Skip to main content

In addition to the UNC Postdoctoral Scholar Policies, here are additional university policies that apply to Postdoctoral Scholars.

Section I: Conflicts of Interest and Commitment
Section II: Minors in Laboratories
Section III: Non-Discrimination
Section IV: Personal Use Policy
Section V: Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination
Section VI: Violence in the Workplace
Section VII: IT Policies
Section VIII: FICA Tax Exemption

CONFlicts of interest and commitment

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Policy on Individual Conflicts of Interest and Commitment requires every Postdoc participating in sponsored research or human subjects studies to complete a project-specific questionnaire identifying any financial relationships or other interests related to each research project.

Consistent with the University’s research, teaching, and public service mission, the University encourages faculty, staff, and students to engage in appropriate outside relationships with private industry and the nonprofit sector. But Members of the University community are expected to avoid conflicts of interest or commitment that have the potential to directly and significantly affect the University’s interests, compromise objectivity in carrying out University responsibilities, or otherwise compromise performance of University responsibilities, unless such conflicts are reported, reviewed, and managed in accordance with this Policy. This Policy on Individual Conflicts of Interest and Commitment describes the University’s approach and process for identifying, reviewing, and managing such relationships to help assure the integrity of University academic and administrative endeavors.

For more information on the Conflict of Interest Policies for Individuals and the Institution, visit

If you have questions or issues related to these policies, contact:

Joy Bryde, Conflict of Interest Officer
Tel. 919-843-5328

Juliann Tenney, Institutional Research Compliance and Privacy Officer
Tel. 919-843-8988

MINORS in laboratories policy

The concern of UNC-Chapel Hill (“University”) for laboratory safety extends not only to employees but also to any persons visiting University laboratories, especially high school students and minors under the age of 18, who may potentially be exposed to hazardous materials. Laboratories are common sources of thermal dangers, compressed gases, electrical hazards, chemical, biological, and radioactive materials, lasers, and sharp objects.

Children under the age of 12

Laboratories must never be utilized as a substitute for day care or other childcare options due to the risk presented to a child’s developing immune/neurological systems and a child’s general inability to recognize hazards. No one under the age of 12 is permitted in University laboratories. This includes instances when an employee office is inside a laboratory space.

Visitors Ages 12 to 18

Non-University students between the ages of 12 and 18 who are passing through or touring a laboratory must be under the direct supervision of a University employee who is trained and knowledgeable of the area’s hazards. Persons between the ages of 12 and 18 may be present in laboratories solely as observers (unless the person is (a) a University student who has received the necessary training, or (b) a high school student who has met the High School Laboratory Worker requirements below) as part of officially sanctioned educational programs for high school or college students or other supervised educational activities that have been approved in writing in advance by the Department Chair or designee. No minor (unless the minor is a University student who has received the necessary training) shall be present during any activity with the potential for exposure to hazardous materials. Prior to allowing high school students or minor visitors to tour or observe in a lab, the supervising employee must conduct a basic safety orientation, including both general safety information and any hazards particular to the lab in question.

High School Laboratory Workers Ages of 15 and Above

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing educational opportunities, when they arise, to high school students participating in officially sanctioned educational programs. Principal Investigators are allowed to have high-school students (9th grade and above) perform work in a laboratory. However, high school students may not perform duties in which they are required to directly handle radioactive materials, materials at biosafety level 2 or higher (including rDNA, human blood, tissues or cell cultures, or pathogens) or research animals. High school students ages 15 and older may handle lower risk chemicals in limited circumstances, with proper safety equipment as necessary, in the discretion of the principal investigator.

Before a high school student may participate in educational activities in a laboratory:

  • The student must be sponsored by a faculty member;
  • The sponsoring faculty member must complete the “High School Student (Minor) Laboratory Worker Consent Form“, describing the work the student will perform and obtaining signatures from the principal investigator, department chair, direct supervisor of the student, and a representative of EHS. The completed form is kept on file with the PI’s Laboratory Safety Plan and with PI records and EHS.
  • The student and his/her parents or guardian must sign, before a witness or witnesses, the Student (Minor) Agreement and Release and Consent for Emergency Medical Treatment. The form is also kept on file with the PI’s Laboratory Safety Plan, with PI records, and EHS. One copy of the signed form must be readily available in an emergency when the student is ill or injured so medical personnel may be shown the student’s medical treatment consent
  • The form must be completed with signatures and submitted to EHS at least one month prior to the start date indicated on the form.
  • The high school student or minor completes the online Laboratory Worker Registration Form.
  • The high school student or minor completes the following training:
  • High school students and minors must be under direct supervision in the laboratory at all times by a trained and knowledgeable University employee.

