Frequently Asked Questions - Guide to Managing Human Resources

Guide to Managing Human Resources

This page is a list of all frequently asked questions for the Guide to Managing Human Resources section. The questions are grouped into different categories. Please click on the appropriate topic to view questions and answers for that section.

Chapter 1: Employment (Student Assistant Series)

Are student employees covered by limited appointment provisions?

Student employees who hold casual-restricted appointments are excluded from the provisions for limited appointments.

Where do I go for questions about getting students on payroll, student benefits, and/or student terminations?

Please refer these types of questions to your Departmental HR Manager, departmental benefits counselor, or departmental HR assistant.

Can a student work over 20 hours per week during the academic year in these positions?

Graduate students are not allowed to work over half-time per week on average over the period of the term, unless a waiver is granted by the Graduate Division.

Campus Jobs: Undergraduate students are allowed to work over half-time per week on average over the period of the term. However, departments should remember that student's primary obligation is to their studies and the number of working hours should take into consideration the student's academic workload.

Work-Study: There is no restriction per federal or state guidelines. However, employers should be aware that students may accrue eligibility for benefits when working at half-time or better during any given payroll period. These benefits must be paid from employer funds only.

How do I post a job listing? Where do I send the listing?

Campus Jobs: Student campus jobs are listed on the Career Center's website via Handshake, the on- and off-campus jobs resource for all UC Berkeley students. Review the Guidelines for UC Berkeley Campus Employers for Handshake registration and job posting information. For any questions, contact the Career Center at 642-0464 or

Work-Study Campus Jobs: Job requests may be posted online. Go to the Work-Study website and follow the instructions to obtain an employer ID and password. Jobs may be listed, modified or purged at your convenience. For questions, contact the Work-Study Office at 642-5625.

Who is eligible for Student Assistant series jobs?

Student jobs are restricted to UC Berkeley students who are registered for the current academic semester, or in the grace period immediately before or after academic semester registration (grace period defined as a semester or summer, whichever is before or after the period of enrollment).

How do I find out what comparable rates of pay exist for similar student jobs elsewhere on campus?

The normal hiring salary is within the range for comparable staff work, and normally the entry salary is at the lower end of that range, unless there are unusual skills, knowledge, ability, or experience that supports a higher level. If there are no comparable campus positions, contact your departmental compensation consultant.

How do I get a new position classified into the correct level?

Students should be placed in an appropriate Student Assistant level based upon the nature of the work, level of assignment, and complexity of the work performed. The four Student Assistant levels have been previously mapped to staff titles based on these criteria. Look up the title that most closely fits the nature of the student's work and find the comparable Student Assistant level. If the nature of the student's work does not fit any of the titles that have been mapped, call Human Resources Compensation Unit (642-2799) for assistance.

What do I use for a job title?

Campus Jobs: Please use the appropriate Student Assistant series level title for all official paperwork purposes. (e.g.- use "Assistant I" rather than Clerk, "Assistant II" rather than Senior Clerk/Secretary, "Assistant III" rather than Resident Advisor). You can also use a working title to help advertise for the position opening and to describe the position to applicants if the working title is more descriptive of the work.

Work Study Jobs: In the case of a student continuing employment from a previous period, refer to the former working title. Use the "Assistant I, II, III, or IV" title that is appropriate. In the case of a new student, use the same working position title as was used when hiring students in previous similar employment. Again, find the appropriate "Assistant I, II, III, or IV" title at the above website.

What is the purpose of the Student Assistant series?

The Student Assistant series is intended to provide a simple mechanism for campus departments to employ students, considering the unique working conditions of students and their purpose and intent in relation to employment on the campus. It also allows the campus to more easily distinguish students from career and limited-term support staff, since the titles and title codes for students are not used by other staff employees; conversely, all students should be placed in these three titles and not in any other staff title.

The three-level Student Assistant series has broad salary ranges which are intended to give departments great flexibility in setting their student employees' salaries and minimizes the administrative burdens of student employment. The appointment type is "casual-restricted" which is used only for UC Berkeley students. "Casual-restricted" employees are not represented by a bargaining unit, but are covered by the Personnel Policies for Staff Members.

Chapter 2: Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action

Is there really any difference between goals and quotas?

Yes. Quotas are rigid and exclusionary; they imply, "This is what you must achieve, no matter what." Goals are flexible and inclusive; they imply, "This is what we think you can achieve if you try your best." Goals are simply program objectives translated into numbers. They provide a target to strive for and a vehicle for measuring progress. The campus does not use quotas, but sets goals for those job groups where underutilization of minorities and women is identified.

Are employers expected to hire the less qualified over the more qualified to meet affirmative action goals?

Employers are not expected to establish any hiring practices that conflict with the principles of sound personnel management. No one should be hired unless there is a basis for believing the individual is the best-qualified candidate. In fact, affirmative action calls for the hiring of qualified people. "The goal of any affirmative action plan should be achievement of genuine equal employment opportunity for all qualified persons." (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 41, Part 60-3.17.4)

Is affirmative action reverse discrimination?

