Employee Handbook

Employee Policies

Maryland Institute College of Art is committed to its policy of providing equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or veteran status (disabled, Vietnam-era, or otherwise). Furthermore, the College does not tolerate any form of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment or sexual violence. This policy applies to all programs, facilities, and activities provided by Maryland Institute College of Art, including but not limited to admission, educational programs, and employment.

Any employee who engages in conduct that violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Equal Employment and Anti-Harassment

MICA is firmly committed to creating and maintaining a workplace where everyone (including applicants, employees, students, vendors and the general public) is treated with dignity, fairness and respect.  Every employee has the right to work in an environment totally free of harassment and discriminatory conduct.  Such behavior is contrary to the College's objectives, and may subject the College to legal exposure.  To achieve our objectives, the College has established a high standard of conduct.  Any employee who engages in conduct that violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Equal Employment Opportunity

MICA is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. It is the policy of the College to apply recruiting, hiring, promotion, compensation, and professional development and disciplinary practices without regard to race, religion, color, age, gender identity or expression, national origin, citizenship, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, disability, or any other legally protected status. Further, our College provides reasonable accommodation to persons with mental or physical disabilities.

Immigration Law Compliance

The College is committed to employing only those who are authorized to work in the United States and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of citizenship or national origin.

In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, each new employee, as a condition of employment, must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and present documentation establishing identity and employment eligibility within three working days of the employee's date of hire.  Any employee with an expiring work authorization must renew the authorization or the employee will be considered to have voluntarily resigned.  Former employees who are rehired must also complete the Form. All offers of employment are conditioned upon the receipt of satisfactory evidence of an employee's authorization to work in the United States.

Employees with questions or seeking more information on immigration law issues are encouraged to contact Human Resources.  Employees may raise questions or complaints about immigration law compliance without fear of reprisal.

Reasonable Accommodation

Employees with disabilities are encouraged to advise MICA of any accommodations that they believe need to be made for them to perform their duties.  Employees should also advise MICA of any facilities that they believe are needed to be made accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities. 

MICA will also reasonably accommodate employees' religious observances, practices and beliefs as long as this does not cause an undue hardship on the College.

Any information related to this matter should be discussed with Human Resources. 

Harassment, Including Sexual Harassment

It is MICA policy that all employees have a right to work in an environment free of harassment, either verbal or physical, which is based on race, religion, color, age, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, disability, or any other legally protected status.  In keeping with this commitment, we will not tolerate harassment of employees by anyone, including any supervisor, coworker, vendor, or student of MICA, based on these characteristics.  Such conduct, or interference with the investigation of an alleged incident, may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Employees should direct any questions or concerns about this policy to Human Resources.

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual acts or favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
  • Any statement or implication that an individual's submission to or rejection of such sexual conduct could be used as a condition of employment, or as the basis for any employment decision affecting such individual; and
  • Any conduct, whether physical or verbal, which has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.  This includes, but is not limited to, slurs, jokes or degrading comments of a sexual nature; offensive sexual flirtation, sexual advances or propositions; abuse of a sexual nature; graphic verbal comments about an individual's body; sexual innuendo or suggestive comments; sexually oriented "kidding" or "teasing"; unwanted physical touching, such as patting or pinching another's body; and the display in the workplace of sexually suggestive printed or visual materials, clothing, objects or pictures.

Every employee must avoid any conduct that reasonably could be interpreted as discrimination or harassment under this policy, even if such conduct was not intended as offensive.

Reporting Procedures

All employees are responsible to help us ensure we avoid harassment. If you feel you have experienced, witnessed or become aware of discrimination or harassment, you should immediately report the incident(s) to Human Resources, the Vice President of Academic Affairs or Vice President of Student Affairs.

