Employment Issues

Take home message: There are a range of Federal and State laws that govern the interactions between U-M as an employer and its workforce. Anyone hiring or managing employees, or administering departments, needs to be aware of these rules and comply with them.

U-M Policy and helpful links

  • Many of the compliance requirements associated with employment (both from the perspective of U-M as an employer, and the perspective of individual employees) are summarized in the Staff Handbook and Faculty Handbook. For employees who work in the U-M Health System, see also the UMHS HR Employee Resources page; for UM-Dearborn employees, see also UM-Dearborn HR; and for UM-Flint, see also UM-Flint HR.
  • Staff recruitment, employment and orientation is managed through Recruiting and Employment Services (within Human Resources). This office helps ensure that U-M is compliant with laws relevant to staff recruitment and new hires. The Office of Institutional Equity also supports compliance in recruitment related to equity and diversity issues: see their guidance for use in your employment searches, including the Business & Finance Search Manual, which can be used as a guide for all staff hiring processes.
  • Faculty appointments are supported by Academic HR. See the Provost’s page on faculty appointment guidelines, as well as Academic HR’s page on appointments. For tools relating to faculty recruitment, retention and work climate, see U-M’s ADVANCE program.
  • Federal law requires that U-M complete a Form I-9 for all new employees to validate their identity and work eligibility. Each U-M unit has an I-9 Compliance Officer, who has oversight responsibility for the completion of I‐9 forms in their unit. Employees must complete the first section of the I-9 on their first day (or before they begin employment), then their employer must see documentation to verify identity and eligibility to work in the U.S. and complete the I-9 by no later than 3 days after hire: see HR’s I-9 Guidelines: When/how is the I-9 completed. Anyone involved in processing I-9 forms should review the I-9 Compliance Training Tutorial: this practical tutorial includes the kinds of identification that need to be seen, and samples of correctly completed forms for different scenarios.
  • E-Verify: Faculty, staff and temporary employees that are paid, in whole or in part, from Federal contract funds are required to have their identity and work eligibility confirmed via the E-Verify system. Federal regulations establish specific time periods for completion of this process: see the U-M E-Verify web page for more information.
  • For foreign nationals, additional documentation may be required to verify their work eligibility: see the Faculty & Staff page under our International & Immigration section.
  • Federal exclusion lists: Some employees may need to be screened against certain exclusion lists, maintained by various Federal departments and law enforcement agencies to prevent inappropriate people and entities from working on Federally funded programs or projects. Contact the Office of the General Counsel for more information.
  • Compensation practices at U-M are managed and monitored by the Compensation & Classification Office (within Human Resources) for staff, and the Provost’s Office for faculty. There are numerous SPGs related to compensation, work schedules and leave/absences: for staff, they are collated under this compensation policies page and for faculty, they are collated in the Faculty Handbook.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): The FLSA sets up certain requirements for employers, including those related to minimum wage and overtime pay. All positions at U-M are either “exempt” (not entitled to overtime) or “non-exempt” (entitled to overtime) – if you are paid monthly, you are exempt; if you are paid biweekly, you are non-exempt. Non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a work week. See HR’s FAQs on overtime and the FLSA, and the Wage Schedules for further FLSA requirements.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The FMLA is designed to assist employees in balancing work and family life, and establishes minimum requirements for permissible absences from work on the basis of certain events. See the FMLA Training Tutorial; in particular, the tutorial includes a summary of departmental & supervisor responsibilities and employee responsibilities for ensuring compliance with FMLA, and decision making flowcharts to help determine the proper use of paid and unpaid time off and FMLA eligibility.
  • Anti-discrimination laws, equity and diversity requirements, and the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to the selection and hiring of employees, as well as the treatment of employees throughout the course of their employment – and at the conclusion of their employment. See our Equity and Diversity compliance page, or go directly to the Office of Institutional Equity for more information.
  • Work climate and retention: The Human Resources website provides a lot of tools for building a healthy work climate within your department. See also the U-M Retention Toolkit, with guidance for keeping staff and faculty engaged and committed to continuing their careers at U-M (both from a manager’s perspective and the employee’s perspective).
  • Occupational health and safety at U-M is coordinated by the U-M Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) Department; injury and illness assistance is coordinated by Work Connections. See our separate compliance page on OSEH for details.
  • Payroll is handled by the U-M Payroll Office, who also oversee U-M’s compliance with the fiscal and regulatory obligations associated with paying employees and removing taxes. See our Tax & Financial section for information on finance compliance issues.
  • Benefits: Employee benefits, such as health plans, are coordinated by the U-M Benefits Office (within Human Resources). The Benefits Office has an obligation to keep information about the health and health plans of all employees confidential under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For more information and U-M’s statutory privacy notifications, see the Benefits Office HIPAA page, as well as the separate compliance page on Health Information Privacy & Security.
  • Work/life balance: The Work/Life Resource Center offers a wide variety of services to help integrate your personal life and your work life, including information about child care, elder care, and flexible work arrangements. For faculty, see the Provost’s Family Friendly page.
  • Employee records: U-M holds a range of information about its employees, which must be managed appropriately and in accordance with privacy requirements. See the Privacy & Confidentiality compliance page for more information.
  • If there is cause to consider disciplinary action against an employee, or to consider terminating employment, it is critical that the proper policies and processes are complied with, to ensure any disciplinary outcomes (including termination) are lawfully carried out. For staff, other than those represented by a bargaining unit, the Standard Practice Guide on Discipline (Performance and Conduct Standards) (SPG 201.12) applies – see the Staff Handbook section on disciplinary action section for further explanation. For staff under collective bargaining agreements, please refer to the terms of your agreement for details about disciplinary mechanisms. For faculty, dismissal and demotion is governed by Section 5.09 of the Regents’ Bylaws: Procedures in Cases of Dismissal, Demotion, or Terminal Appointment. See also the Faculty Handbook for additional information.
  • Combating Trafficking in Persons: U-M and the United States Government prohibit trafficking in persons, procurements of a commercial sex act, or the use of forced labor in the performance of a federal award.(See, e.g., 22 U.S.C. Chapter 78, Executive Order 13627, and FAR 52.222-50). U-M employees, subcontractors, or agents who violate this prohibition may be subject to U-M penalties, including, but not limited to, reduction in benefits or termination of employment. In addition, U-M will inform, when required, an appropriate Federal officer and agency Inspector General immediately of (i) Any credible information it receives from any source that alleges that a U-M employee, subcontractor, subcontractor employee, or agent has engaged in conduct that violates this prohibition; and (ii) Any actions taken against a U-M employee, subcontractor, subcontractor employee, or agent in response to such a violation.