No. Affirmative action policies provide equal opportunity to those groups which have been systematically denied it. Affirmative action is not the source of discrimination, but the vehicle for removing the effects of discrimination. A recent Labor Department report found fewer than 100 reverse discrimination cases among more than 3,000 discrimination cases between 1990 and 1994. Discrimination was established in only 6 of the 100 cases or .02% of the total number of discrimination cases in this period. The report found "many of the [reverse discrimination] cases were the result of a disappointed applicant...erroneously assuming that when a woman or person of color got the job, it was because of sex or race, not qualifications." (S.F. Chronicle, 3/31/95)

Haven't Proposition 209 and the Regents' Resolution SP-2 eliminated affirmative action?

No. As a federal contractor, and under the terms of SP-2 and Proposition 209, the University must comply with federal laws and regulations regarding affirmative action. The University must continue to develop and implement affirmative action plans that identify areas of underutilization of minorities and women. Hiring authorities should demonstrate good faith efforts to eliminate underutilization through actions such as target recruitment to underutilized groups.

Chapter 8: Around the Office

Can employees request a correction or deletion of something in the file?

Employees may request correction or deletion of a record containing information about themselves. Policies and contracts specify method, time frame, and to whom requests should be addressed.

Should we charge the employee for a copy of the file?

You should not charge for the first copy of an employee's own record; a fee of 10 cents per page may be charged for additional copies (no charge for time spent locating or assembling the file).

Where is the file located?

Normally in the Department Personnel Office or the supervisor's office.

How is the file maintained?

Before you place any documentation in a personnel file, have a conversation with the employee. The employee should receive a copy of all material placed in the file.

Who can review personnel files?

The employee or designated representative, the employee's supervisor, a prospective hiring department, Employee Relations and Labor Relations staff and other UC offices with a specific need.

When can employees review their files?

As soon as is practical, but no longer than 30 days after making the request, as described in policy and contracts.

What is a personnel file?

A historical body of information on an employee from date of hire to present, maintained by the person's name or by some identifying number or symbol.

What does not belong in the departmental personnel file?

Anything not directly related to the job, including pre-employment information, reference information, grievances, outside agency complaints, affirmative action/EEO data, credit reports, and garnishments. Workers' Compensation records stay in the file, but should be removed before a file is shown to a potential hiring department.

What belongs in the personnel file? (See Records Disposition Schedules Manual, contracts, and policies for required purge dates)

  • Job related items, including job descriptions, HCM Transaction Notices, where appropriate, and Emergency Data records.
  • Selection records, including application, resume, tests, and offer/acceptance letters.
  • Employee development records, including education updates, classes, degrees, and completed training.
  • Performance records, including performance appraisals, counseling memos, disciplinary letters, commendation letters, and Special Performance or Achievement Awards.
  • Separation records, including resignation letters, termination checklist, and exit interviews.

Chapter 16: Sexual Harassment

What happens when it's one person's word against another's?

These cases are the most difficult to resolve. A thorough investigation is critical.

What conduct may not be sexual harassment?

  • A single unwelcome sexual comment or advance.
  • A supervisor who makes a few mild advances for a few minutes, stops, and apologizes with apparent embarrassment.
  • A small number of minor incidents is less likely to constitute actionable sexual harassment.

What happens to employees found guilty of sexual harassment?

It depends on the seriousness of the incident. The appropriate corrective action may include a strong verbal warning, written warning, transfer, administrative leave, suspension, demotion, firing. Generally, you would take the same types of action taken for other forms of employee misconduct.

What are some examples of sexual harassment?

  • A supervisor makes sexually explicit comments and propositions the employee.
  • A female custodian is subjected to derogatory and vicious jokes, pornographic and demeaning cartoons, and naked photos with her name written on them, posted in public view.
  • A supervisor offers an employee a better job, extra help, or reclassification in return for sexual attention or threatens to take adverse action for refusing.
  • A coworker repeatedly asks an employee out on a date and makes sexually suggestive comments to the employee.

Chapter 21: Working with Union Representatives

May more than one union representative, or a union representative and an attorney, be present with one employee?

No. Normally only one representative is allowed in a meeting between you and the employee. Ask the employee to clarify for you which individual will be the representative before you schedule a meeting.

Who represents you as the supervisor?

In non-grievance meetings with one employee and a representative, your Employee Relations Consultant will be present to represent campus management interests. In grievance meetings, or in meetings with groups of employee and union representatives, a Labor Relations Specialist from Human Resources will represent the University.

Do you have to allow a union representative to be present whenever the employee wants one?

No. For example, a union representative is not appropriate in meetings to give work assignments, coaching sessions, or performance evaluation discussions. However, employees have a right to have a representative present if they reasonably believe that disciplinary action will result from a meeting.