Every complaint will be promptly and thoroughly investigated, including interviewing witnesses and participants. All efforts will be made to ensure the confidentiality of the complaint to the extent possible; however, information, including the identity of the individual lodging the complaint, may be divulged where necessary to fully investigate the matter or comply with applicable law. If an investigation reveals that harassment or other inappropriate behavior has occurred, the College will take disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Prohibition on Retaliation

There will be no retaliation or discrimination against any employee who submits a good faith complaint, reports an incident witnessed, or participates in any way with the investigation of a harassment claim. Supervisors are prohibited from making any personnel decision or taking any adverse action against any employee because the employee submits a complaint or cooperates in good faith with an investigation of alleged conduct prohibited by this policy. Any acts of retaliation will be considered a violation of this policy and corrective action will be taken, up to and including termination.

Progressive Discipline

MICA’s progressive discipline policy and procedure is designed to provide a structured corrective action process to improve and prevent a recurrence of both performance and behavioral issues.  It has been designed consistent with our core values, HR best practices, and employment laws.  The policy does not constitute an employment contract.

This policy applies to all staff employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and casual.  This policy does not apply to faculty employees who are subject to discipline provisions included in the faculty handbook.

This policy will be implemented and progressive discipline will be administered in a non-discriminatory manner and without consideration of an employee’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class, including race, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, ethnicity, national origin (including ancestry), physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, perceived identity (including appearance), veteran or military status (including special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran, or recently separated veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics, or any other protected status.

Progressive Discipline Policy

Conflict of Interest

1. MICA is committed to achieving the highest standards of professionalism in its operations and therefore expects its employees to adhere to ethical standards of conduct. Employees should always act in the best interest of MICA and not allow outside interests or personal relationships to interfere with or influence their decisions and responsibilities on behalf of the College.

2. For purposes of this policy, a conflict of interest arises when a staff person or staff person's family member, as defined below, has an existing or potential financial or other material interest that impairs or may appear to impair the staff person's independence and objectivity of judgment in the discharge of duties to MICA. For example, a conflict of interest exists when a staff person is in a position to influence a decision that may result in personal gain for the staff person or his or her family member as a result of MICA's activities. A conflict of interest also exists when a staff person is responsible for evaluating the work or performance of a family member.

3. For purposes of this Conflict of Interest policy, "family member" includes but is not limited to spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, in-law, aunt, uncle, first cousin, step relative, or an individual that receives or provides financial support to another individual.

4. This policy does not set forth all the conflicts of interest that might possibly develop. Staff should discuss any questions regarding a possible conflict of interest with their supervisor or with Human Resources. The following is set forth to guide staff in identifying potential conflicts of interest.

a) No staff person may engage in any outside activity that will interfere with the staff person's duties for MICA or influence decisions that should be made solely based on the best interests of MICA. Full-time staff are expected to devote their full time employment with MICA and may not engage in any outside employment without prior approval of the employee's supervisor. Part-time staff have an obligation to devote the agreed upon amount of time to employment with MICA.

b) No outside work for compensation may be done during the staff person's regularly scheduled working hours and no College building, equipment, labor or supplies may be used to conduct outside activity. Staff may not represent that any outside work is being done by or on behalf of MICA. "Outside work" can include teaching at MICA.

c) The College encourages its staff to serve on boards for non-profit, community-based and other arts-related organizations. However, conflicts of interest can also occur from involvement with those organizations as well. Prior to committing to service, staff should disclose the relationship and level of involvement to their Vice President and/or President to determine the appropriate action.

d) Staff may not seek or accept gifts, trips, or favors whose value exceeds $200 from anyone involved in selling goods to or performing services for MICA. Cash, gift cards or gift certificates of any amount may never be accepted.

e) Staff may not offer any type of services or items to MICA students or their families other than those authorized by MICA.

f) The College will not employ family members in such a way that one directly supervises or evaluates the performance of another family member.

g) Staff must notify their supervisor or Human Resources if they are aware that a MICA employee, applicant for employment, vendor, or person conducting or seeking to conduct business with the College is related to a MICA employee who is a family member as defined above. Such relationships will be evaluated within the context of this policy and appropriate action will be taken to avoid a conflict or the appearance of conflict.

