Policy Number: 401

Policy Suffix:

I. General Policy

Rice University is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards, as an integral part of our Mission, and to our core values – Responsibility, Integrity, Community, and Excellence. These values are embodied in our Standards of Ethical Conduct.

All individuals are expected to perform their job responsibilities in a manner that reflects the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct, performance and good judgment, and must take responsibility for their actions and words, as well as the impact of their behavior on our students, colleagues, coworkers and visitors. The Standards of Ethical Conduct and this policy reflect our shared commitment to upholding the principles we use for daily and long-term decisions and actions and applies to all members of the University community.

This policy establishes the expectations for personal and professional conduct to ensure the University provides and maintains a professional and safe work environment for all. It is intended to provide baseline expectations to guide staff conduct.

II. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Office of Human Resources will be available to discuss infractions and recommend appropriate measures of corrective action or related next steps.
  2. Supervisors are responsible for setting expectations, overseeing and monitoring the conduct, performance and behavior of their employees. It is their responsibility to employ the appropriate interventions when an employee fails to adhere to the standards of conduct.
  3. Staff members are responsible for adhering to the University’s Standards of Ethical Conduct, complying with University policies, and laws and regulations, as well as performing job duties and responsibilities satisfactorily as defined by their supervisor.

III. Elaboration of Policy

  1. All staff members must conduct University business in compliance with all laws, regulations, University policies and values related to their positions of responsibility. In addition, members of the Rice community are expected to behave in a manner which respects others, as well as refrain from disrupting or interfering with University operations.
  2. Managers and supervisors are responsible for setting expectations, performing annual evaluations against those expectations, and for teaching, modeling and monitoring such compliance and conduct in their areas. The University expects managers and supervisors to address and resolve conduct and performance problems exhibited by their employees in a timely manner, using such techniques outlined in Policy 411: Performance Commitment and Accountability Policy.
  3. When staff members do not meet expectations for behavior or performance, and informal methods fail to result in improvements or the matter is significant, supervisors are expected to address the performance issues or behavior using corrective action protocols appropriate to the circumstances.
  4. Although it is not possible to list all of the forms of behavior that are considered unacceptable in the workplace (both on campus and remote), the following are examples of infractions of Staff Expectations for Working at Rice.
    1. Willful, negligent or careless behavior, including behavior that compromises the health and safety of others, or results in a violation of a policy, regulation, or law.
    2. Discriminating or harassing behavior (e.g. bullying), as defined under Rice’s Policy Discrimination and Harassment (Policy 830), including mistreating or abusing members of the community, whether physically, verbally, or in a way that does not meet our expectation of exhibiting the values or culture of care we espouse.
    3. Violation of Rice’s Sexual Misconduct Policy for Faculty, Staff and Students (Policy 828)
    4. Insubordination or other disrespectful conduct.
    5. Being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol while working or on duty, or otherwise violating the law related to illegal drugs or alcohol.
    6. Falsification of any information on the employment application, timesheets or other University records.
    7. Misuse or misappropriation of University funds, property and equipment or networks.
    8. Violence or threats of violence in the workplace.
    9. Violating or disregarding directives from the Rice Crisis Management Team related to emergency directives, or required safety measures.
  5. All individuals are required to be aware of and conduct activities of the University in accordance with the Standards of Ethical Conduct and this policy, and to comply with all University policies, and laws and regulations. Failure to adhere to the Expectations for Working at Rice or the Standards of Ethical Conduct will be addressed and/or investigated and appropriate action taken. These matters may be reviewed by Human Resources individually or in conjunction with other offices including the Office of Access, Equity and Diversity, Office of the Provost, and, for allegations that may be criminal in nature, Rice University Police Department. If the employee is found in violation of this policy, sanctions may include a range of corrective actions, up to and including termination of employment.

IV. Cross References to Related Policies

Standards of Ethical Conduct
Policy 323: Drug Free University
Policy 324: Research Misconduct
Policy 424: Separation of Employment
Policy 427: Compliance with Law
Policy 433: Performance Appraisal
Policy 411: Performance Commitment and Accountability
Policy 808: Protection of University Data and Information
Policy 830: Harassment and Sexual Misconduct
Policy 832: Appropriate Use of Information Technology
Policy 835: Weapons Prohibition Policy
Policy 839: Tobacco-Free Campus
Policy 848: Alcohol Policy

II. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation

Responsible Official: Vice President for Finance and Administration

Key Offices: Human Resources

Policy History

Clerical Change

January 10, 2018 (added VP and formatting)

September 30, 2022 (Updated responsible official)


November 17, 2020. May 1, 1993 (superseding 411-93, 406-93, and 411-79)