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Employment Policies

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
Recruitment

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Revised: January 2001
Responsible Office:
HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

Columbia University is committed to providing a working and learning environment free from unlawful discrimination and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. It is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. It does not discriminate against or permit harassment of employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, sex, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, religion, creed, national origin, age, alienage and citizenship, status as a perceived or actual victim of domestic violence, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, partnership status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, arrest record, or any other legally protected status.

The University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action has been designated to coordinate compliance activities under each of the programs referred to above. Any employee who believes that he or she has been denied equal opportunity should contact this Office, which may informally investigate complaints and offer advice and counsel on questions relating to equal opportunity and affirmative action, including information about applicable formal grievance procedures and agencies where complaints may be filed.

Recruitment

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:  September 19, 2007
Responsible
Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

In general all administrative positions, including senior and executive level positions, must be posted through the Jobs At Columbia (JAC) website. Grades 10-13/103-105 must be posted for a minimum of five (5) business days.  Grades 14/106 and above require a longer posting period of 14 calendar days.

All recruitment activities must be consistent with the University's commitment to the principle of equal employment opportunity.

To maintain this commitment, the University requires that all full-time, part-time and certain temporary positions be requisitioned and posted for at least five (5) business days.  Some positions may require longer posting periods.

For temporary positions grade 14/106 and above, please consult Human Resources for posting requirements.

Managing Staff Promotions and Internal Transfers

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
July 1, 2010
Last Reviewed:
  June 10, 2010
Responsible
Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu; CUMC Human Resources – Chief Human Resources Officer, (212) 305-3819

Columbia University supports an environment that values career mobility and encourages staff members who express an interest, and have the abilities, to pursue appropriate vacancies to foster their career development. Managing Staff Promotions and Lateral Transfers establishes a University-wide process for effectively managing the movement of staff, both between and within schools and departments for approved positions.

The purpose of this policy is to establish appropriate communication between departments with respect to the movement of staff from one department to another and to maintain fairness and equity with regard to staff moving into new opportunities.

Revision History: This policy replaces the Internal Mobility policy in the Human Resources Policy Manual.  The Internal Mobility policy was last reviewed in July 2004.

Who is Governed by This Policy

This policy affects all officers of administration, administrative officers of the libraries and non-union support staff employees of Columbia University.

Who Should Know This Policy

All Columbia University officers of administration, administrative officers of the libraries and non-union support staff should review and understand this policy.

Departmental administrators, Human Resources representatives and hiring managers should review and understand this policy, as well as refer to the Administrative Hiring Guide in the Manager Toolkit.

Exclusions and Special Situations

Academic officers, officers of instruction, officers of research and non-administrative officers of the libraries should refer to the Faculty Handbook.

Staff rights and obligations under applicable collective bargaining agreements are not affected by this policy. Staff covered by collective bargaining agreements are governed by the provisions of their respective contract.

Policy Text

University employees who have completed one year of service in their current position may apply and be considered for a posted job opportunity at the University. In special circumstances and with CUHR approval, an employee may seek a transfer prior to completing one year of service in his or her current position.

In addition to experience, skills and qualifications, future career moves will depend upon successful performance and demonstrated success in the current position. All employees are subject to the standard background checking process for any University position for which they apply.

Any open position must be reviewed and approved by the department or school before posting in Jobs @ Columbia (JAC). Please consult with your HR Client Manager for any questions regarding the hiring process and filling vacancies within your department.

The guidelines described below establish a University-wide process for effectively managing the movement of internal staffing both between and within schools and departments for approved positions.  Positions that are waived from posting in Jobs @ Columbia (JAC) are also subject to this policy.

