Workplace Essentials


As a co-op or intern student, you are an ambassador of Georgia Tech, and your performance may have an impact on the Institute and the employer. Your behavior may also impact future co-ops or internships.

You are expected to observe Georgia Tech’s Code of Student Conduct on the job, as well as on campus. (See the current Undergraduate Student Handbook for the complete code.) In addition, your conduct on campus—any and all disciplinary actions—may impact your co-op or internship and possibly result in termination. Being fired may very well negatively impact your future career. Your work history follows you into future job interviews and situations. You can be terminated for:

• sleeping on the job
• forging time cards/sheets
• coming to work late or leaving early (not working required hours)
• taking a sick day without calling in
• using the company phone to make personal, long-distance calls
• not following company-wide policies
• surfing the Internet or working on other personal projects during work time
• having an unprofessional attitude
• failing to follow directions of the supervisor

Now that you have considered some behaviors to avoid, let’s consider what the employer will expect from you:

  • Report to work regularly and punctually
    • Notify your supervisor immediately if an emergency causes you to be late or absent
    • Be enthusiastic, positive, and productive — no matter what task you are assigned
    • Abide by work regulations as defined by the employer
    • Dress appropriately for the work environment and according to employer expectations
    • Communicate professionally when answering emails or phone calls
    • Break out of your cubicle and meet people from other departments
    • Seek feedback concerning your job performance
  • Ask questions if unsure about procedures or expectations
    • Contribute fresh ideas and participate in team meetings and projects
    • If you encounter a “slow” time, ask your supervisor if you can take on a new project
    • Conducting yourself appropriately and making a sincere effort to produce high- quality work

Dealing with stressful and uncomfortable situations is part of Experiential Learning. As with every other aspect of experiential learning, the Institute and your career development advisor are here to support and guide you as necessary. We encourage you to make an effort to resolve issues on your own with your immediate supervisor or another manager at the job site. Should you feel uncomfortable discussing a problem with your supervisor, ask your career development advisor for assistance or advice. It is important to address issues as they arise, rather than postpone such a discussion or ignore the problem altogether.

Contact your employer immediately if you must be absent because of illness or emergency. If the absence is for a week or more, also call your career development advisor. If you miss work because of a work-related injury or illness, be sure to formally report the illness or injury to the employer according to the company’s policy.

Occasionally, economic conditions may force employers to terminate your employment before the end of the co-op or internship term. If you are notified of a layoff, contact your career development advisor as soon as possible so that he or she may work with you to secure another job or make other arrangements for the semester.

Discharge or failure to complete a co-op
Employers may discharge (terminate) a co-op or intern student just as they would any other employee for reasons including unsatisfactory performance, incompetence, inability to perform required tasks, irregular attendance or tardiness, and unacceptable attitude or behaviors. Typically, the co-op or intern student’s supervisor will meet with the student to discuss performance issues and try to work with the student to resolve them before termination occurs. If you find yourself in this situation, contact your career development advisor immediately. They will work with you to offer guidance and advice and may also contact the employer for assistance in developing a plan to help you succeed on the job.

There may be extenuating circumstances that result in failure to complete a co-op or internship assignment (i.e., quitting the job). These circumstances may include such things as an unsafe work environment, a lack of relevant/agreed upon work, or health related issues. If you find yourself in a situation like this, contact your career development advisor immediately. You
must make every effort to discuss your situation with your career development advisor who can work with you to develop a strategy for successful completion or a mutually agreed upon separation plan.

Please remember that co-op and internship assignments have been developed for a number of reasons including assisting students with their personal and professional development. The career development advisors work hard to develop positions that deliver learning outcomes that lead to lifelong learning and successful professional careers.
As a Georgia Tech co-op or intern your actions represent yourself, your peers, and Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech does not condone any form of discrimination or harassment toward students, either on or off campus. Although Georgia Tech makes reasonable efforts to ensure that co-op and internship sites are free of discriminatory practices, it is possible that a co-op or intern may experience illegal or unethical behavior in the workplace.


If you experience any kind of harassment or unfair treatment on the basis of race, color, religion, religious creed, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, genetics, disability, or veteran status during a job interview or while employed, contact your career development advisor immediately.

You should contact your career development advisor if you feel you have been retaliated against for exercising certain rights, such as filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment. You will not be penalized in any way for reporting such a situation to the Institute. You may also contact:

Title IX:


The various options available to you include:
• Resolving the problem through discussion with your supervisor or a person in authority at your work site
• Attending a joint meeting with your career development advisor and supervisor to seek a resolution
• Improving the immediate work environment or transferring to another department
• Leaving the co-op or internship position without penalty
• Filing a formal grievance with the co-op or internship employer’s affirmative action office
• Filing a formal grievance with the appropriate state or federal agency.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination and is a serious concern. The law generally recognizes two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile environment. Quid pro quo normally occurs when someone with authority makes submission to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, an
explicit or implicit term, or condition of evaluation, employment, advancement, training, compensation, or opportunity for professional development. Hostile environment involves verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

If you feel that you are a victim of sexual harassment, you should contact your career development advisor immediately.

Possible actions to rectify your situation may be similar to those listed under the retaliation section above.

You may also contact the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, who can advise and/or refer you to the appropriate campus resources. You may reach the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) at 404-894-3959 or

We strongly encourage you to inform your career development advisor of any sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation encountered on the job as soon as predictably possible. Such communication will allow us to better assist you and will provide important information as to whether other students should be referred to that employer.

You may have the same legal protections as regular employees, and students on co-op or internships who experience sexual harassment may also receive Institute support services under the Institute’s Title IX policy. Title IX is a federal law that bans gender discrimination including sexual harassment in certain education programs.

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