Civility and Personal Conduct Policy

Authority: Inclusive Excellence
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted May 16, 2016; Revised April 17, 2018; April 12, 2022

Purpose

McNeese State University is committed to creating a culture of respect and civility that is free of harassment where all members of the community share a commitment to academic freedom, open inquiry, and the pursuit of knowledge.

Incivility and disrespect in the workplace can be a barrier to effective communication, coaching, and performance. The impact can be severe as it may result in employee turnover, low productivity, reduced morale, diminished loyalty, and physiological impacts such as stress and depression that can lead to increased absenteeism. Incivility can escalate and may lead to more severe behaviors including harassment and violence. This policy is intended to define community aspirations with respect to this right and to establish a mechanism for addressing behavior that violates University policy on harassment, discrimination, and related behaviors.

Definitions

Civility requires treating others with dignity, respect, and making a “good faith effort” with regard to other’s feelings. Corrective actions may be taken by managers to enhance work performance. The language used to correct or reinforce work standards must be respectful and work-related. Civility requires that even the most critical feedback be delivered respectfully, privately, and courteously.

Examples of civility include:

  • Treating others with dignity, courtesy, respect, politeness, and consideration
  • Speaking in tones of voice that are appropriate for the circumstances
  • Being respectful of others’ right to express their views, even if you disagree
  • Managing conflict with others in a respectful way rather than a confrontational way

Incivility deals with a broad range of behaviors including, but not limited to, unprofessional behavior; rudeness; shouting or swearing; intimidation or bullying; threatening comments or behaviors/actions; unsolicited and unwelcome conduct, comment (oral or written, including email communication), gestures, actions, or contact that cause offense, humiliation, physical, or emotional harm to any individual.

Incivility can be subtle or overt. It may be a single event or may involve a continuing series of incidents and may involve the abuse of authority or position. Uncivil behavior may be unintended or deliberately directed at another individual. In any case, the impact on that individual is what must be addressed.

Incivility can also create a poisoned work environment, which may affect more than one employee.

Examples of incivility include:

  • Shouting
  • Profane, abusive, aggressive, or violent language directed at an individual or individuals
  • Using props suggestive of violence
  • Slamming doors
  • Throwing objects
  • Humiliating, degrading, demeaning, belittling, insulting, frightening, or intimidating another person
  • Distributing comments about an individual, whether verbally or in writing, including online, that are unjustified and are likely to have a negative impact on the individual if they were to see them
  • Telling inappropriate jokes
  • Disallowing divergent points of view from being heard—including observations about job performance and collegiality

This guideline does not apply to concerns of discrimination or discriminatory harassment that are covered under the Equity and Inclusion Policy, Power-Based Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, Anti-Bullying Policy, or Prohibition Against Retaliation Policy.

Concern, Grievance, or Complaint

Individuals who believe they may have been treated with disrespect or in an uncivil manner may discuss their concerns confidentially and informally with the Office of Inclusive Excellence. The reporting process helps the University to record and evaluate these occurrences for climate assessment and planning purposes. The Office of Inclusive Excellence does not have independent authority to adjudicate incidents falling under this policy.

Communication

This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.