I. Guidelines

  1. Position is approved by department or school, funding is confirmed and job description is posted on the Jobs @ Columbia (JAC) system.
  2. Any qualified and eligible staff member may apply for the position as appropriate. 
  3. After the staff member applies for the open position, the hiring manager may initiate a confidential informal meeting with the internal candidate to determine mutual interest.  This step is optional and at the discretion of the hiring manager.
  4. After meeting with the internal candidate and reviewing his or her qualifications, the hiring manager determines if the candidate should proceed with his or her application and engage in the interview process.
  5. If a hiring manager determines that an internal candidate is the finalist, he or she should inform the candidate.  At this point, the candidate must inform his or her supervisor that he or she is the finalist prior to a formal offer being made. The candidate must confirm completion of this step with the hiring manager within a reasonable and mutually agreed upon time frame.  
  6. After confirmation of step 5, the hiring manager should follow up with and obtain feedback on work performance from the finalist’s supervisor or designated reference(s) prior to a formal offer being made. 
    NOTE: It is strongly recommended that a review of work performance and/or performance appraisals is fairly and consistently applied to all internal candidates and completed before any offer is made.  The HR Client Managers for both departments will ensure that a review of the candidate’s work performance has been conducted before any offer is made.  Any questions or concerns about this step should be reviewed with the HR Client manager.
  7. After completion of step 6 (review of work performance with finalist’s manager), the hiring manager can formally offer the position to the finalist.  After the offer has been accepted, the hiring manager and supervisor should jointly determine the finalist’s start date and finalize any agreements that might involve “splitting time”.  The release date may be extended beyond the standard 30 day notice period because of critical operational needs and with necessary approvals.
    NOTE: If the supervisor considers extending the release date or a splitting time agreement beyond the standard notice period, the supervisor must provide a business rationale that requires review and approval by CUHR or CUMC-HR prior to any discussion with the hiring manager and finalist.  In addition to CUHR or CUMC-HR approval, the hiring manager, the supervisor and the finalist must mutually consent to the agreement.  It is expected that the release date and/or splitting time agreement will not exceed a total of two months.  Any questions or concerns about this step should be reviewed with the HR Client Manager.
  8. Hiring manager confirms offer in writing to finalist including salary, title and start date.

II. Definitions:

Jobs @ Columbia (JAC): Online job posting and application system. JAC lists open administrative positions for the University, Harlem Hospital and the Medical Center.

Internal Candidate: Any eligible and qualified staff member who applies for another position within the university.

Finalist: The final candidate being considered for a position.

III. Special Notes

Administrative Hiring Guide: Hiring guidelines are located in the Columbia University HR Manager Toolkit.

Counter Offers:  Departments should refrain from engaging in compensation counter offers over internal staff.

Lateral Transfer: Movement of a regular full or part-time staff member from one regular position to another without a break in service.  This includes transfers within the same or equivalent grade, within the same department or to another department within the University.  If considering a lateral move with a salary increase, please consult with your HR Client Manager to receive appropriate salary guidance.

Salary Increases: Salary increases over 10% per grade must be justified using the current salary exception form found on the Manager Toolkit. Please consult with your HR Client Manager to receive appropriate salary guidance.

Responsibilities and Roles

Hiring Manager: Ensures that position is approved by the department or school, funded and posted on the Jobs @ Columbia (JAC) system.  The hiring manager is expected to fully engage in the staff transfer guidelines as described in this policy.

Supervisor:  Is expected to fully engage in the staff transfer guidelines as described in this policy.

HR Client Manager:  Provides HR support and assists department with the staff transfer process and policy interpretation.

Internal Candidate:  Determines that eligibility and requirements as stated in this policy are met.  Reviews the position qualifications and applies for the posted internal position on JAC.  The internal candidate is expected to fully engage in the staff transfer guidelines as described in this policy.

Guidelines, Related Policies and Resources

Administrative Hiring Guide: http://managers.hr.columbia.edu/hiring-guides/admin-recruitment

Salary Exception guidelines and form: http://managers.hr.columbia.edu/tig/salary/bonus-exception-review-form

Termination of Employment: http://hr.columbia.edu/policies/hr-manual/separations#701

Jobs At Columbia (JAC) http://www.columbia.edu/cu/jobs/

 

Skill Testing of Applicants

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:
October 17, 2013
Responsible
Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

To ensure that the use of tests does not adversely affect the employment of anyone, especially women, minority persons or other protected groups, and does not violate the Equal Employment Opportunity laws, Human Resources and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action must approve all tests used as criteria for employee selection. Human Resources will evaluate the test to ascertain whether it is predictive of or significantly correlated with important elements of the job requisition description. Tests are considered valid only if they directly evaluate the same skills the applicant is expected to use in the performance of stated duties. A hiring department may conduct an approved test only in those areas where similar tests are not administered in Human Resources. If a test for a particular job opening has been disapproved, the hiring department may not give the test to any applicant. 