5. Business Transactions with a Family Business

a) For purposes of this policy, the term ‘family business' means any business that is owned in whole or in part by a ‘family member', as defined in subsection 3 of this policy, of a MICA staff person or officer. 'Family business' does not include small, non-controlling shareholdings in publicly traded companies.

b) Except as provided below, staff and officers are prohibited from committing MICA to a business transaction with a family business owned by one of their own family members.

c) For staff other than officers:

i. For all purchases below $5,000, competitive bids are not required but the purchase must be reviewed and approved in advance by the division Vice President and President.

ii. For all purchases $5,000 and higher, a competitive bidding process is required, and inclusion of the family business in the bidding process requires the advance approval of the division Vice President and President.

1) The division Vice President will manage the RFP and bidding process and determine the recipient of the contract based on the bids submitted and other relevant information included in the proposal.

d) For officers, potential purchases from a family business of any amount may only occur if a competitive bidding process is employed and the family business is approved to be included in a competitive bidding process in advance by the President, Executive Committee and Audit Committee.

i. For officers other than the Vice President of Finance and Human Resources, the process for awarding the contract is carried out in the following manner:

1) The Request for Proposals (RFP) process is managed by MICA's Office of Finance (MOF) in conjunction with the Division making the purchase.

2) The RFP is developed by the division making the purchase and is sent out by the MOF.

3) The number of vendors to be sent the RFP will be determined by the MOF in conjunction with the division making the purchase, and there shall be a minimum of three, including the family business. The RFP will be sent to those vendors selected by the MOF in consultation with the Division making the purchase.

4) All bids are submitted confidentially and directly to the MOF.

5) In order to understand potential differences in the proposals that may need further explanation, the MOF may consult with the officer of the division making the purchase.

6) The MOF makes the final determination of the firm to be awarded the contract or purchase, taking into account pricing and other appropriate factors depending on the nature of the contract.

ii. For the Vice President of Finance/Human Resources the process for awarding the contract is carried out in the following manner:

1) The Request for Proposals (RFP) process is managed by MICA's Office of the President (MOP) in conjunction with the Division of Finance and Human Resources (DFHR) making the purchase.

2) The RFP is developed by the DFHR and is sent out by the MOP.

3) The number of vendors to be sent the RFP will be determined by the MOP in conjunction with the DFHR, and there shall be a minimum of three, including the family business. The RFP will be sent to those vendors selected by the MOP in consultation with the DFHR.

4) All bids are submitted confidentially and directly to the MOP.

5) In order to understand potential differences in the proposals that may need further explanation, the MOP may consult with the officer of the DFHR.

6) The MOP makes the final determination of the firm to be awarded the contract or purchase, taking into account pricing and other appropriate factors depending on the nature of the contract.

6. Staff members who become aware of a possible violation of this policy or other ethical concern regarding their employment or another MICA employee should contact their direct supervisor or Human Resources. MICA prohibits any form of discipline, reprisal, intimidation, or retaliation for reporting a potential conflict of interest or cooperating in related investigations. MICA will investigate all concerns and determine what action should be taken. Violations of this policy will result in corrective action which may include disciplinary action up to and including termination.


During the course of your employment, you may work with information that is confidential and proprietary, which may include, but is not limited to: our students, including information pertaining to and belonging to our students; current and prospective student lists; student files; computer systems; software; photographs; digital images; blueprints; future plans; fee information; ideas; concepts; know-how; means; methods; techniques; structure; marketing plans; research and development; improvements; proposals; estimates; drawings; processes; personnel information, including the identity of other employees of the College and the affiliates; sales forecasts; financial statements and financial forecasts; pricing and financial data; purchasing information; statistics; safety information and manuals; operational information; intellectual property; internal business procedures; business plans; information concerning planned or pending acquisitions or divestitures; and information concerning purchase of major equipment or property.  

Maintaining this confidentiality is important to our competitive position in the industry and, ultimately, to our ability to provide employment stability and serve our students.  You must protect this information by safeguarding it when in use, filing it properly when not in use, and discussing it only with those who have a legitimate business need to know.  The duty to maintain confidentiality extends after your separation from the College.

