2.14 Guide for Addressing Faculty and Staff Non-Compliance with COVID-Safety Protocols

We all have an important shared responsibility to ensure we are respectful of our community members and do our part to minimize the risk of infection. Faculty and staff are expected to carefully read and stay up to date with Berklee’s expectations for faculty and staff as outlined in the Keeping our Community Healthy plan and comply with all safety measures that are put in place to minimize the risk of infection.

The Berklee Response Team will work with leadership, department directors, department chairs, and program directors in collaboration with Human Resources, Facilities and Physical Plant to ensure that all safety measures, including established social/physical distancing and hygiene practices are followed and maintained by all faculty and staff.

Violations of mandatory COVID-19 health and safety protocols by any member of our community can have widespread negative consequences, including but not limited to health, educational and economic impacts. Department leaders will work in close consultation with Human Resources to address any non-compliance.

Although we expect full cooperation and compliance with all health and safety protocols including testing, and wearing a face covering, we believe it is important to establish a framework to address those situations involving noncompliance.

Health and Safety Protocols  

It is mandatory for all faculty and staff to comply with all Berklee health and safety protocols including:

  • Regular weekly testing as outlined in Keeping our Community Healthy

  • Twice weekly testing for those with approved medical or religious exemption to the vaccination policy

  • Self-monitoring on a daily basis to ensure faculty and staff are not reporting to work if they are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms

  • Wearing of masks at all times while on campus. Community members are responsible for providing their own mask. A limited supply will be available if a mask is misplaced.

  • Complying with any social distancing guidelines if applicable, per state and federal guidelines

  • Proper hygiene and regular hand washing as outlined by the CDC

  • Required COVID vaccination by start of Fall semester 2021 or at the start of employment, unless approved for a medical or religious exemption.

  • Required COVID booster vaccination by mid-February 2022, unless approved for a medical or religious exemption. For those that are not yet eligible for the booster, you will be given a one-month grace period from your date of eligibility to comply.

Staff and faculty are encouraged to be proactive in discussing compliance with the Berklee health and safety protocols with their manager, including any anticipated inability to comply with the protocol requirements. If a staff or faculty member is scheduled to work on campus and demonstrates a pattern of non-compliance with the Berklee COVID safety protocols (e.g. consistent failure to comply with one or more aspects of the protocols), or an isolated egregious disregard for the established protocols, managers, with support from Human Resources, will immediately explore and address the issue with the faculty or staff member. Appropriate corrective action may be administered depending on the severity of the violation.

In determining the proper course of corrective action, the specific facts of each situation will be evaluated. Berklee reserves the right to take any action it deems necessary to address noncompliance with safety protocols and other standards of conduct and is not required to follow any particular order of corrective action. The steps include verbal counseling, written warning, final written warning, immediate unpaid suspension, and in egregious incidents, possible termination of employment. Steps of the corrective action process may be omitted or repeated depending on the frequency, severity, and/or nature of the situation.

The level of corrective action will be determined based on the nature and frequency of occurrence and other underlying factors. For example, reports of noncompliance such as not wearing a mask, if compliant when reminded, or not maintaining required testing cadence may be handled through verbal counseling and education clearly explaining mandatory compliance with these expectations and that further noncompliance may result in corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Repeated, intentional, willful, and/or blatant disregard for safety protocols will be addressed immediately to reduce further unsafe practices in our community. If such willful non-compliance is determined to be contributing to an unsafe workplace, the individual may be placed on an unpaid suspension (with Human Resources approval), until an appropriate response is determined and the individual agrees to and demonstrates compliance with the expectations.

Response Framework for Noncompliance*

First Incident: The individual may be removed from campus until compliance is achieved and may receive a verbal warning.

Second Incident: The individual will be removed from campus and placed on unpaid leave until compliance is achieved and may receive a written warning.

Third Incident: The individual will be removed from campus and placed on unpaid leave until compliance is achieved, may receive a final written warning, and may be subject to additional consequences including suspension and/or involuntary termination of employment.

*Berklee reserves the right to bypass any step in the corrective action process or take any additional steps appropriate based on the nature of the violation and other factors. COVID vaccinations by September 1, 2021, and COVID boosters, effective mid-February, 2022 are a condition of employment.

All documented warnings should clearly reiterate the expectations outlined in the Keeping our Community Healthy plan and other communications. These expectations should include all of the following:

  • Regular testing up to twice weekly through Tufts Medical Center.

  • Self-monitoring on a daily basis to ensure faculty and staff are not reporting to work if they are exhibiting any covid-19 symptoms.

  • Wearing of masks at all times while on campus. Community members are responsible for providing their own mask. A limited supply will be available if a mask is misplaced.

  • Complying with any social distancing guidelines if applicable, per state and federal guidelines.

  • Proper hygiene and regular hand washing as outlined by the CDC.

  • Required COVID vaccination by start of Fall semester 2021 or as of the start of employment, unless approved for a medical or religious exemption.

  • Required COVID booster vaccination by mid-February 2022, unless approved for a medical or religious exemption.

Reporting

If you observe noncompliance with mandatory health and safety protocols, we have established various reporting options. Community members who would like to report unsafe behavior (e.g. a community member not wearing a mask or complying with other safety protocols) may report in any of the following ways:

Reports will be managed on a case by case basis in consultation with Human Resources. Please note, Berklee has limited ability to respond to anonymous reports or those that contain minimal or non-specific information. 

All concerns will be taken very seriously and will be fully explored to the extent possible. Due to privacy regulations and other confidentiality protocols, Berklee is generally unable to share detailed, specific follow-up and resolution outcomes with reporting parties.

Related Policies

1.05 Standards of Conduct

1.06 Request for Accommodation

2.02 Corrective Action

Updated January 2022