 

Reference Checks

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:
  July 1, 2004
Responsible
Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

The policy of Columbia University is to perform reference checks on prospective employees.

Administrative Hiring Process

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Revised: September 19, 2007
Responsible Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

As part of its commitment to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action, the University has established an Administrative Hiring Process for all applicants. An applicant is defined as one who applies for a specific position and meets the minimum posted qualifications for that position.

The University wants to hire, develop and retain the best employee for every job. We take steps to identify and encourage highly qualified applicants to apply for jobs. We try to make the hiring process as clear and as easy as possible for applicants and managers. The University is an equal opportunity employer and its recruitment policy is aligned with its policies on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

Please see the CU Human Resources website for further information and the Administrative Officer Hiring Process Quick Guide (PDF) on the HR Manager Toolkit.

Medical Examination

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued: January 1, 1993
Revised: July 1, 2004
Responsible Office:
HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

The University may require medical examinations of selected employee groups as a condition of employment.  Applicants for positions within these selected groups will be notified of this requirement during the job interview and the medical examination will be arranged by the hiring unit after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

Citizenship Verification for Employment Eligibility

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued: January 1, 1993
Revised: July 1, 2004
Responsible Office:
HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

Columbia University is required to comply with federal laws and regulations concerning verification of employment eligibility and associated record keeping for employees hired to work in the United States.  To this end, certain members of Columbia staff have been designated to assist the University in such compliance.  The University offers annual training and conducts periodical internal audits, as the University deems necessary.  Departments should always have at least one staff member who has received training in using the federal I-9 form to verify employment eligibility.

Verification of employment eligibility must be made within seventy-two (72) hours of employment.  The law applies to both foreign nationals and United States citizens.

Anyone with questions regarding any aspect of employment and/or identity verification, or any Columbia representative responsible for I-9 authorization who would like either additional training or training between regularly scheduled training sessions, should contact the appropriate HR service manager.

Background Checks and Drug Testing

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued: January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:  August 17, 2006
Responsible Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

It is the policy of the University to provide and ensure a safe and secure environment for all members of the University community and its property.  As part of this mandate, background checks and drug testing may be required of prospective employees who have already received a bona fide offer of employment, depending on the nature and duties of the position(s) sought.  The University may also require applicants to undergo fingerprinting as a condition of employment.  Applicants for such positions will be notified of this requirement during the job interview.

Any hires working in areas having access to confidential information will be subject to a background check, including credit and criminal history.

Any department that can demonstrate a need to conduct pre-employment background checks and/or drug tests on a class of positions or a finalist for an open position, must first receive authorization from Central HR (AVP, Employment and HR Client Services at Morningside Heights or AVP, Human Resources at Medical Center).  If appropriate, Central HR will authorize the check, receive the results and determine whether further action is warranted.  The use of information obtained by this policy will be in compliance with all applicable laws.

Dual Employment

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:
  10/17/2013
Responsible Office: Morningside: Executive Director, HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu; CUMC: Chief Human Resources Officer, 212- 305-3819

Policy Statement

Columbia University supports an environment that values employment and encourages staff members who express an interest, and have the abilities, to pursue appropriate vacancies to foster their career development. Dual Employment establishes a University-wide policy for effectively managing staff that already hold a position at the University.

Reason for this Policy

The purpose of this policy is to establish appropriate guidelines for staff and departments with respect to staff holding more than one position at the University.

Revision History

This policy will replace the Dual Employment Policy in the Human Resources Policy Manual. The Dual Employment Policy was last reviewed in July 2004.

Who is Governed by This Policy

This policy affects all officers of administration, administrative officers of the libraries, non-union support staff and union support staff employees of Columbia University.

