Baylor University has ethical and legal responsibilities in the area of protecting the environment. Several state and federal environmental statutes apply to Baylor, including the: Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act; and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
The federal False Claims Act (FCA) "prohibits false or fraudulent claims for payment to the United States," and authorizes civil lawsuits by the Attorney General or by private individuals on behalf of the government. The penalties can include treble damages, and an individual who brings a successful claim is entitled to a portion of the damages collected.
The Office of General Counsel processes H-1B petitions for eligible positions at Baylor University. An H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa status for a foreign national who will perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is one that requires a specialized body of knowledge and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree or its equivalent as a minimum for entry into the occupation. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.
Baylor, as a recipient of federal contract grant dollars, is subject to the affirmative action hiring requirements imposed by Executive Order 11246. That order prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color religion, sex or national origin. It also requires that recipients "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin." These requirements apply to the entire university community regardless of whether a hiring department receives federal grant funding.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in the recruitment, hiring, training, promotion, pay, termination and other privileges of employment regarding qualified individuals with a physical or mental disability. The Act requires an employer, on request of the employee, to provide a reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals in order to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. The accommodations are determined through an interactive process between the employer and employee.
Federal law permits all employees of Baylor, both faculty and staff, to take up to 12 work weeks of job-protected leave time in a 12 month period for certain qualifying events under the FMLA, and up to 26 work weeks for certain military exigencies for immediate family members. While the FMLA provides that the leave may be uncompensated, under Baylor policy, the leave may be compensated depending on an individual's unused leave time (vacation, personal and sick) and available shared sick leave.
Baylor University frequently has employees who for one reason or another, are required to leave the Waco area. Other times, a job opening with a specific set of requirements may only be filled by someone who resides outside of Texas. While Baylor University can, in limited circumstances, hire (or continue to employ) staff who reside and work from outside Texas, there are a number of factors which complicate such hires.
Baylor University plays host to a number of events and facilities on its campus at which minors are present. University employees who obtain knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect are legally required to report it immediately to: (1) local or state law enforcement or (2)the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
One may think Baylor has little in common with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). However, both organizations have a organizational culture, some of which can affect the decision-making process, the topic of this Brief. Some of NASA's decision-making gave birth to the term "Go Fever"- pursuing a goal while downplaying, or even avoiding (ignoring), potential problems or risks. Go Fever can be the genesis of a legal argument that decisions made by an institution (and the individuals involved) are unreasonable or maybe even reckless.
As an educational institution, Baylor's property is exempt from state property tax, but only so long as the use of the property is exclusively for educational purposes. Use of Baylor property for activities that do not advance Baylor's educational mission creates a risk that Baylor's property tax exemption could be lost, and the nature of the activity could be inconsistent with Baylor's exemption from income tax.