Things to remember

  • The Staff Handbook and Faculty Handbook are good starting points for finding compliance requirements and policies related to employment.
  • The I-9 form completed by every employee is a requirement of federal law. Failure to meet this requirement, including timeliness and accuracy of completion, could result in fines and penalties to U-M. Anyone involved in processing I-9 forms should review the online I-9 Compliance Training Tutorial frequently.
  • E-Verify is required of faculty, staff and temporary employees that are paid, in whole or in part, from federal contract funds. Failure to complete the E-Verify process can result in loss of federal contract funding to U-M.
  • Every U-M unit has an HR liaison, who is a good point of contact for any employment compliance questions you might have: see the Unit Liaison List (HRMS column) maintained by Michigan Information Technology Services (ITS) .
  • For managers and supervisors who need to handle a range of employment related compliance issues, the HR Managers’ Toolkit collates many links, resources and tutorials.
  • You can find a wealth of U-M demographics and human resources data through the Human Capital Report.

People to talk to

For advice or support related to employment compliance issues, you may wish to start by contacting the HR liaison within your unit (and on the Flint and Dearborn campuses). Find your liaison using the Unit Liaison List (HR liaisons are listed in the “HRMS” column). See also the Academic HR school/college contacts, for faculty and graduate student employment issues.

For staff with general employment questions, you can also contact University Human Resources – find the service area most applicable to your query by browsing the HR Service Areas. You can also call HR on (734) 763-1284 or email them, to get help finding the right person to speak to.

For faculty and graduate students (GSIs, GSRAs, GSSAs) with general employment questions, you can also contact Academic HR – their contacts page includes specific liaisons for each U-M school and college, as well as the Flint and Dearborn campuses. You can also call Academic HR on (734) 763-8938 to get help finding the right person to speak to.

For U-M Health System employees, you can also contact UMHS HR – call (734) 647-2385, or see their contact us page for more options.

For UM-Dearborn employees, you can also contact UM-Dearborn HR – call (313) 593-5190 or see the Dearborn HR Directory for contacts.

For UM-Flint employees, you can also contact UM-Flint HR – call (810) 762-3150, email them, or see the Flint HR Directory for contacts.

For questions about I-9 compliance, contact the I-9 Compliance Officer within your local unit. If you are unsure who your unit’s I-9 Compliance Officer is, contact David Day in University HR at (734) 763‐2387.

For questions about E-Verify compliance, contact your HR Unit Liaison or David Day in University HR at (734) 763‐2387.

For legal assistance or advice relating to employment law issues, contact Dave Masson (for staff issues) or Christine Gerdes (for faculty issues, nurses and house officers) or Donica Varner (for non-bargained for health system staff issues or I-9 compliance questions) or Kara Morgenstern(for benefits questions) in the Office of the General Counsel.


Established 3/4/11, last updated 3/1/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated