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3790 - Employee Affinity Groups


  • Position: Faculty Secretary
  • Name: Francesca Sammarruca
  • Email:

Last updated: January 01, 2022


A. Policy
B. Groups not recognized
C. Discrimination and harassment prohibited
D. Timekeeping and requests for time off
E. Use of University resources
F. Guidelines
G. Procedure

A. POLICY. An Employee Affinity Group is a voluntary association of employees formed around a shared interest, characteristic, or common goal that aligns with the goals and strategic priorities of the institution. The University of Idaho recognizes that affinity groups have benefits for both the University and its employees, including:

  • Attracting, recruiting, and retaining diverse employees.
  • Promoting diversity, cultural awareness, and an inclusive work environment.
  • Increasing employee job satisfaction, morale, and productivity.
  • Fostering professional development and learning through mentoring, networking, open dialogue, and the exchange of ideas.
  • Assisting the University in achieving its goals and strategic priorities.

In support of these benefits, the University of Idaho may recognize affinity groups that comply with this policy.

B. GROUPS NOT RECOGNIZED. The University of Idaho does not recognize affinity groups:

  • That do not have a legitimate business purpose (for example, groups based on sports, hobbies, or other outside activities unrelated to employment).
  • With a purpose to exclude, divide, or oppose any other employees or affinity groups.
  • With a purpose to represent employees regarding their terms and conditions of employment. Similarly, the University does not accept proposals from recognized affinity groups regarding the terms and conditions of employees’ employment.

C. DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT PROHIBITED. Membership in any affinity group recognized by the University or participation in any of the group’s activities may not be limited based on an employee’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law. Discrimination by an affinity group is prohibited even if one of these protected characteristics is part of the common interest or purpose of the affinity group.

Furthermore, the University does not discriminate in its recognition of any affinity group that otherwise meets this policy’s requirements for the formation of an affinity group on the basis of its members’ protected characteristics or an affinity group’s common interest or purpose that relates to the protected characteristics.

D. TIMEKEEPING AND REQUESTS FOR TIME OFF. Employee attendance at any affinity group meeting or related activity is strictly voluntary. Generally, affinity group meetings and activities should be scheduled outside of regular working hours or during lunch breaks. Employees are not permitted to perform any work for the University of Idaho during affinity group meetings or activities. Time spent at affinity group meetings or activities does not count as hours worked.

E. USE OF UNIVERSITY RESOURCES. Affinity groups recognized by the University are permitted reasonable use of University resources, facilities and technology for official affinity group purposes, such as group meetings, announcements, and communications. These resources include conference rooms, tabling space, and email, subject to University policy.

F. GUIDELINES. University of Idaho Employees who wish to form an Employee Affinity Group must follow these guidelines:

  1. Employee Affinity Groups must be formed voluntarily, and individual employee membership and participation in such groups must be voluntary.
  2. The mission and purpose of an Employee Affinity Group must align with the mission, values, and strategic priorities of the University of Idaho.
  3. All members must be current employees of the University. Individuals who are not current UI employees may participate in group events at the discretion of the Employee Affinity Group.
  4. All activities of an Employee Affinity Group must comply with University policies.

G. PROCEDURE. The following are the procedures for establishing an Employee Affinity Group at the University of Idaho.

G-1. Application. 

a. Identify at least two current employees to serve as the organizers of the Employee Affinity Group.

b. Contact the Chair of the Faculty and Staff Policy Group to obtain the application materials.

c. Develop Employee Affinity Group charter document.

i. The charter document describes the mission, purpose, and objectives of the Employee Affinity Group. The charter also communicates procedural information regarding membership, leadership roles and selection process, meeting and event notices, and the primary activities of the group.

ii. The charter must state that the group adheres to all policies of the University.

iii. The charter must adhere to the guidelines identified in this policy.

d. Submit application and charter to the Faculty and Staff Policy Group. The committee will approve or disapprove the application within 30 days of submission.

G-2. Approval, disapproval, or revocation of recognition. For any Employee Affinity Group to be officially recognized by the University of Idaho, it must be approved by the University of Idaho through the Faculty and Staff Policy Group. The University has the right to disapprove or revoke recognition of any group that violates University policies or procedures or its own charter or that has been inactive for more than one year. The University’s determination is not subject to appeal.

Version History

Adopted January 2022.

Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119