5 Expectations of Employees

In this chapter:


5.1 Faith and Lifestyle Expectations

Because George Fox University is a Christian university, owned by the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, in charter and in practice, the university hires only individuals who subscribe to its statement of faith and who commit to fulfill its community responsibilities throughout their employment.  

5.1.1 Statement of Faith

The Trinity. We believe in one eternal God, the source and goal of life, which exists as three persons in the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In love and joy, God creates and sustains the universe, including humanity, male and female, who is made in God’s image.

God the Father. We believe in God the Father Almighty, whose love is the foundation of salvation and righteous judgment, and who calls us into covenant relationship with God and with one another.

God the Son. We believe in Jesus Christ, the Word, who is fully God and fully human. He came to show us God and perfect humanity, and, through his life, death, and resurrection, to reconcile us to God. He is now actively present with us as Savior, Teacher, Lord, Healer, and Friend.

God the Holy Spirit. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who breathed God’s message into the prophets and apostles, opens our eyes to God’s Truth in Jesus Christ, empowers us for holy living, and carries on in us the work of salvation.

Salvation. We believe that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone, to whom we must respond with repentance, faith, and obedience. Through Christ we come into a right relationship with God, our sins are forgiven, and we receive eternal life.

The Bible. We believe that God inspired the Bible and has given it to us as the uniquely authoritative, written guide for Christian living and thinking. As illumined by the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are true and reliable. They point us to God, guide our lives, and nurture us toward spiritual maturity.

The Christian Life. We believe that God has called us to be and to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to be God’s agents of love and reconciliation in the world. In keeping with the teaching of Jesus, we work to oppose violence and war, and we seek peace and justice in human relationships and social structures.

The Church. We believe in the church as the people of God, composed of all who believe in Jesus Christ; who support and equip each other through worship, teaching, and accountability; who model God’s loving community; and who proclaim the gospel to the world.

Christian Worship. We believe Christ is present as we gather in his name, seeking to worship in Spirit and in Truth. All believers are joined in the one body of Christ, are baptized by the Spirit, and live in Christ’s abiding presence. Christian baptism and communion are spiritual realities, and, as Christians from many faith traditions, we celebrate these in different ways.

The Future. We believe in the personal return of Jesus Christ, in the resurrection of the dead, in God’s judgment of all persons with perfect justice and mercy, and in eternal reward and punishment. Ultimately, Christ’s kingdom will be victorious over all evil, and the faithful will reign with him in eternal life.

5.1.2 Community Lifestyle Statement

The university has deliberately sought to develop Christ-centered community to fulfill its mission and further its core values. As the university has grown it has spawned specialized communities within the larger George Fox community. These include the historic community of young students who live in university residence halls, students who are over 25 years old, living in their own homes some distance from the campus where they study and students who study at George Fox University campuses away from Newberg. There are also communities of faculty and staff at various campuses. These several communities led to a George Fox University lifestyle statement that has some variations reflecting differences among us.

As a community we encourage and teach our members to follow Jesus Christ and be collaborators in God's work in the world. We urge each member to become the kind of person and live the kind of life that Jesus taught and modeled. We believe such a life is described by the "fruit of the Spirit" as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. These fruits include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

We believe the Bible teaches that all persons are created in God's image and that God actively seeks renewed relationships with every individual. We are bound therefore to regard each person with love and respect (Romans 12:9-21, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:32). So we avoid discrimination, abusive or manipulative actions, and gossip or meanspirited behaviors. We seek actively to honor each person, loving and serving one another as Jesus taught us.

Our lifestyle excludes immoral practices and calls us to transformed living as we "offer [our] bodies as living sacrifices" to God (Romans 12:1-2). In regard to sexual morality, we believe that only marriage between a man and a woman is God's intention for the joyful fulfillment of sexual intimacy. This should always be in the context of mutual compassion, love, and fidelity. Sexual behaviors outside of this context are inconsistent with God's teaching. We recognize these principles may conflict with the practice or opinion of some within the larger culture. We are convinced that this is God's design for providing the most loving guidance and practice for individuals and our community.

For a community to be successful its members must live with integrity. This includes doing honest academic work, telling each other the truth, keeping our promises, and living so our actions match our words (James 1:22-25).

The university is eager for each member of the community to grow spiritually (Hebrews 10:24-25). We encourage involvement in activities designed to nurture spiritual growth. This includes Bible study, small prayer groups, service opportunities, and chapel attendance. The university encourages all members of the community to maintain personal practices of discipleship and to participate in a local church.

Our goal is to help each community member to think the same way Christ thought (Philippians 2:5). This includes disciplining our minds to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, and excellent, worthy of praise as commended to us in Philippians 4:8. We avoid giving attention to what is obscene and pornographic, whether in print, on the Internet, or in entertainment. We choose entertainment that will strengthen, not undermine the "mind of Christ." We avoid gambling, not only to practice good stewardship of our resources, but also to prevent welcoming greed inwardly and joining in the social inequities on which gambling thrives.

While we recognize that committed Christians differ in how they view the consumption of alcoholic beverages, it is clear that the improper use of alcohol by students, faculty or staff could bring much harm to the communities of George Fox University. This is especially true of the traditional undergraduate community which consists largely of students who are under the legal drinking age. Nationally, it is well documented that underage and binge drinking as well as driving with significant blood alcohol levels are major problems on college campuses. In addition, there is growing evidence that some individuals are predisposed to alcoholism. For these reasons, the use of alcohol by traditional undergraduate students is not allowed at any time they are enrolled at the university.

Within committed Christian communities there are diverse views regarding the use of alcohol. Some choose a testimony of abstinence for a variety of legitimate and honorable reasons while others believe they can use alcohol occasionally and moderately without harm to their body, spirit or relationships with others. As a community that honors Spiritled diversity among Christians, George Fox University employees and students in nontraditional programs (degree-completion and graduate programs) are given the freedom of Spirit-led conscience in deciding whether to consume alcoholic beverages in moderation when not in the presence of students from traditional undergraduate programs.

The use of alcohol at university-sponsored events or activities is not allowed. Further, the presence or use of illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages is not tolerated on any George Fox University campus, nor is the illegitimate use of prescription drugs. The use of tobacco is not permitted in any George Fox University building or by employees or traditional undergraduate students.

The goal of the George Fox University lifestyle standard is to create a community in which individuals are encouraged to be transformed into the image of Christ. In addition, we desire that our common life would reflect the teachings and Spirit of Christ in all that we do and say. In this ongoing process of transformation, all members of the George Fox Community are encouraged to consider the following questions as a means of selfexamination, in the tradition of the historic Friends (Quakers). As individuals or groups within this community reflect on these questions, we encourage them to respond in obedience to God's leading and to seek encouragement, support and accountability from other members of the community.

  • Am I actively pursuing the highest call of God on my life even if that means giving up a personal "freedom" for the sake of others within the community?
  • As a member of the George Fox community, do I recognize my duty and responsibility to others within our Christ-centered community?
  • Am I a faithful steward of the resources that God has entrusted to me?
  • Do I discipline my mind and body to serve as instruments of God?

These lifestyle standards reflect the university's mission, faith commitments, values, and our rich heritage. They are intended to facilitate our life together at George Fox University.

5.2 Attendance and Work Schedule

Inherent in each position at the university is the need and expectation for regular, consistent attendance. Employees are expected to arrive at their work sites and begin their tasks no later than the start of their work schedules. Punctuality and regular attendance during scheduled work periods are requirements for continued employment with the university. An employee’s specific work schedule, including days off, break periods, and meal periods, is determined by his or her immediate supervisor based on department needs.

5.2.1 Late Arrival

Occasionally, a situation arises that delays an employee’s arrival at work. Except in the case of an emergency, it is the employee’s responsibility to notify his or her supervisor in advance of the start of the work day regarding a late arrival. If the supervisor is not available, the employee should leave a voicemail message or notify a co-worker. (A supervisor’s preference for notification procedures should be followed if different from these guidelines.) It is expected that instances of late arrival are rare. It is also expected that the time missed due to a late arrival be made up the same day. If not, it is generally charged to the employee’s vacation or is unpaid. Repeated, frequent occurrences of tardiness, tardiness without prenotification to a supervisor, or both may result in corrective action, up to and including termination.

5.2.2 Absences

An employee is required to notify the supervisor at the beginning of the working shift that he or she (or a family member) is ill or, in rare cases, will be absent from work due to another serious, unforeseen situation. If the supervisor is not available, the next level manager should be notified unless the supervisor has designated someone else to be notified. Generally, the supervisor must be contacted each day the employee is absent except when the duration is known in advance. An employee is expected to speak with the supervisor directly whenever possible rather than leave a voice mail or send an email to notify him or her of an absence. If an employee is absent without notifying the university for three consecutive days, it may be assumed the employee has resigned, and he or she may be removed from the payroll.

If an employee is sick for five consecutive days, is hospitalized, or has surgery, a doctor’s release to return to work may be required. If this necessitates an extra doctor visit, the university pays the employee’s out-of-pocket expense, usually a co-pay.

Excessive absenteeism, except when protected by FMLA/OFLA or other state or federal law, failure to give notice of absences, or unauthorized absences may result in corrective action, up to and including termination.

5.3 Appropriate Appearance and Attire

Employees are expected to dress in a manner professionally appropriate for their positions. In addition to wearing appropriate attire, employees are expected to practice good personal hygiene and dress modestly.

If an employee’s attire or hygiene seems inappropriate to the supervisor, the supervisor should inform the employee of this concern. The employee is generally required to make the necessary changes to meet the expectations.

If a situation arises in which an employee has an allergic or other adverse reaction to a fragrance worn by another employee, it is expected that the employee wearing the fragrance will discontinue doing so in the interest of the co-worker’s health.

5.4 Visitors in the Workplace

Visitors in the workplace create a disruption for the employee visited and for his or her co-workers. Because of this, visitors should not be a common occurrence in the workplace. It is understood that occasionally a family member or friend may come to an employee’s place of work to take care of a brief matter, but employees are not allowed to have visitors come by for social purposes. Even necessary visits should be limited to breaks or meal periods to the extent possible.

Generally, having children in the workplace is especially disruptive and presents a larger safety and liability risk as well. Except for occasional, brief, and supervised visits, employees should not have their children at work.

5.4.1 Animals in the Workplace

Except for trained dogs to assist disabled persons and animals used in the science curriculum, animals are not allowed in the workplace.

5.5 Personal Copying and Printing

The university allows employees to print and copy documents for personal use provided they reimburse the university for these costs. Printing and copying should be done before or after work or during an employee’s break or meal period.

5.6 Confidentiality and Education Records

The need for discretion and confidentiality exists in every department of the university. The university expects employees to handle in a professional and ethical manner any confidential information entrusted to them. Confidential information should not be shared or discussed with anyone who does not have a legitimate need to know the information. If an employee is not certain if it is appropriate to release information, he or she should check with a supervisor.

5.6.1 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Because student information is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), it is of particular importance that information that may constitute a student’s educational record be treated with utmost confidentiality. This law states, “No one shall have access to, nor does the institution disclose any information from, students’ education records without the written consent of students except to personnel within the institution with direct educational interest, to persons or organizations providing students’ financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the Act.”

At its discretion, the university may provide “directory information” in accordance with the provisions of FERPA. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The university considers the following information to be “directory information,” and which therefore may be open to the public unless the student has asked for an information restriction status in the Office of the Registrar: parents’ names and addresses and student’s name, permanent address, local address (this is the student’s mailing address and does not include dormitory and room number), temporary address, e-mail address, telephone number, date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, major, dates of attendance, full-time and part-time status, degrees and awards received, class year, the most recent previous school attended, photographs, and, for members of athletic teams, height, weight, and position played. 

The law states that directory information may be released, not that it must be released. Therefore, employees must use discretion, even when disclosing directory information, and consider each request for information on a case-by-case basis. It is prudent to check with the registrar’s office before releasing directory information.

If a student’s parents, spouse, or others call to inquire about grades, student employment or wages, status of financial aid or student account, religion, or other nondirectory information, that information can be disclosed only if the student has signed a consent statement giving permission to provide the information. Requests for such information should be referred to the office where the information is held.

All employees are required to sign a FERPA Confidentiality of Records Agreement.

5.6.2 Disposal of Confidential Information

In compliance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), any documents and materials with personal information the university possesses or maintains must be properly destroyed to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the information in connection with its disposal. This means that documents must be disposed of in a way that obliterates personally identifying information including Social Security numbers, driver license numbers, phone numbers, physical addresses and e-mail addresses. The university currently contracts with a bonded company to provide a number of containers on the Newberg campus in which “to be shredded” material can be disposed of. There are also shredders on all of our campuses that should be used to ensure information is adequately obliterated.

5.7 Acceptable Employee Conduct

Employees are expected to adhere to acceptable business principles in matters of personal and business conduct, to accept responsibility for the appropriateness of their own conduct, and to exhibit a high degree of personal integrity at all times.

It is impossible to list all forms of conduct that might be considered inappropriate. Certain behavior (such as theft, lying, fighting, using physical force, falsification of records, bribery, and threats of violence) is clearly unacceptable at any time in any workplace. Other conduct (such as failure to cooperate with other employees or one’s supervisor, harassing or intimidating others, and rudeness to co-workers, students, or vendors), while often more subtle, is equally unacceptable.

The university expects all employees to adhere to the following general principles:

  • Observe high standards of professionalism at all times
  • Perform responsibilities in a manner consistent with our Christian values and ethical standards
  • Comply with all laws applicable to the institution
  • Treat others, including students, employees, vendors, and visitors, with courtesy, dignity and respect
  • Work safely, including following established safety procedures and wearing protective equipment as needed

Further, a core value of George Fox University is to honor the worth, dignity, and potential of each employee and student as uniquely and specially created by God. Because pornography is degrading to women and men, objectifies the individual, violates scriptural standards of modesty and purity, and often leads to unhealthy addictions, pornographic materials in any form are not to be used, possessed, or distributed on or away from campus.

Unsatisfactory performance, work habits, overall attitude, conduct, or demeanor; violation of university policies, procedures, or guidelines; or any other behavior or conduct deemed inappropriate or unacceptable by the university may result in corrective action, up to and including termination.

5.8 Address and Family Status Changes

Each employee is required to notify the Human Resources Office of any changes in address, phone number, family status, or of any other change in order to ensure the accuracy of personnel and payroll information or information that may affect the employee’s benefits.

5.9 Requests for References

All requests for references on former support staff or administrators, without exception, should be directed to the Human Resources Office for a response. An employee should not provide a reference to a potential employer.

5.10 Conflict of Interest Policy

  1. Scope. The following statement of policy applies to all members of the George Fox University faculty and staff as defined in the university's Employee Handbook (“Faculty” and “Staff”).
  2. Fiduciary Responsibilities. Faculty and staff of George Fox University serve the George Fox University trust and have a clear obligation to fulfill their responsibilities in a manner consistent with this trust. All decisions of the faculty and staff are to be made consistent with the legitimate desire to advance the best interests of the institution. The integrity of George Fox University must be protected at all times.
    Faculty and staff inevitably are involved in the affairs of other institutions, organizations, and people. Faculty and staff will include individuals who have relationships and affiliations that may raise questions about perceived conflicts of interest. Although many such potential conflicts are and will be deemed inconsequential, every individual faculty and staff member has the responsibility to ensure the university is made aware of situations that involve personal, familial, or business relationships that could be an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Thus, the university requires each faculty and staff member annually (i) to be familiar with the terms of this policy; (ii) to disclose any possible personal, familial, or business relationships that reasonably might give rise to an actual or perceived conflict involving the university; and (iii) to acknowledge by his or her signature that he or she is in accordance with the letter and spirit of this policy.
  3. Disclosure. Faculty and staff are requested to list on the disclosure form (i) any business or personal relationship with an organization that does business with the university, or (ii) any other relationship with an organization or individual that does business with the university that potentially could be construed to affect their independent, unbiased judgment in light of their decision-making authority, influence, and responsibility.
    If a faculty or staff member is uncertain whether to list a particular relationship, the vice president for financial affairs should be consulted. Information shared or gathered as a result of such consultations (including information provided on the disclosure form) shall be confidential except when the university's best interests would be served by disclosure. Such disclosure will be made only after informing the involved faculty or staff. The following definitions are provided to help faculty and staff members decide whether a relationship should be listed on the disclosure:
    1. Business relationship: One in which a faculty, staff, or a member of his or her family as defined below (i) serves as an officer, director, employee, partner, trustee, or controlling stockholder of an organization that does substantial business with the university, (ii) is the actual or beneficial owner or has a personal relationship with such an individual of more than 1 percent of the voting stock or controlling interest of an organization that does substantial business with the university, or (iii) has other direct or indirect dealings with such an individual or organization and benefits directly, indirectly, or potentially from cash or property receipts from such an individual or organization.
    2. Family member: A spouse, child, or any other relative either by blood or marriage.
  4. Restraint on Participation. This policy is not intended to prevent the university from entering into a contract or transaction with an individual or entity that has disclosed an actual or potential conflict of interest with the university, provided such contract or transaction and the related process of engagement is fair and reasonable to the university and the individual or entity has not participated in or unduly influenced any vote required to authorize or approve the contract or transaction.

5.10a Conflict of Interest Policy Disclosure Form for George Fox University