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In this section we will archive materials and questions so that you can look through past issues of the Toolkit.


AU's Military Pay Differential Policy


Salary differential for employees activated during war on terrorism: If the military base pay, (plus all military allowances), of an employee called into active service for the war on terrorism, beginning September 11, 2001, is less than the salary he or she would have continued to receive if not called to active service, he or she may receive a salary differential (pursuant to Ala. Code § 31-12-5 (2002)) that is equal to the difference between the lower active duty military base pay (plus all military allowances) and the higher University salary.


AU's Nepotism Policy


As summer approaches a number of high school and college students begin seeking employment through TES or student employment.  From time to time we run into issues where a family member is in the supervisory chain of command and does not realize that TES and student employees are subject to the same nepotism policy as our Administrative/Professional and University Staff employees.  Auburn University’s nepotism policy reads as follows:

    2.10.6 Nepotism - No person will be hired, either as a regular or temporary employee, for a position over which a member of the         employee's immediate family exercises supervisory or managerial authority.

Immediate family for this purpose is defined the same as under the University’s leave policies; it includes spouse, son, daughter, parents, stepchild, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, and grandparent-in-law.

What this means is that no TES or student may work in a department where there is any family member in the supervisory hierarchy.  So, for example, a department head’s step-son cannot work in that department head’s department – even if the department head is not the immediate supervisor.  However, the step-son could work in another department in that college and there would be no problem.  Similarly, the Dean’s brother-in-law could not work anywhere in that Dean’s college.  However, he could work in another college for another Dean and that would not be a problem.

Sometimes the concerns are not with the supervisory relationship itself but with other family members in sensitive positions.  For example, if the sister of the person handling payroll input for a department is hired into that department (and there is no reporting relationship there) it is not a violation of the nepotism policy.  However, supervisors would be wise to keep a keen eye on the payroll data entry just to ensure that all information entered for pay purposes is accurate and duly authorized.

Please keep these issues in mind not only during the summer, but throughout the year.  It is much easier to avoid policy violations by knowing the rules up front than to have the unpleasant situation of offering someone employment only to be required to end that assignment due to nepotism.



AU Manager's Discrimination/Harassment Tip Sheet


As a manager, you are an agent of Auburn University. Your actions are considered the actions of the University, and your actions may create liability for the University (and in some cases, you!).

Where Discrimination and Harassment are the issue, you must be able to:

Recognize discrimination or harassment when it is occurring.

Quid pro Quo harassment involves a power differential – a person who is a teacher or supervisor uses their position of authority either implicitly or explicitly to indicate that a) failure to submit to unwelcome behavior may bring a negative impact (discipline, poor grades) or b) good grades, performance evaluations, or raises will be based on submission to the unwelcome behavior.

Hostile Environment Harassment may be caused by a co-worker, peer, subordinate, vendor, or anyone else in the workplace or classroom. A determination that Hostile Environment Harassment has occurred is based on assessment by the EEO Office on several points:

Remember You Have Responsibility to Act

As a manager, you cannot “pretend not to know” or “wait for an official complaint.” If you suspect harassment or discrimination is occurring, make some simple, discreet inquiries. If you find a situation needs attention, call the Office of AA/EEO (844- 4794).

Responsibly Enforce the Policies

When you accepted the job you currently hold, you accepted responsibility for enforcing the policies of Auburn University, regardless of your personal opinions. Failure to enforce AU’s policies consistently could create professional exposure to discipline for you. You must treat all students and employees with equal respect and courtesy, and you must ensure you enforce the university’s policies consistently.

And Finally ...

Not all rude, offensive behavior is prohibited by the Harassment Policy. Harassment or offensive behavior NOT BASED ON PROTECTED CLASS is a management problem ... which you, as a manager, must handle. For assistance with management problems, speak to your own manager, AU HR, or the Office of the Provost.



Can an Employee be a Volunteer?


Can a non-exempt (biweekly) AU employee also volunteer to perform services for the University?


Yes, providing three requirements are met:


  1. A bookkeeper who's behind in her work volunteers to come in on Saturday morning to clean out her in-basket.  In this case she is not a legal volunteer, because her "voluntary" duties are similar to her regular duties.  The bookkeeper must be paid for her Saturday work.
  2. A lab technician volunteers to supervise the dunking booth at Family Fun Day.  He is a legal volunteer, since he's doing substantially different work from his regular job.
  3. Everybody in the ABC department knows that it's expected that you will volunteer to work at their annual high school senior day.  The head of the ABC department should know that she needs to pay her biweekly staff employees for such "volunteer" work hours.

These regulations on volunteer work derive from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and especially the 1985 amendments to the Act.  FLSA requires covered employers to pay their employees at least minimum wage, and at a time-and-a-half overtime rate for hours worked above 40 in a workweek (certain employees are exempt from FLSA regulations).


For more information on volunteering and the FLSA, contact the HR department or consult the US Department of Labor's E-laws website: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/ee16.asp.



Checklist of Procedures for Claiming FMLA Leave for the Birth of a Child


Absences for qualified employees expecting a child are covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Employees are qualified if they have worked for AU for at least one year, and for 1250 hours over the previous 12 months.  Following are the steps you need to take prior to your anticipated leave:

1) Complete the  WH380E (if you are an employee) or the WH380F (if you are an employee's family member). This form should be provided to your physician for completion. Once completed, it should be returned immediately to your department.

This form needs to be completed at least 30-45 days in advance of your anticipated leave.

2) Once the WH380E/F is received, your department will provide a form WH381 in response to your request. The WH381 is the university's official approval/denial of your request for FMLA.

Any sick leave balance you have accrued will be used to cover your FMLA absence.  Therefore, you would receive 100% pay for time covered by your sick leave balance.  After you have exhausted your sick leave, you may opt to use any annual leave you have accrued to maintain your 100% pay.  Female employees who  do not have sufficient leave to cover the time your physician indicates you will be physically unable to work (generally six weeks from date of birth) may qualify for the Salary Continuation Program (SCP).  SCP provides 60% of your basic monthly earnings, not to exceed $7,000 per month, as long as your physician documents that you are unable to work.  NOTE – SCP does not provide coverage if your FMLA leave extends beyond medical confinement. For specific question regarding coverage under SCP, please contact the Payroll & Employee Benefits Office.  You must contact Linda Sanders (844-4183) in Payroll & Employee Benefits to check on your eligibility for Salary Continuation at least 30 days in advance of your scheduled leave time. 

4) You have a right under the FMLA for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period calculated as a "rolling" 12-month period measured backward from the date of any FMLA leave usage.

5) For the purposes of FMLA leave for childbirth, your leave must be taken consecutively - no intermittent leave is allowed under this circumstance. You CANNOT work while you are on FMLA Leave.

6) Once the forms WH380 and WH381 are completed, prior to your going out on leave, you must complete an HR8 form - Request for Leave, attached in PDF, and indicate FMLA and SICK leave on the form. This will be submitted to your department. This leave form, along with copies of the WH380E/F and WH381, will be submitted to HR.

SPECIAL NOTE: Tenure track faculty only should contact the Provost Office prior to beginning FMLA to determine whether their tenure period may be extended.


WH380E Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee's Serious Health Condition
WH380F Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member's Serious Health Condition
WH381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities
HR8 Report and Application for Leave



What holidays does Auburn University observe for employees?
Auburn University observes New Years Day, M.L. King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the following Friday, and Christmas day.  In addition, the President often designates additional holiday dates, especially around the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods. The current year’s Holiday schedule is summarized here.


Who’s Eligible for Holidays?

All Regular employees who are half-time (.5 FTE) or more are eligible for holidays.  Temporary employees and student employees  are ineligible for holidays.


We’re in the middle of a critical project, and we absolutely cannot afford to let our University Staff employee take time off, holiday or not!

Then you have two alternatives: 1) pay the employee overtime based on hours worked plus the holiday time for which they’re eligible, or 2) credit them with comp time on the same basis.  Whether the overtime or comp time is on a time-and-one-half basis, or a straight-time basis, depends on whether the hours worked plus holiday time exceeds 40 hours in that workweek.


What if an eligible employee isn’t scheduled to work on a holiday?

The employee is entitled to the same amount of holiday time regardless of his/her work schedule.  You can either allow the employee to take off a scheduled workday close to the observed holiday date, or (if they are University Staff) you can pay them overtime or credit them with comp time (see above).

What is "call back pay"? And how does it affect my operation?

Call Back Pay is an Auburn University policy which seeks to assure that employees are adequately compensated for situations in which they are called into work outside of their usual, established work schedule. Such call-ins are often necessary to respond to unexpected or emergency situations, but they inevitably pose some hardships to our affected employees.

Accordingly, we guarantee at least four (4) hours of paid work time to any nonexempt (biweekly or University Staff) employee who is called back to work outside of their usual work schedule.

Call Back Pay applies to all nonexempt employees regardless of their departmental assignment.

Does Call Back Pay apply when I ask an employee to work late? Or come in early?
No. Call Back Pay applies only when an employee who's not at work is called in. There is no extra trip to and from work in extended-shift cases.

What if I tell an employee at work on Friday afternoon to report to work Saturday morning? That's not a "call back", right?
Wrong. A "call back" doesn't necessarily involve a telephone call.

How can I avoid paying an employee for time not worked, if the emergency work only takes, say, one hour?
If you have additional, non-emergency work, the employee may be asked to perform it for the balance of the four (4) hour period.

Can exempt (monthly or AP) personnel get Call Back Pay?
No. The Call Back Pay policy does not apply to exempt employees.

Policy 3.5.5 Call Back Pay - Nonexempt employees who are called back to work outside their regular schedule are guaranteed at least four hours of paid time. This policy does not apply when an employee still at work is asked to continue working past the normal quitting time or when an employee is called to start the work shift early.

My employee did a great job on an important, rush project. What can I do to say Thanks?


There are several ways a supervisor can say “thanks” to an employee for doing an outstanding job. The first would be to nominate the employee for the University Spirit of Excellence Award. Four employees are selected from each of four job categories each month for the award and the employees are recognized University-wide for their performance. The nomination form is located at http://www.auburn.edu/administration/human_resources/forms/spirit.pdf for you to nominate your employee.

Some other things for which you can recognize an employee are: being courteous, being a team player and a volunteer when needed, doing something nice for another employee or for the department, for performing interesting work or a variety of tasks.

Some things you as a supervisor can do year round to reward and recognize employees under your supervision:

• Letter of recognition in employee’s file

• Notice to all employees of a special performance

• A visit from the Vice President, Dean or Head

• E-mail from the Vice President, Dean or Head

• “Job Well Done” pens

• University coffee mug

• Recognition at staff or unit meeting

• Flowers

• T-shirt

• Lunch with administrator and/or coworkers

• Balloons

• Gift certificates to local restaurant, theater or video rental store

• private verbal praise

• Unit pot luck celebration

• Come in late or get off early card

• Hand shake and “Thank you”

• Food: all-day candy, pizza, donuts, etc.

• Gold star on desk

• Cater breakfast at employee work station

• Encouragement



Are nonexempt (University Staff) employees supposed to be paid for time they spend traveling on University business?


Here are the rules established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

If you're the driver of the vehicle in which you're traveling, all of your travel time counts as work time.

If instead you're a passenger in the vehicle, then only the hours you spend traveling during your regularly scheduled work hours count as work time. However, note that "regularly scheduled work hours" includes the same time period on weekend days. For example, suppose your work schedule is 7:45 am -11:45 am and 12:45 pm - 4:45 pm, Monday through Friday. You leave for a conference in Birmingham at 7:00 am on Saturday morning, and arrive at the conference location at 9:00 am. If you were a passenger, the period from 7:45 am through 9:00 am (1 hour 15 minutes) would count as work time. The period from 7:00 am - 7:45 am would not count as work time, because it was outside your normal hours of work. But if you were driving, the entire period from 7:00 am til 9:00 am would count as work time.


ABC Publishing is offering to sell us all the employment posters we're legally required to post, for only $99.99... Do we need to buy their product?  Just what posters are we required to put up, anyway?


You really don't have to buy anything; all the posters you need can be downloaded from the HR website. 


While all required employment law posters are on display in the foyer of the Human Resources Department in James E. Foy Hall as well as in the University’s Employment Center on Gay Street, it is also advisable that these posters be displayed in areas of your building convenient to your employees. These posters can be found on the Human Resources website in the Forms section at http://www.auburn.edu/administration/human_resources/forms


If you are interested in displaying these forms in your building, here are the posters that are on the website:

Alabama Child Labor Law Certifications

Alabama Child Labor Law Poster

Equal Employment Opportunity Poster

E-Verify (English & Spanish)

FMLA Poster

Minimum Wage Poster

Notice to Report Injuries

Right-to-Work Poster (English & Spanish)

Veteran’s Rights Poster


You may also obtain all of these posters for free from your local state employment service office.

If you have any questions regarding the posting requirements for your unit, please feel free to contact Angela Erlandson, Director of Employment Services.



One of my people has gotten over his head in debt, and it's affecting his work. What can I do to help him out?

The University has a partnership with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCSA) which provides on-campus credit management counseling to employees. The certified counselor is available on Wednesday of each week to provide assistance to our employees.

The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Alabama, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1967 by local community leaders and credit grantors. The mission of the agency is to help families manage money through professional counseling and educational programs, and by providing alternatives to bankruptcy.

Services and programs provided are:

- Budget Counseling

- Debt Management Program

- Credit Report Review

- Housing/Mortgage Counseling

- Financial Educational Programs

CCCSA requests contributions of $5 for credit counseling and $10 per month for debt management programs. Contributions are strictly voluntary, and do not affect the delivery of services. Employees can make an appointment to speak with an counselor by calling 1-800-662-6119 and asking the operator to make an appointment for you at Auburn University.


If training is the answer, what was the question?

I’m often asked by supervisors what kind of training I have available in a particular subject area. My usual response to that question is to ask a question of my own: Why do you think that you need the training? I’m trying to get at the problem or situation that has led the supervisor to the conclusion that training is necessary. I recall a phone call early in my tenure as a trainer in higher education that illustrates the need for this question: An assistant dean in a college wanted customer service training for a long-time employee who had recently been having trouble handling her receptionist duties. Because I didn’t really have a good customer service program to offer, I stalled and asked, first, why the assistant dean thought training was necessary: Apparently the receptionist/typist was snapping at students and hanging up on parents; not a good approach in dealing with the public. My next question was how long this had been going on. The response was revealing: Only since the previous receptionist had departed and the assistant dean had added the receptionist duties to the responsibilities of the employee in question; up until then, this employee had only done typing for the faculty. Sherlock Holmes I’m not, but it was easy to see that the college needed to restructure this job or hire another receptionist, not conduct skills or attitude training for this employee. That wasn’t the source of the difficulty, and the solution was not training.

If training is still a possible solution, I usually follow the first question with another: Is training the best solution for this problem? It’s far too easy for me to simply supply the name of a course for the supervisor to send the employee to, but that approach may not solve the problem. It is far harder to postpone training as the solution and delve into the suitableness of training as a solution, but this is a better technique since the easy way out may be no solution at all and will, undoubtedly, give training a bad name if and when the training has no effect. This is especially true when the solution sought is to change someone’s attitude; a single training session is unlikely to accomplish that objective.

If it still looks like training is the answer, then I have one more question: What is the hoped-for outcome of the training and how will you know if you’ve achieved it? The answer to this last question will help me select the training needed. This last point, the desired outcome, is always the end objective of training. Too many times, supervisors, and trainers also, make up their mind what they want to tell participants rather than determining what it is that participants should take away from training. Also contained in that question is the idea of a standard; that is, how we will know when the participant has achieved the desired outcome.

I suggest that you ask yourself these three questions before you decide that training is the solution to a particular problem. I would certainly like to sell you on training solutions but not if they won’t really solve your people performance problems.