Upon receipt of the Handbook, you will be required to sign the Handbook Acknowledgment, indicating that you have read, understand and agree to comply with the provisions for maintaining the confidentiality of College information.  Any employee who discloses confidential or proprietary information to anyone outside the College will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Should your employment at MICA be terminated for any reason, employees shall promptly surrender, without retaining copies, all tangible things that are or contain confidential information, including all computer hardware and software (including data and computer files), computer printouts, computer disks, work papers, files, student lists, supplier lists, telephone and/or address books, rolodex cards, internal memoranda, appointment books, calendars, letters, records, documents, blueprints, books, forms, plans, handbooks, manuals, slides, transparencies, recordings, booklets, photographs (or similar reproductions), digital images, training and seminar materials, files, photo negatives.  Failure to meet these obligations may result in legal action.

Honoraria, Gifts and Donations

Honoraria or expenses may be accepted by a staff member for papers, speeches, demonstrations, consulting, or other activities the performance of which would not ordinarily be considered as part of the normal responsibilities inherent in the position. Income for such activity, if conducted during the work hours, shall be paid to the College if annual leave is not taken for the time. The employee's supervisor should be informed of such activity. College employees should not accept compensation, gifts, rewards, gratuities, or anything of value from any source other than the College for services rendered in the normal course of fulfilling the responsibilities of the College. This provision is not intended to restrict the usual social amenities or ceremonial gifts.

Solicitation and Distribution

To ensure efficient operation of our business and to prevent interruptions to employees, it is necessary to control solicitation and distribution of non-college informational/promotional materials in the workplace. Soliciting fellow employees for causes, collecting contributions, or selling for any purpose whatsoever is prohibited during your work time or during the working time of the employee(s) at whom such activity is directed. Distributing literature, including flyers, advertisements, petitions, brochures, etc. during your work time or the working time of the employee(s) at whom such activity is directed or in work areas at any time, is also prohibited. Solicitation or distribution of literature by anyone not employed by the College is prohibited on our premises at all times.

For purposes of this policy, solicitation includes an act or communications intended to influence or persuade another employee in regards to membership, collecting contributions, or selling for any purpose. For purposes of this policy, distribution is defined as the delivery of any tangible or written materials which have not been prepared by, or for, the College.

Dress and Personal Appearance

Students and visitors gain a lasting impression of MICA not only from our actions, but also from our physical appearance. All employees are expected to adhere to generally accepted good grooming habits and to report to work properly dressed for assigned job duties. The guidelines set forth in this policy should be followed during all scheduled work shifts.

Clothing should be clean, neat, properly tucked, of appropriate fit and support, concealing all undergarments, consistent with safety standards and contributing to the overall positive impression of our College. "Business casual" dress is permitted; however, employees are still expected to present a neat appearance and are not permitted to wear ripped, disheveled or suggestive clothing.

Key Points to Remember

  • There are always exceptions to the rules, but if you have to ask yourself whether something is appropriate or not, it probably is not.
  • The latest fashions are not always correct work attire.

Questions on this policy may be directed to your supervisor or Human Resources.

Employee Suggestions and Concerns

The College values the input of our employees and is committed to maintaining a work environment in which everyone can communicate openly and without fear of retaliation or discrimination. The College promotes an "open door" philosophy of management. Our culture is participative, friendly, accessible and supportive. The College encourages employees to have open discussions with their supervisors and management to communicate their views and concerns.

All suggestions and complaints received will be considered. Confidentiality will be maintained where appropriate. Employees who have complaints about a policy or practice of the College or their treatment by any member of the College are encouraged to follow these guidelines*:

A. If an employee has a job related problem, question or complaint, he/she should first try to discuss it with his/her supervisor. The simplest, quickest and most satisfactory solution will often be reached at this level.

B. If the discussion with the supervisor does not answer the question or resolve the matter satisfactorily, or, if the employee is not comfortable addressing this issue with his/her supervisor, the employee may then present his/her complaint to Human Resources. Human Resources will assure that a prompt and thorough investigation is completed and will make every effort to report back to the employee as soon as possible. Human Resources will render a final decision on the matter after appropriate investigation.

* The reporting process described in this policy does not apply in situations where other specific instructions are outlined, such as those in the EEO and Anti-Harassment policy. In such cases, all employees should follow the procedures provided in those policies.

Whistleblower Policy