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Human Resources

Code of Ethics for Faculty and Staff

I. Introduction

Reporting Helpline

This Code of Ethics is meant to be a living document that best reflects the culture and values of Bentley University. It describes standards of conduct and integrity that are consistent with the mission and ethical values embraced by Bentley's mission statement.

This Code of Ethics applies to all Bentley trustees, officers, faculty and staff (collectively, the "Covered Parties"). It is intended to guide these individuals in identifying and resolving issues of ethical conduct that may arise in the course of their various transactions and relationships with each other and the wider community. This Code of Ethics is not intended to replace, and may be supplemented by, existing policies and procedures and those that may be adopted in the future.

It is not the purpose of this code to address every situation, but merely to make individuals aware of the general scope and application of business ethics in an institute of higher learning. The basic policies and guidelines set forth in this Code of Ethics may result in differences of opinion as to what actions are and are not ethical in particular situations. Covered Parties can and should make basic ethical decisions themselves. Trustees and officers having questions about their ethical obligations under this code or any other University policy should consult the President, the Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees or the Chair of the Ethics Committee; all others should consult their manager, their department chair or the Vice President of Human Resources.

II. Compliance with the Law

The Covered Parties shall comply in good faith with all lawful requirements, both domestic and international, applicable to Bentley. Any uncertainty about the application or interpretation of legal requirements should be referred to the employee's manager, the department head or the Vice President of Human Resources.

III. Use of University Resources and Assets

It is expected that Covered Parties will be efficient and economical in their use of Bentley's resources, and not permit the abuse of these resources by others. Covered Parties are reminded that Bentley property is to be used for the business of Bentley, though limited, reasonable, private use is acceptable at the discretion of and with prior approval by the employee's manager.

IV. Consulting

Outside Employment:
Bentley does not limit an employee's activities during non-working hours, unless those activities interfere or conflict with the employee's ability to perform their job responsibilities fully and effectively, whether directly or indirectly. Outside employment for a competitor, or work that constitutes a conflict of interest, is prohibited. If an employee accepts outside employment, they should notify their manager to ensure that their position does not pose a conflict of interest. Employees may not receive any income or material gain from individuals outside Bentley University for materials produced or services rendered while performing their job with the University.

If it is determined that an employee’s outside work interferes with their performance, or the ability to meet the requirements of their job, they may be asked to terminate the outside employment if they wish to remain with the University.  The holding of a second job does not eliminate the employee’s obligation to work overtime when necessary. 

External Consulting:
Bentley allows faculty and staff to consult as part of professional development and enhancement of the institution's reputation, so long as those activities do not interfere with the performance of their responsibilities and do not create a conflict of interest, either actual or perceived. 

Faculty need to discuss such opportunities in advance with their Department Chair whenever possible. Faculty should refer to the online Faculty Manual section 6.7, for specific policies and guidelines. Staff members should obtain the approval of their immediate manager before beginning any consulting activity. 

An employee should not accept any consulting assignment with an entity that currently does business with Bentley, or is likely to do business with Bentley in the future where the employee will have a role or input in selecting or overseeing that business. 

In all consulting assignments, the employee functions without the sponsorship of the University, and the University assumes no responsibility for the decisions, deliverables, or impact of the consulting activities. As with outside employment, the consulting engagement should not interfere or conflict with the employee's ability to perform their job responsibilities fully and effectively, whether directly or indirectly, or the same consequences will apply.

Employees who do not receive express permission from their manager ahead of entering a consulting engagement, and/or violate any area of the code of ethics policy, may face disciplinary action up to and including termination. 

All employees who enter any external engagement activity need to be familiar with and fully comply with the university’s code of ethics policy 

V. Harassment and Discrimination

Bentley is committed to fostering an environment that supports respect for individual and academic freedom and in which all members of the community can pursue careers and study free from any type of harassment or discrimination. Harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ethnicity or disability status undermines the fundamental principles of Bentley and is unacceptable behavior. The details of Bentley's harassment policies may be found under the Discrimination, Harassment, and ADA Policy section of the HR Policy page and in the online Faculty Manual.

VI. Confidential Information

Covered Parties are required to respect an individual's right to privacy and to treat as confidential all information supplied to them on that basis within the guidelines of Bentley's other policies and procedures. Bentley prohibits disclosure and discussion of confidential information, either during or after employment with Bentley (unless an employee is authorized to do so or unless called for by Bentley's other policies and procedures). Such information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Personal and official information about students, such as academic and judicial records, which should be treated in accord with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act as amended (the Buckley Amendment);
  • Financial information about students;
  • Personal health information, which should be treated in accord with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) if and when applicable;
  • Personal and financial information about past, current and prospective donors, as well as information about specific gifts and donations from alumni and other friends;
  • Information regarding Bentley's business transactions;
  • The Human Resources employee files of Bentley employees, except as may be required by law;
  • The opinions, advice and decisions made by discussants during the faculty evaluation process and the promotion and tenure process;
  • The opinions, advice and decisions made by discussants in regard to performance appraisals of members of staff and the board.

VII. Conflict of Interest

Trustees, officers, faculty and staff owe their primary professional allegiance to Bentley and its mission. A conflict of interest exists when a Bentley representative or a member of their family is in the position to benefit personally, directly or indirectly, from their dealings with an organization or person conducting business with Bentley. Confidence in Bentley and its employees is put at risk when the conduct of an individual involves, or appears to involve, a conflict between their private interests and those of the institution. Covered Parties should avoid situations in which their personal interests conflict or could be construed as being in conflict with those of the University. Such avoidance includes placing oneself in a situation which may compromise the individual's objective professional judgment (e.g. having a family member in an undisclosed business relationship with the University).