Who Should Know This Policy

All Columbia University officers of administration, administrative officers of the libraries, non-union support staff and union support staff should review and understand this policy.

Department administrators, Human Resources representatives and hiring managers should review and understand this policy, as well as refer to the Administrative Hiring Guide in the Manager Toolkit: http://managers.hr.columbia.edu/

Exclusions and Special Situations

Academic officers, officers of instruction, officers of research and officers of the libraries should refer to the Faculty Handbook located online at: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/fhb/.

Staff rights and obligations under applicable collective bargaining agreements are not affected by this policy. Staff covered by collective bargaining agreements are governed by the provisions of their respective contract. Collective bargaining agreements may be found on the HR website under http://hr.columbia.edu/union-contracts.

Policy Text

Dual employment occurs when an employee holds two or more paid positions in more than one department. When one of the positions requires a full-time work week, the employee will not be hired by another department to fill a regular full- or part-time position.

When an employee holds a position that requires less than a full-time work week, the employee may be hired by another department for part-time duties so long as the regularly scheduled work week does not exceed 35 hours. However, the additional work must be authorized by the unit where the employee was initially hired. When hourly rates differ between the departments, the higher rate will be paid by both departments. The department that first hired the employee will be responsible for all payroll forms for administrative purposes.

Occasional overtime must be paid by the department that exceeds the scheduled hours.

If an employee is initially hired to perform two part-time jobs which constitute a permanent full-time position and one is subsequently eliminated, the employee has the option of retaining the remaining part-time position or accepting a layoff. 

 

Special Employment Circumstances

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Revised: August 17, 2006
Responsible
Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

Employment of Minors 

Applicants between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age must have the appropriate work authorization in hand when applying for employment. No one below the age of 16 will be permitted to work.

Hiring of persons between the ages of 16 and 18 requires the approval of HR Employment and Client Services prior to the applicant being hired.  This approval is based upon a review of a completed job description to ensure compliance with legal limitations on the employment of minors as well as the possession of the appropriate work authorization.

Employment Beyond Age 70

Even though there is no longer a mandatory retirement age, it is essential that employees notify HR Benefits-Retirement when they have reached their 70th birthday to be properly counseled regarding the impact of their continued employment on their pensions and other benefits.

Employment of Persons Convicted Of Crimes

An applicant will not be denied employment because of his or her conviction record unless there is a direct relationship between the offense and the job or unless hiring would present a risk. Moreover, employment may be restricted by federal, state or local laws which limit positions with certain specific job requirements.  Such applications must be reviewed and approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.

Employment of Persons with Disabilities

In compliance with applicable laws, the University makes reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would impose undue hardship on the University or pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual or others.  An otherwise qualified individual with a disability is a person who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can meet all of the selection criteria and perform all of the essential functions of an employment position held or desired.

Employment of Persons Who Use Illicit Drugs

The University will not knowingly employ persons currently using illicit drugs.  Also, the University Policy on Drugs and Alcohol prohibits the possession, use, manufacture and distribution of drugs on University premises.

Employment of Persons Formerly Using Drugs

The University does not take former use of illicit drugs into account in employment decisions unless required to do so by federal, state or local law.  Such applications must be reviewed and approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.

Employment of Relatives

The University encourages its employees to recommend to the University friends and relatives who are interested in working at the University.  However, relatives may not be employed within the same work area nor may any employee work under the direct or indirect supervision of a member of his or her immediate family or household without the prior written approval of the Vice President for Human Resources.  A relative is defined as a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, mother or father-in-law, brother, sister, or close family member.

Employment of Former Columbia University Employees

When hiring a former Columbia University employee, departments should encourage the employee to contact HR Benefits to discuss the employee’s seniority date and the impact of prior service on pensions and waiting periods.

Employment of Short-Term Casual Employees

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Revised: September 1, 2010
Responsible Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

Policy Statement

Short-term casual employees are employees on the University payroll who are performing non-exempt work for a limited period of time (this excludes full-time and half-time Columbia University students). Short-term casual employees are limited to one job for a maximum of 560 hours or 4 months from the initial hire date, whichever comes first, in a 12-month period. When the employee has worked 560 hours or 4 months from the initial hire date, the short-term casual employee must be terminated, or the position converted into one of the other pre-defined administrative employment categories.

Who is governed by this Policy

All short-term casual employees, excluding Columbia University students.

Who should know this Policy

Anyone at the University engaged in hiring or managing short-term casual employees (excluding students, as outlined below), including hiring managers, Departmental Administrators, Academic Department Administrators, local Human Resources Administrators and central Human Resources.

Exclusions and Special Situations

Students: This policy does not apply to full-time and half-time students at Columbia University, Barnard College and Teacher’s College. Enrollment status (full-time, half-time, part-time) is defined by the Student Information System (SIS) based on the program of study for the individual student. Full-time and half-time students1 are categorized as student casuals and have a "student status" as defined by SIS. If a student’s status changes they become subject to this policy.

Vacancy due to employees on an approved leave: If a short-term casual employee is hired to replace a specific employee on an authorized leave of absence, the employment may continue on the short-term casual payroll until the regular employee returns, but cannot exceed 999 hours in a 12-month period. Please refer to the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for limitations and notice requirements for work that might otherwise be covered by a CBA.

Policy Text

Definition:

Short-term casual employees are employees on the University payroll who are performing non-exempt work for a limited period of time (this excludes full-time and half-time Columbia University students). Employment in this category is limited to specific types of work, as listed below. The position should fit into one of the six pre-defined non-exempt job descriptions below. Please see the 6 pre-defined casual job descriptions (PDF) on the HR Manager Toollkit for more detail.

Job Descriptions:

  • Administrative
  • Clerical
  • Trades
  • Cafeteria and Food worker
  • Research support (non-academic)
  • Research support non-technical (non-academic)

A short-term casual employee can hold only one position at a time at the University. In the event that a short-term casual employee is found to hold another paid position, that employee must elect which position to retain. However, if a casual employee does not work the full 4 months or 560 hours, he or she may be rehired in another department until the 4-month/560-hour limit is reached.

If the work required does not fit into one of the above descriptions, please contact your HR Client Manager.

Hiring Process:

All short-term casual positions must be entered into Jobs at Columbia (JAC), but posting is only necessary if the department chooses to conduct a search.  All short-term casual hires must complete an employment application in JAC. A summary of the process is below:

  • Posting: All short-term casual positions must be created and entered in Jobs at Columbia. If the department already has a candidate for the position then the online casual waiver process in JAC should be used.
  • Application: The candidate must submit an electronic application through JAC.
  • Hiring Paperwork: All applicable hiring paperwork must be submitted to the PAC Service Center via the Template-Based Hire Process in a timely fashion. A full description of the required hiring documents can be found in the short-term casual hiring guide on the HR Manager Toolkit. Certain departments may require a background check prior to hiring the short-term casual employee. This check may include a criminal conviction check, Social Security Number verification, education and employment history verification, an employment reference check, consumer credit check and testing for current illegal drug use.

For a detailed description of the hiring process and steps, please see the short-term casual hiring guide on the HR Manager Toolkit. If you have additional questions, please consult with your HR Client Manager for guidance on the overall hiring process.

Termination:

Short-term casual employees are limited to a maximum of 560 hours or 4 months from hire date, whichever comes first, in a 12-month period. When the 560-hour or 4-month limit is reached, the short-term casual employee must be terminated unless he or she is filling in for a regular employee on an authorized leave of absence.

When a short-term casual employee reaches 4 months from hire date or 560 hours, whichever comes first, he or she will be automatically terminated in PAC. Short-term casuals should not work after the termination date. If it is determined that a short-term casual has worked past his or her termination date, the department must immediately discontinue the casual’s employment. Please review the detailed procedure for processing a final payment in the short-term casual hiring guide on the HR Manager Toolkit.

Converting a Short-Term Casual Position into a Regular or Temporary University Position:

If a department wishes to convert a short-term casual position into a regular or temporary University position, all normal Columbia University policies and procedures and applicable collective bargaining agreements apply for hiring new employees. These include job posting (for all bargaining-unit positions and for all officer positions lasting longer than 12 months), interviewing of applicants, and submission of any applicable monitoring paperwork. Please see the Administrative Employment Categories matrix (PDF) to determine the appropriate employment category based on the type of work and duration of the employment. The HR Client Managers can provide further assistance to appropriately categorize new positions.

When appropriate, based on the job and grade, and in collaboration with an HR Client Manager, a department may move an existing short-term casual employee into one of the other administrative employment categories. However, in order to avoid a break in service, the department must initiate the hiring process at least one month before the 4-month/560-hour limit is reached by the incumbent.

Rehiring Former Casual Employees:

Any short-term casual employee who has worked the maximum number of hours/months within 12 months of his or her hire date, may not be employed as a short-term casual employee anywhere within the University for 12 months from his or her termination date. Please see the short-term casual hiring guide for specific examples of when a short-term casual can be rehired.

Compensation:

All short-term casual employees must be paid based on the number of hours worked and their hourly pay rate. Original completed and signed timesheets must be kept on file in the department. A standard timesheet for short-term casual employees can be found on the HR Manager Toolkit. Lump sum payments are not allowed.

Where the job performed by the short-term casual employee is comparable to an existing position, the short-term casual employee's salary should be no less than the minimum pay grade for that position. However, if work is not substantial enough to be classified according to current pay grades (e.g., stuffing envelopes), rates outside of the range can be considered, but must meet all state and federal minimum wage laws. Please consult with your HR Client Manager if you have any questions.

Casual employees are eligible for overtime (at time and one-half their regular hourly rate) for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.

Restrictions and Limits on Use of Short-Term Casual Employees:

The short-term casual employee payroll policy does not change the collective bargaining agreement limitations defining when an employee becomes a regular employee. Thus, as long as the employee works at least the minimum number of hours (20 per week, except 10 per week for 1199), the employee is subject to the collective bargaining agreement after four (4) months — three (3) months for 1199 members — if the job is a union-represented position.

The short-term casual employment category is restricted to non-exempt work. The following types of individuals cannot be hired as a short-term casual employee:

  • Academic Officers: Any person who will be teaching, working with students as an adviser, doing collaborative research, or performing the duties of a professional librarian cannot be hired as a short-term casual employee. They must be given a faculty appointment or appointed as an officer of research, an officer of the libraries or a student officer, and hired using the academic nomination process. Please contact the office of your dean/executive vice president or the Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments (for Morningside appointments) or the Director of the Office of Faculty Affairs (for CUMC appointments) if you are unsure whether a person should have an academic appointment
  • Former University Employees: If a department wishes to rehire a former employee who has separated from the University, he or she must be hired using one of the regular or temporary administrative employment categories: regular full-time, regular part-time, temporary full-time, temporary part-time, or part-time variable hours (see Administrative Employment Categories matrix for more information).
  • University Retirees: If a department wishes to rehire a University retiree, that individual must be hired using one of the regular or temporary part-time administrative employment categories:  regular part-time, temporary part-time, or part-time variable hours (see Administrative Employment Categories matrix (PDF) for more information). Please also refer to the applicable collective bargaining agreement for pension implications and limitations when rehiring any union retiree.

If a department wishes to hire someone on a short-term basis who will be performing exempt (officer-level) work, the individual must be hired using one of the regular or temporary administrative employment categories: regular full-time, regular part-time, temporary full-time, temporary part-time, or part-time variable hours (see  Administrative Employment Categories matrix (PDF) for more information). Alternatively, the department can hire a temporary through the University Temporary Staffing Agency.

For more information on determining when work is exempt (officer) versus non-exempt (support staff) please review the exempt/non-exempt guidelines on the HR website or consult with your HR Client Manager.

