remain at work during an emergency or adjustment to the university's operating status.


Employees who are generally expected to work from home during an emergency or during an adjustment to the university's operating status. During special circumstances, a supervisor may require essential employees to physically report to work or remain at work.


Employees who are not required to work unless directed to do so by their supervisor.

Employees with telecommuting agreements are expected to work from home during an adjustment to the university's operating status unless specifically advised otherwise by their supervisor.

GW provides several by which staff may receive information the university’s operating status related to adverse weather, emergencies and other disruptive event:

  • - the university's primary website used for communicating emergency preparedness and incident-related information to the GW community. Employees should monitor regularly.
  • GW Alert - Text and email alerts - Staff should sign up for GW Alert, a notification system that sends emergency alerts to email addresses and mobile devices. Customize your GW Alert settings and select the GW Alert Emergency Notification tab. Register your cell phone numbers and email addresses in order to receive alerts on multiple devices.
  • Social Media - @GWTweets and Facebook
  • GW Homepage
  • GW Information Line (202-994-5050) - allows employees to check the university's operating status and receive important updates.
  • Virginia Science and Technology Campus Information Line (571-553-8333) – allows employees assigned to the VSTC to determine operating status and receive important updates.
  • School of Medicine and Health Sciences Information Line (202-994-2196) – provides updates for employees of SMHS.

Other Resources

Because certain critical and essential university services must be maintained at all times, it is important that employees and supervisors 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 and the Designated and Essential Employee brochure are available to provide guidance.

3.14 Legal Matters

It is the policy of the university to provide protection from liability, in accordance with the terms of its by-laws and rules, to faculty and staff who become involved in claims or suits arising from sanctioned university activities that fall within the scope of their employment.

In order that appropriate action may be taken to protect the interests of the university and of persons to be indemnified for their participation in sanctioned university activities that fall within the scope of their employment, the following should be referred immediately to the Office of the Senior Vice President and General Counsel:

All documents, subpoenas, or contacts relating to pending or potential legal proceedings or governmental investigations; and all documents, questions, or contacts from an attorney or law enforcement or regulatory authority, whether requesting information or otherwise and whether verbal or written.


If you have questions or comments about the Employee Handbook, please fill out the feedback form or email