The Bentley University Conflict of Interest Policy and the Bentley University Conflict of Interest for Participants in Externally-Funded Programs, Grants or Contracts set forth in detail the standards and procedures to be followed when dealing with situations that may present a conflict of interest.

VIII. The Use of Technology

Bentley provides faculty and staff with access to a variety of technologies, including personal computers and printers, network infrastructure, the Internet, e-mail and voice mail, for use in the ordinary performance of their duties. Detailed policies on the use of these technologies are maintained in the online Faculty Manual. In addition, every employee who logs in to Bentley's network resources is required to review and agree to the Code for Ethical Computer Use.

In general, technology should be used for Bentley-related business including teaching, research, administration and communication with colleagues. Bentley recognizes and supports the occasional use of technology resources for personal purposes, providing it does not disrupt the system, and expects all employees to respect the priority of business over incidental use. An individual may only use accounts, files, software, and computer resources authorized under their password and must take all reasonable precautions (e.g. prevent unauthorized access to accounts or data by others) both within and outside the Bentley community, with particular attention to mobile computers, smart phones, PDAs, the use of virtual private network software, and data devices. Employees must not make unauthorized copies of copyrighted software or data considered confidential by Bentley or by a government agency.

Use of computers, electronic mail, the network or the Internet for inappropriate or illegal purposes such as commercial sales, practical jokes, the intentional breaking of security, the sending of abusive or offensive material and /or unwanted chain letters is expressly prohibited.

IX. Gifts, Entertainment, Travel

Covered Parties shall not furnish expensive gifts or provide excessive entertainment or benefits to people on behalf of Bentley. Those employees whose duties require it may furnish reasonable gifts and entertainment (defined as less than $100 in value per person), if such gifts are not cash, if they may not be interpreted as a bribe, if they are made in accordance with accepted business practice and if they do not contravene any law.

Covered Parties shall not accept or solicit any gifts or benefits of more than nominal value (in excess of $100) for themselves from individuals or organizations with whom Bentley does business or is otherwise affiliated. Gifts of reasonable value (less than $100 in value), such as those generally used for promotional purposes by the donor, modest entertainment or acts of hospitality, may be accepted. This provision does not prohibit the acceptance of ceremonial gifts, whose value exceeds $100, received by development staff, faculty, officers or trustees of Bentley in their official capacity, which are accepted on behalf of and remain the property of Bentley.

Bentley's detailed policy on travel and reimbursement is maintained by the Purchasing and Contract Services Department and resides on the departmental web page.

X. Intellectual Property

Bentley respects the ownership of intellectual material governed by copyright laws. Covered Parties are expected to comply with the copyright laws and provisions of the licensing agreements that apply to software, and printed and electronic material. For specific guidelines, consult Bentley's copyright policy.

All research, consulting and development activities conducted under the auspices of Bentley University that may result in patents should be discussed in advance with the Provost.

Use of Bentley's seal and letterhead is restricted to Bentley business. Questions regarding use of the seal and letterhead should be referred to the Office of Publication and Communication.

XI. Political Activity and Dealings with Public Officials

Covered Parties shall not use Bentley funds or other resources and assets as contributions to political parties, candidates or campaigns. All dealings with public officials should be conducted in a manner that does not compromise the integrity and reputation of the official, the employee or Bentley.

XII. The Use of Human Subjects in Research

Bentley encourages the use of research to advance the forefront of knowledge. When such research requires the use of human subjects (for reasons such as obtaining data, studying the reaction of individuals to various stimuli, or testing the relationship between individuals and factors in the environment) researchers should be cognizant of the need to protect their subjects. Any research involving human subjects should contain two essential components: 1) the selection and achievement of morally acceptable ends; and 2) a morally acceptable means to those ends. The university follows the principles outlined in the Belmont Report, emphasizing respect for persons, beneficence and justice in our treatment of participants in our research projects.

Researchers should be particularly cautious whenever the design of the research allows results to be identified by an individual subject and when the results are potentially damaging to a subject's reputation, employability, emotional well being, financial standing or human dignity. In such cases, participation in the study must be strictly voluntary and the participant must be given information regarding their potential personal risks and must provide their informed consent. The participants should not be coerced or receive unjustifiable pressure to join the study. Potential benefits of such research should clearly outweigh any potential harm. Approval for such projects should be obtained in advance from Bentley's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Questions about the IRB or about policies and procedures in this area may be referred to the IRB chair. Click Here for additional information regarding the topic of "Use of Human Subjects in research."

XIII. Reporting Known or Suspected Violations

As set forth more fully in the Bentley University Ethics Complaint Procedure, Bentley trustees and officers are required to report promptly any known or suspected violations of this Code of Ethics to the president, the Audit Committee chair or the ethics officer. All other Covered Parties should bring any suspected or known violations to the attention of their managers or the ethics officer or anonymously and confidentially through the Bentley Ethics Helpline. Investigations of alleged violations of the Code of Ethics will be conducted, if necessary, in accordance with the Ethics Complaint Procedure. No retaliatory action of any kind will be permitted against anyone making such a report in good faith.

Violations of this Code of Ethics may lead to disciplinary action, including removal from office or termination of employment. Violations of this Code may also constitute violations of law and may result in criminal and/or civil liability for the offender and Bentley. All Covered Parties are required to cooperate in internal investigations of possible misconduct.

XIV. Conclusion

We hope that the principles set forth herein will demonstrate that the purpose of this Code of Ethics is to promote the highest possible standards of business conduct.

This Code of Ethics and the matter contained herein are neither a contract of employment nor a guarantee of continuing policy. This Code may be amended or supplemented from time to time, with or without notice, by the President and the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees.