The Importance of Employee Compliance Training at UCF
Higher education institutions play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our society by providing knowledge and skills to students, working professionals, and through groundbreaking research. However, behind the scenes, a dedicated workforce of faculty and staff work to ensure the smooth functioning of our institutions. To maintain academic excellence and adhere to legal and ethical standards, employee compliance training is of paramount importance. In this article, we will explore the reasons why compliance training is vital to contributing to UCF’s mission and daily operations.
Legal and Ethical Responsibilities
UCF is subject to a large volume of laws and regulations at federal, state, and local levels. Compliance training ensures that employees are well-versed in these legal requirements, reducing the risk of noncompliance and unintentional violations. By educating employees about our ethical and legal obligations, we can avoid costly fines and legal consequences. The UCF Code of Conduct training and annual refresher training provides an overview of the various requirements and highlights many of the laws, regulations, UCF policies, and ethical standards that employees are expected to follow. These courses are required and serve as a resource for employees when faced with questions or ethical dilemmas.
As employees of the state of Florida, UCF employees are subject to Florida Statutes Chapter 112, part III Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, also referred to as the state ethics laws. These laws are intended to ensure that we conduct ourselves independently and impartially, and do not use our public position for private gain. UCF expects all of us to be familiar with the requirements in the state ethics laws and to refrain from engaging in any activity that creates a conflict of interest or a bias in decision-making, or that gives the appearance of a conflict or bias. Training on this topic, offered by University Compliance and Ethics and available in Workday, provides an overview of the state’s ethics laws, assists employees with identifying prohibited actions or conduct, and communicates the reporting and disclosure requirements of the state and university. This training is required to be completed by all newly hired employees within the first 30 days of employment and is available and promoted to current employees on a regular basis.
Protection Against Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment
Ensuring a welcoming campus environment is a top priority for UCF. Compliance training empowers employees to recognize, prevent, and respond to unlawful discrimination and harassment. By fostering a culture of respect, institutions can create a more welcoming environment for students, employees, and visitors. The Office of Institutional Equity is responsible for administering this online training. As required by applicable laws, regulations, and university policies, this course provides employees with information, resources, and rights and obligations of UCF employees on unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Topics covered include unlawful discrimination and discriminatory harassment, the Americans with Disabilities Act and accommodations, interpersonal violence, amorous relationships, retaliation, and reporting duties. This training, UCF Actions to Prevent and Correct Discrimination, is available in Workday, required to be completed by all newly hired employees within the first week of employment, and is available and promoted to all current employees on a regular basis.
Data Security and Privacy
At UCF, a vast amount of sensitive information is handled by employees, from student records to financial data. Training helps employees understand the importance of safeguarding this information and complying with data privacy laws, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This knowledge is critical in preventing data breaches and safeguarding restricted and sensitive information. Information Security Awareness Training is an online course administered by the Information Security Office and promotes the secure and responsible use of the university’s network. Training helps employees become more skilled at detecting social engineering attacks, learn how to secure their data, and implement security best practices. This course is required to be completed by all newly hired employees within the first 30 days of employment and annually thereafter. FERPA training is designed to provide important information on the FERPA regulation. This is a United States federal law that protects student records privacy review and disclosure rights. The law guarantees these rights for both current and former UCF students. FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. The course is administered by the University Registrar and is required to be completed by newly hired employees within the first week of employment. It must be completed every two years by employees with access to student records to remain in compliance with the federal law. Both of these trainings are available in Workday.
UCF manages a significant budget and many funding sources. Compliance training educates employees about fiscal responsibility, procurement rules, and the appropriate use of the university’s resources. This knowledge helps prevent financial mismanagement, fraud, and the misuse of resources, and contributes to ensuring UCF’s financial stability. In Workday, University Audit offers fraud training that focuses on fraud prevention and awareness across UCF. Completion of this course prepares employees to recognize potential fraud and determine what actions should be taken when these situations are identified. This training is required for all newly hired employees within the first week of employment and is mandatory for current employees who are engaged in the following scenarios: when employees within a specific college, department, and/or unit are identified as primary contacts for an upcoming audit, when the results of an investigation related to a specific college, department, and/or unit indicate that this training course would be beneficial. The course is also promoted on a regular basis to all other current employees who do not meet the indicated scenarios.
In the complex and highly regulated environment of higher education, employee compliance training is not merely a legal obligation but a fundamental necessity. It safeguards UCF’s reputation, ensures compliance, and promotes a safe and inclusive learning environment. By providing a comprehensive compliance training program, UCF demonstrates its commitment to excellence and responsibility, ultimately benefiting students, employees, and the broader community.