Special Situations for Short-term Casual Employees:

  • Columbia University Graduates: Students who have recently graduated can be hired or retained in a short-term casual employee position. The hours they worked as a student do not count toward the 4-month/560-hour limit on short-term casual employees. However, the 4-month/560-hour limit begins after graduation.
  • Columbia University Students: This policy does not apply to full-time and half-time students at Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College. Enrollment status (full-time, half-time, part-time) is defined by the Student Information System (SIS) based on the program of study for the individual student. 
    Full-time and half-time students are categorized as student casuals and have a "student status" as defined by SIS. If a student’s status changes and they drop below half-time registration status (part-time), they become subject to this policy.
  • Laid-Off Employees Participating in the Enhanced Layoff Benefits Program: For union employees who have been laid off and are participating in the enhanced layoff benefits program through SSA, 1199 and 2110, special circumstances may apply. Please consult the applicable collective bargaining agreement or contact Labor Relations for more information. Following the end of the enhanced layoff benefits period, the 4-month/560-hour limit begins.
  • Positions Covered by the 1199 Cafeteria Workers Union: If a short-term casual employee is hired to work in a position that would otherwise be covered by the 1199 cafeteria CBA, he or she is limited to 520 hours or 3 months from hire date, whichever comes first.

1  In limited circumstances, where an individual is taking a reduced course load and considered part-time due to documented disability reasons, such individual may be considered a student exempt from the casual hour and time restrictions.

Definitions of University Seniority

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:
  July 1, 2004
Responsible
Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

University Seniority

University seniority is the number of completed years, months and days of full-time service to the University.  However, regular support staff employees who work on a part-time basis at least twenty (20) hours per week also accrue University seniority.  The University uses this to establish eligibility for various benefits and pension programs, for vacation entitlement and for promotion.  University seniority also determines layoff pay.

Adjusted University Seniority

An adjusted seniority date may occur because an employee has been absent from University employment because of breaks in service.  (See "Seniority Status while on Unpaid Leave"). 

Re-Employment and Its Effect on University Seniority

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:
  May 15, 2008
Responsible
Office: HR Client Services, 212-851-7008, hrcs@columbia.edu

Employees rehired within 30 days of their termination from employment with the University will retain their University seniority date.

Employees rehired after 30 days but less than five years after their termination from employment with the University will have their University seniority adjusted to reflect the period of prior service. For example, if an employee has 3 years of prior service and did not work for the University for 2 years, the employee’s seniority date will be adjusted to recognize 3 years of service upon their rehire date.

Employees whose break in service exceeds the period of prior service will receive no credit for prior service.  For example, an employee with 3 years of prior service and rehired after 4 years separation from the University, will receive no credit for prior service.

Employees rehired after five years of their termination from employment with the University will receive no credit for prior service.  

The University seniority date is used for vacation allowance and benefit wait period, if any, for health and welfare insurance.  This date is not used for determination of retirement benefits, tuition exemption, severance allowance or any other benefit programs.  Please refer to the summary plan description or policy to understand years of service as it applies to that benefit.

References/Outside Inquiries Concerning University Personnel

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:
  July 1, 2004
Responsible
Office: HR Information Services, 212-851-2888

All outside inquiries for routine information concerning past and present employees of the University must be referred to  HR Information Services in order to ensure the confidentiality and accuracy of personnel information.

If outside inquiries for routine information are received in the employee's school or department, they must be forwarded to HR Information Services for reply.

Human Resources will verify only such routine personnel information as name, Social Security Number, dates of employment, and position title provided by the inquirer.  No additional information will be provided unless authorized in writing by the employee.

Access to Personnel Records

Category: EMPLOYMENT
Issued:
January 1, 1993
Last Reviewed:
  May 1, 2008
Responsible Office: HR Client Services, (212) 851-7008

Employees may review the contents of their university personnel file during business hours by making an appointment with the Office of Employment and HR Client Services.  However, the contents of the file remain the exclusive property of the University. Copies of materials contained in the file may be made only by requesting in advance and obtaining the approval of the Office of Employment and HR Client Services.

It is the policy of the University to furnish information contained in the employee's personnel file when a lawful subpoena or court order has been properly served by one having the authority to do so.  In general, the University will notify the employee of such a request when it is received.