Please visit EHS’s website for more information on University Laboratory Policies:

Non-discrimination policy

The University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensuring that educational and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications. Consistent with this principle and applicable laws, it is therefore the University’s policy not to discriminate in offering access to its educational programs and activities or with respect to employment terms and conditions on the basis of age, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status or sexual orientation. Information and assistance regarding this policy are available from the Equal Opportunity Office by calling 919-966-3576.

The Non-Discrimination Policy can be found at

Contact Information:
Ann E. Penn, EEO/ADA Officer
Equal Opportunity/ADA Office
Tel. 919-966-3576
Fax 919-962-2562

personal use policy

The University deals constantly with the public’s perception of how we conduct the business of the University. All University employees must be constantly mindful of the public trust that we discharge, of the necessity for conducting ourselves with the highest ethical principles, and should avoid any action that may be viewed as a violation of the public trust. As custodians of resources entrusted to us by the public, government entities, and private donors, we should always be mindful of how we utilize these resources. As members of a campus community, we should also be mindful of our responsibility to act so that others are not deprived of access to these same resources as they perform their duties. These resources include, but are not limited to, employee’s time, facilities, supplies, and equipment, such as telephones, fax machines, and computers.

To learn specifics on how this applies to you, see the Personal Use Policy at:

prohibited harassment and discrimination policy

The University has had long-standing policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination. The University recently updated the policies to be more inclusive and to incorporate information about sexual, racial, and unlawful workplace harassment and non-discrimination into one comprehensive policy, the Policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination. The University’s existing Policy Statement on Non-Discrimination supplements this revised policy.

The Equal Opportunity Office has primary oversight of this policy and the related procedures. You can always contact the Equal Opportunity Office (919-966-3576) with questions or concerns.

You can also direct questions or concerns to the University Ombuds Office (919-843-8204), the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (919-962-9982), the Office of the Associate Provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (919-962-6962), or the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center (919-843-5376).

As a reminder, the University can guarantee complete confidentiality only when an employee shares a concern with the University Ombuds Office (919-843-8204) that does not involve an imminent risk of serious harm.

The University policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination

violence in the workplace

The University is committed to provide a workplace that is free from violence by establishing preventative measures, by holding perpetrators of violence accountable, and by providing assistance and support to victims. An Employee Threat Assessment and Response Team has been established to evaluate both immediate and potential threats of workplace violence. Any form of violence as defined in this policy may be cause for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, as unacceptable personal conduct. Violent acts, whether on-duty or off-duty, affect the ability of all employees to perform their jobs. The University will apply all useful management tools to accomplish the dual purpose of reducing the effects of violence on victims and the University community as well as hold perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions. Employee & Management Relations, UNC Public Safety, and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) have been designated to provide services to workplace violence victims.

The university violence in the workplace policy can be found at

Contact Information:
Employee & Management Relations
Tel. 919-843-3444
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
Tel. 919-962-9982

it policies

UNC-CH collects and maintains large amounts of sensitive data. With that comes an obligation to protect the data. To strengthen security in University’s systems and sensetive data, UNC has in place eight information security policies, including the Information Security Policy and the Transmission of Protected Health Information and Personal Identifying Information Policy. Please educate yourself on the University policies relevant to you and your work at UNC.

You can access the policies by clicking this link:

fica tax exemptions

Postdoctoral Scholars who are categorized as code 27 are exempt from the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA). Completion of the “Certification of Non-Service Requirements of Scholarship/Fellowship for Social Security Withholding Purposes” form certifies that the postdoctoral fellow/trainee meets the criteria for FICA tax exemption. The form can be accessed at

Postdoctoral Scholars categorized as code 28 are not exempt from FICA.

For more information on FICA exemptions, please see the Finance policy’s webpage: