CONDUCT AND BEHAVIOR
General Conduct Guidelines
Orderly and efficient operation of the Company requires that employees maintain proper standards of conduct and observe certain procedures. These guidelines are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be all-inclusive. Nothing herein is intended or shall be construed to change or replace, in any manner, the "at-will" employment relationship between the Company and the employee. Nothing herein is intended to infringe upon employee rights under Section Seven (7) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Company views the following as inappropriate behavior:
- Negligence, carelessness or inconsiderate treatment of Company clients and/or their matters/files.
- Theft, misappropriation or unauthorized possession or use of property, documents, records or funds belonging to the Company, or any client or employee; removal of same from Company premises without authorization.
- Divulging trade secrets or other confidential business information to any unauthorized person(s) or to others without an official need to know.
- Obtaining unauthorized confidential information pertaining to clients or employees.
- Changing or falsifying client records, Company records, personnel or pay records, including time sheets without authorization.
- Willfully or carelessly damaging, defacing or mishandling property of a client, the Company or other employees.
- Taking or giving bribes of any nature, or anything of value, as an inducement to obtain special treatment, to provide confidential information or to obtain a position. Acceptance of any gratuities or gifts must be reported to a supervisor or manager.
- Entering Company premises without authorization.
- Willfully or carelessly violating security, safety, or fire prevention equipment or regulations.
- Unauthorized use of a personal vehicle for Company business.
- Illegal conduct, creating a disturbance on Company premises or creating discord with clients.
- Use of abusive language.
- Any rude, discourteous or un-businesslike behavior, on or off Company premises, which is not protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and which adversely affects the Company services, operations, property, reputation or goodwill in the community or interferes with work.
- Insubordination or refusing to follow instructions from a supervisor or manager; refusal or unwillingness to accept a job assignment or to perform job requirements.
- Failure to observe scheduled work hours, failure to contact a supervisor or manager in the event of illness or any absence within thirty (30) minutes of the scheduled start of work; failure to report to work when scheduled; unauthorized or excessive use of sick leave or any other leave of absence.
- Leaving the office during scheduled work hours without permission; unauthorized absence from assigned work area during regularly scheduled work hours.
- Sleeping or loitering during regular working hours.
- Recording time for another employee or having time recorded to or by another employee.
- Use or possession of intoxicating beverages or illegal use or possession of narcotics, marijuana or drugs (under state, federal or local laws), on Company premises during working hours or reporting to work under the influence of intoxicants or drugs so as to interfere with job performance, or having any detectable amounts of drugs in an employee’s system.
- Unauthorized possession of a weapon on Company premises.
- Illegal gambling on Company premises.
- Soliciting, collecting money, vending, and posting or distributing bills or pamphlets on Company property. These activities are closely controlled in order to prevent disruption of Company services and to avoid unauthorized implication of Company sponsorship or approval. However, this general rule is not intended to hinder or in any way curtail the rights of free speech or free expression of ideas. Therefore, such activity by employees during non-working time, including meal and rest periods, is not restricted so long as such activity does not interfere with the orderly and regular conduct of the Company business, is lawful, in good taste, conducted in an orderly manner, and does not create safety hazards or violate general good housekeeping practices. Any person who is not an employee of the Company is prohibited from any and all forms of solicitation, collecting money, vending, and posting or distributing bills or pamphlets on Company property at all times.
- Falsification of one's employment application, medical or employment history.
Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment
Sexual harassment and unlawful harassment are prohibited behavior and against Company policy. The Company is committed to providing a work environment free of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior, intimidation, communications and other conduct directed at an individual because of their sex, including conduct that may be defined as sexual harassment.
Applicable federal and state law defines sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (1) submission of the conduct is made a term or condition of employment; or (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employees work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. The following list contains examples of prohibited conduct. They include, but are not limited to:
- Unwanted sexual advances;
- Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors;
- Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances;
- Visual conduct such as leering, making sexual gestures, or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, or posters;
- Verbal conduct such as making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, sexually explicit jokes, or comments about any employee’s body or dress;
- Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentary about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words to describe an individual, or suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations;
- Physical conduct such as touching, assault, or impeding and/or blocking movements;
- Retaliation for reporting harassment or threatening to report harassment.
- Sexual harassment on the job is unlawful whether it involves coworker harassment, harassment by a manager, or harassment by persons doing business with or for the Company, such as clients, customers or vendors.
Other Types of Harassment
Prohibited harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, veteran status, age, or any other basis protected under local, state or federal law, includes behavior similar to sexual harassment, such as:
- Verbal conduct such as threats, epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs;
- Visual conduct such as derogatory posters, photographs, cartoons, drawings, or gestures;
- Physical conduct such as assault, unwanted touching, or blocking normal movement;
- Retaliation for reporting harassment or threatening to report harassment.
It is against company policy and unlawful to retaliate in any way against anyone who has lodged a harassment complaint, has expressed a concern about harassment, including sexual harassment, or has cooperated in a harassment investigation. Therefore, the initiation of a complaint, in good faith, shall not under any circumstances be grounds for disciplinary action. However, individuals who make complaints that are demonstrated to be intentionally false may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
All managers and supervisors are responsible for:
- Implementing the Company policy on harassment, which includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment and retaliation;
- Ensuring that all employees they supervise have knowledge of and understand the Company policy;
- Taking and/or assisting in prompt and appropriate corrective action when necessary to ensure compliance with the policy; and;
- Conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the policy.
Harassment Complaint Procedure
The Company’s complaint procedure provides for an immediate, thorough and objective investigation of any claim of unlawful or prohibited harassment, appropriate disciplinary action against one found to have engaged in prohibited harassment, and appropriate remedies for any victim of harassment. A claim of harassment may exist even if the employee has not lost a job or some economic benefit.
Anyone who has been subjected to the conduct prohibited under this policy, or who has knowledge of such conduct, should report this information following the normal Complaint Procedure as soon as possible. However, employees are not required to report any prohibited conduct to a superior who may be hostile, who has engaged in such conduct, who is a close associate of the person who has engaged in the conduct in question or with whom the associate is uncomfortable discussing such matters. Complaints regarding harassment or retaliation may be oral or in writing. Any individual who makes a complaint that is demonstrated to be intentionally false, may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
All reported incidents of prohibited harassment will be promptly investigated. When the investigation is complete, a determination regarding the reported harassment will be made and communicated to the employee who complained and to the accused harasser. During the investigation, confidentiality will be preserved to the fullest extent possible without compromising the Company’s ability to conduct a good faith and thorough investigation.
If the Company determines that prohibited harassment has occurred, the Company will take effective remedial action commensurate with the circumstances. Appropriate action will also be taken to deter any future harassment. If a complaint of prohibited harassment is substantiated, appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including discharge, will be taken.
The Company recognizes that actions that were not intended to be offensive may be taken as such. An employee who believes that they have been subjected to sexual harassment by anyone is encouraged, but not required, to promptly tell the person that the conduct is unwelcome and ask the person to immediately stop the conduct. A person who receives such a request must summarily comply with it and must not retaliate against the employee for rejecting the conduct. The Company encourages, but does not require, individuals to take this step before utilizing the above Complaint Procedure.
In addition to the Company’s anti-harassment policy, the Company believes it necessary to delineate a policy regarding workplace bullying, as such bullying has numerous negative effects on both individual employees and the Company as a whole. Workplace bullying may cause the loss of trained and talented employees, reduce productivity and morale, and create legal risks. The Company believes all employees should be able to work in an environment free of bullying and abusive conduct.
Workplace bullying refers to repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or a group of employees), which are intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate or undermine; or which create a risk to the health or safety of the employee(s). Some examples of workplace bullying include repeated acts such as:
- Unwarranted or invalid criticism
- Blame without factual justification
- Being treated differently than the rest of the employees in a work group
- Being the target of cussing or disrespectful language
- Exclusion or social isolation
- Being the target of shouting or other behavior intended to humiliate the employee
- Excessive “prank” jokes or teasing of an employee
The Company considers workplace bullying unacceptable and will not tolerate it under any circumstances. Supervisors and managers are to assume the responsibility to ensure employees are not bullied. Any employee who bullies a co-worker will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
The Company encourages all employees to report workplace bullying to a supervisor or manager with whom employees are comfortable speaking, or directly to their supervisor, manager or designee. All complaints of workplace bullying will be treated seriously and investigated promptly. In the investigation process, the Company will attempt to maintain confidentiality to the fullest extent possible.
It is a violation of Company policy to retaliate or otherwise victimize an employee who makes a complaint or a witness who serves in the investigation of the workplace bullying allegation.
The Company subscribes to the open door policy. Employees may bring a particular complaint to their supervisor or manager for resolution. When matters cannot be handled on an informal basis, the Company has established a formal procedure for a fair review of any work related controversy, dispute or misunderstanding. A complaint may be brought by one or more employees concerning any work-related problem where the complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved in an informal manner.
The complaint must be submitted in writing to a supervisor, manager or designee within three (3) working days of the incident. A written request for a meeting must be submitted simultaneously. Generally, a meeting will be held within three (3) working days of the employee's request depending upon scheduling availability. Witnesses will be allowed as necessary. If the problem is not resolved during this meeting the supervisor, manager or designee will give the employee a written resolution within three (3) working days. If the employee is not satisfied, the employee may proceed to Step 2.
If the employee is not satisfied after Step 1, the employee may submit a written request for review of the complaint and Step 2 solution to the President or their designee. Such a request must be made within three (3) working days following the receipt of the Step 1 resolution. The President or appointed representative will review the complaint and proposed solution and may call a further meeting to explore the problem. This meeting is to be attended by the employee concerned, the employee's supervisor or manager, and any other employee of the Company whom the aggrieved employee chooses. The President or appointed representative will render the final decision within ten (10) working days after receiving the Step 2 request, assuming scheduling availability. The decision will be given to the employee in writing and will become part of the employee's personnel file.
A high level of job performance is expected of each and every employee. In the event that an employee’s job performance does not meet the standards established for the position, employees should seek assistance from their supervisor or manager to attain an acceptable level of performance. If employees fail to respond to or fail to make positive efforts toward improvement, corrective action may ensue, including termination of employment.
It is the policy of the Company to regard discipline as an instrument for developing total job performance rather than as punishment. Corrective action is one tool the Company may select to enhance job performance. The Company is not required to take any disciplinary action before making an adverse employment decision, including discharge. Corrective action may be in the form of a written or oral reprimand, notice(s) of inadequate job performance, suspension, discharge or in any combination of the above, if the Company so elects. The Company reserves its prerogative to discipline, and the manner and form of discipline, at its sole discretion.
If employees violate established Company procedures, guidelines, or exhibit behavior that violates commonly accepted standards of honesty and integrity or creates an appearance of impropriety, the Company may elect to administer disciplinary action.