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Employee Handbook

Startup Law ResourcesEmployment Law, Human Resources

An employee handbook is a set of rules and policies that employees are expected to follow. It is not a formal contract, but an employee is expected to acknowledge the receipt of an employee handbook if one has been adopted by the company.


[COMPANY NAME]

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK

Employment Relationship

            This Employee Handbook does not constitute an express or implied employment contract.  Although this Handbook describes the general guidelines of [Company Name] (the “Employer”) rules and policies, it is not binding on Employer.  Employer reserves the right to unilaterally change, revise or discontinue its rules and policies, or terminate the employment of any employee with or without notice and with or without cause.  Likewise, employees are free to terminate their employment at any time.

[Certain employees are represented by unions, which have negotiated collective bargaining agreements (“CBA”) with Employer.  Employer recognizes its obligation to bargain with any unions which represent its employees and nothing contained in this Handbook or changed at a later date is meant to breach that obligation.  The CBAs negotiated by Employer contain provisions regarding certain benefits and rights of the union employees that may differ (either greater or lesser) from those enumerated in this Handbook.  Where the applicable CBA does not specify otherwise, the general provisions of this Handbook may apply or, at a minimum, provide guidance about Employer’s expectations.  Nothing contained in this Handbook is meant to supersede any applicable CBA.  In addition, nothing contained in this Handbook is meant to increase or decrease any negotiated benefits contained in an applicable CBA.  If an employee does not understand whether a provision in this Handbook applies to him or her, the employee may contact Human Resources for guidance.]

            No employee, manager or other agent of Employer, other than the [Direct Supervisors Name] (the “Employer Designee”), has the authority to enter into any agreement contrary to the above or to enter into any agreement with any employee for any specified period of time.  Any amendment to the foregoing must be in writing and signed by the Employer Designee.

            This Handbook supersedes and voids all previous Employer Handbooks, policies and practices, which may be inconsistent in any way with that stated herein.  This Handbook applies to employees in [States Employees Are Located]

Employee Benefits

            The information contained in this Handbook is only a brief summary of the benefits which Employer offers its employees.  For a full explanation of particular benefits, all employees should consult, where applicable, the specific plan documents themselves.  If the benefit summaries contained in this Handbook conflict with any statement contained in the formal plan documents, those plan documents supersede anything contained in the Handbook.

            Employer, by action of the Employer Designee, reserves the right to interpret, apply, alter, amend, modify or discontinue any or all of the benefits provided to employees at its sole and absolute discretion.  Employer will attempt to inform employees as promptly as possible of any changes in benefits; however, this is not always practical or possible and, where this is the case, Employer reserves its right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to make changes in employee benefits without prior notice.

1.            TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT

A.             Initial Employment:  All new employees are subject to a 90 day initial employment period.  During this period, employees are not eligible for benefits except as required by law or as provided by a specific Employer policy or applicable plan document.  Employer may extend this period in its sole discretion.  Upon completion of this period, or any extension thereof, the employee may attain a regular employment classification.

B.             Full-Time:  An employee who is regularly scheduled to work at least 37.5 hours per week is a regular full-time employee.

C.             Part-Time:  An employee who is regularly scheduled to work fewer than 37.5 hours per week is a part-time employee.

D.             Regular:  An employee hired to work on either a full-time or part-time basis for an unspecified period of time is a regular employee.

E.             Temporary:  An employee who is hired for a limited duration, set at the time of hire, is a temporary employee.  Temporary employees are not eligible for benefits except as required by law or as provided by a specific Employer policy or applicable plan document. 

2.            HOURS OF WORK

A.            Schedules:  The normal work week begins on Monday and ends on Friday.  Regular office hours depend on staffing needs but are normally [Start Time] a.m. to [End Time] p.m.  Office hours and schedules are established by Employer.  Employees are not permitted to begin or end their workday outside of their regularly scheduled shift without the prior written approval of the Employer Designee.

B.            Meal Periods:  Generally, employees are given a [Meal Hours] hour meal break.  Meal time is not considered time worked.  However, if circumstances dictate (i.e., working through lunch), meal periods may be paid if approved, in advance and in writing, by the Employer Designee.  Meal periods are scheduled at the Employer Designee’s sole discretion but normally take place between the hours of 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m.

3. OVERTIME

Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.  Approved overtime is reimbursed at one and one-half (1½) times the regular straight-time, hourly rate for all authorized hours worked in a work week.  Time paid on account of holidays, vacation, bereavement, sick days, or jury duty are not included for purposes of computing overtime pay.

Each employee is required to be available for a reasonable amount of overtime, as conditions dictate.  No overtime work may be performed without the prior written approval of the Employer Designee, reflected on a time card or an equivalent document.

4.              PAY PERIODS AND PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS

Employees are normally paid on a bi-weekly basis and paychecks are normally distributed on [Payday].  Payroll deductions are made for federal, state, and municipal taxes, and for other purposes authorized by the employee or required by law.  Employer does not make advances to employees against their pay.

Direct deposit is available to Employer employees.  Please see the Employer Designee for further information.  If a paycheck is lost after the employee receives it from Employer or if it is lost in the mail, Employer will stop payment on that paycheck and issue a new paycheck to the employee.  In the event that a stop payment is issued, the employee will be charged for all bank fees associated with that transaction. 

If an error occurs on an employee’s paycheck (whether an overpayment or underpayment), in most cases the adjustment is made in the following paycheck.

All employees are required to immediately notify the Employer Designee, in writing, of any changes to their name, address, telephone number, emergency contacts, and other personnel data, as some of this information may effect an employee’s payroll deductions.

5.             ERRORS IN PAY

Employer will not make impermissible deductions from its employees’ salaries. If an employee believes that an impermissible deduction has been made, s/he should advise the Employer Designee, who will investigate and correct the deduction, if needed. If any other error should occur on an employee’s paycheck (whether an overpayment or underpayment), in most cases the adjustment will be made in the following paycheck, but all questions should be made to the Employer Designee.

6.            TIME RECORDS

Government regulations require Employer to keep accurate records of the time worked by most classes of its employees.  Therefore, employees must maintain accurate records of the time they arrive and leave work, including meal breaks.*  A time clock is provided for this purpose.  Employees must clock in and out at the beginning and end of their shifts, meal periods, and any other breaks in the work day.

Failure to maintain time records, falsification of time records, clocking in for another employee or requesting that someone do so, or knowingly permitting another to falsify time records are serious offenses, subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination and possible legal action.

*Employees are not permitted to begin or end their workday outside of their regularly scheduled shift without the prior written approval of the Employer Designee.

7.             EVALUATIONS

Employees are evaluated during their 90 day initial employment period.  Employees are evaluated after the initial employment period, and annually thereafter based on their anniversary date.  Employees’ supervisors review their job progress within Employer and help employees set new job performance plans.  Employees are required to sign an acknowledgement of receipt of their evaluation.  Refusal to do so could be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

When applicable, wage increases are normally given when there has been an improvement in or sustainment of an already good performance during the review period.  In addition, employees may receive bonuses based on individual merit, Employer’s profitability, or any other factor, within the sole discretion of Employer.  Wage increases and bonuses are not automatic (based on seniority or the mere passage of time), nor are they guaranteed.

8.             ATTENDANCE AND PUNCTUALITY

Excessive or habitual lateness and/or absenteeism diminishes an employee’s effectiveness in his/her job, and therefore, is unacceptable.  Employees are not to leave the premises without notifying the Employer Designee in advance.

For each day an employee is unable to report to work as scheduled, s/he is expected to contact the Employer Designee [# Hours Necessary Notice] hours prior to his/her scheduled start time.  Upon calling in, employees must state the reason for the absence or lateness, as well as an anticipated return date or time, except in cases of extreme and verifiable emergency.  This practice applies unless the employee is hospitalized or unavailable to come to work because of a long-term illness (at least one week in length), in which case the employee should keep the Employer Designee informed of his/her progress.

When calling in, employees must contact the Employer Designee.  If contact with the Employer Designee cannot be made, the employee must leave a telephone message with all relevant information.

Any illness of three days or longer for any employee may require a doctor’s excuse.  Failure to provide the required doctor’s excuse may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  If at any time an employee’s absenteeism becomes chronic due to illness, Employer may require a complete physical examination by [a/n] Employer-designated physician to re-qualify the employee for continued employment.  Failure to re-qualify may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Should a question arise regarding the legitimacy of an absence for sick leave, a doctor’s certification may also be required. 

The failure to call in prior to absences or lateness as outlined above may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Furthermore, Employer expressly reserves the right to terminate employees for absenteeism and/or lateness where absences and/or lateness are excessive or exhibit a pattern of Monday/Friday or pre/post-holiday problems, even where such absence or lateness is excused.  If an employee fails to report to work or contact the Employer Designee for a period of three days or longer, Employer may treat that employee as a voluntary quit.

9.            EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

It is the continuing policy of Employer to provide equal employment opportunities to qualified individuals, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental handicap/disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or other classifications protected by applicable law.  Specifically, employment opportunities are and shall be open to all qualified applicants solely on the basis of their experience, aptitudes, abilities and training.  Advancement is and shall be based on the individual’s achievement, performance, ability, attitude and potential for promotion.

Employer is committed to providing reasonable accommodations where necessary, feasible and required by applicable law.  Employees seeking an accommodation must bring their request to the Employer Designee.  When an accommodation is requested, Employer Designee will meet and discuss the situation with the employee and attempt to reach a mutually-agreeable, reasonable accommodation.



10.               NON-HARASSMENT POLICY           

Employer strives to create a work environment where all individuals are treated fairly, with respect, and where personnel decisions are strictly made on the basis of job qualifications and merit.

It is Employer’s policy to employ, train, compensate, promote, and provide other conditions of employment without discrimination due to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age,  disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or other classifications protected by applicable law.

Any form of harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or other classifications protected by applicable law, (hereinafter “harassment”), is discriminatory and unprofessional, and will not be tolerated.

A.             Sexual Harassment Defined

The definition of sexual harassment is often subject to confusion.  Sexual harassment does not refer to an occasional compliment; it is defined, instead, as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when.

1.             It is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment.

2.             It is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an individual.

3.             It has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment for that employee or for other employees even where they are not parties to the harassment.

4.             It results in “reverse discrimination”; that is, it negatively affects an employee in lieu of a co-worker with whom the Supervisor is receiving sexual favors.

5.             Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:

a. Touching, patting, or brushing against the body.

b. Photos or other sexually-oriented material.

c. Off-color jokes.

d. Sexually-demeaning remarks or suggestions.

e. Overly familiar terms or remarks.

f. Offensive gestures or teasing.

            B.            Individuals Covered Under the Non-Harassment Policy

Harassment is a serious violation of  Employer’s policy which covers all Employer employees.  Employer will not tolerate, condone, or allow harassment, whether engaged in by fellow employees, supervisors, managers, customers, or other non-employees who conduct business with Employer.  Employer encourages the reporting of all incidents of harassment, regardless of who the offender may be.

            C.            Reporting a Complaint

While Employer encourages individuals who believe they are being harassed to firmly and promptly notify the offender that his/her behavior is unwelcome and discriminatory, Employer also recognizes that such a confrontation is not always appropriate or advisable.  The following steps should be followed in reporting harassment:

            1.            Notification of Appropriate Staff

Individuals who believe they were subject to harassment should report the incident to the Employer Designee.

If a supervisor receives a complaint in a formal or informal manner or observes conduct which s/he believes may constitute harassment, the supervisor should immediately inform the Employer Designee.

In the event that a supervisor or the Employer Designee is the alleged harasser, the complaining employee may report the incident directly to Employer Designee.

            2.            Description of Misconduct

Oral reports of harassment should be reduced to writing by either the complainant or the  Employer Designee, and signed by the complainant.

            3.            Time Frame for Reporting a Complaint

Employer encourages prompt reporting of complaints so that a prompt response and appropriate action may be taken. The late reporting of a complaint may adversely impact Employer’s ability to respond and to take appropriate action.

            4.            Protection Against Retaliation

Employer may not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a report of harassment, nor may it permit any employee to do so.  Retaliation is a serious violation of this non-harassment policy and should be reported immediately.  Any person found to have retaliated against another individual for reporting harassment may be subject to the same range of disciplinary action provided for harassment offenders (see “Resolving the Complaint” below).

            5.            False Accusations

If an investigation results in a finding that the complainant falsely accused another of harassment, knowingly or in a malicious manner, the complainant will be subject to appropriate sanctions, including potential termination.

            D.            Investigating the Complaint

Any allegation of harassment brought to the attention of the Employer Designee will be promptly investigated in as confidential a manner as possible so as to protect the privacy of persons involved.  Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation process to the extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances.  In pursuing the investigation, the investigator will try to honor the complainant’s wishes, but the need to completely investigate all allegations will be the paramount concern.

            E.            Resolving the Complaint

            1.            Sanctions

Employees found to have engaged in misconduct constituting harassment will be disciplined, up to and including termination of employment.  In addressing incidents of harassment, Employer’s response, at a minimum, will include reprimanding the offender and preparing a written record.  Additional action may include: referral to counseling, withholding of a promotion, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay, financial penalties, demotion or termination.

Although Employer’s ability to discipline a non-employee harasser (i.e. customer, supplier) is limited by the degree of control, if any, that Employer has over the alleged harasser, employees should be assured that appropriate action will be taken.

            2.            Appeals Process

            If either party directly involved in a harassment investigation is dissatisfied with the outcome or resolution, that individual has the right to appeal the decision.  The dissatisfied party should submit his/her written comments in a timely manner to the Employer Designee.  The subsequent decision of the Employer Designee shall constitute the final decision of Employer.

            F.            Maintaining a Written Record of the Complaint

Employer shall maintain a written record of each complaint, including how it was investigated and resolved, in a manner consistent with Employer’s legal obligations.

            G.            Conclusion

Employer developed this policy to ensure that all of its employees work in a harassment-free environment.  Employer will make every effort to ensure that all its personnel are familiar with the policy and know that any complaint received will be promptly and appropriately investigated.

11.            EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIPS

Employer prefers to avoid potential conflicts that may arise as a result of a social relationship between two Employer employees.  Employer requires that all relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate, in the nature of “dating” or intimate interpersonal relations, be reported to the Employer Designee.

Employer will take appropriate action to ensure that no employee is directly supervised by another employee with whom the employee has a personal relationship. 

12. HOLIDAYS

Employer recognizes the following as paid holidays for all regular full-time employees and those regular part-time employees (provided they are regularly scheduled to work at least 25 hours per week) normally scheduled to work the day on which the holiday falls (in proportion to the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work):

New Year’s Day

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Day

Day after Thanksgiving

Christmas Day

If a recognized holiday falls on a weekend, Employer, in its sole discretion, may establish an alternative observance date. 

An employee who fails to work the full scheduled work day before and after a holiday is not eligible to receive holiday pay unless an excuse acceptable to the Employer Designee is submitted.  If a paid holiday falls within an employee’s vacation period, the day will count as a holiday and not as a vacation day.  Holiday pay shall not count or be considered time worked for purposes of calculating overtime or otherwise.

13.            VACATIONS

A.            Length of Vacation:  Regular full-time employees (provided they are regularly scheduled to work at least 25 hours per week) are eligible to receive two weeks of vacation each anniversary year which accrues at a rate of 6.7 hours per month beginning on the employee’s hire date. The weeks of vacation available to regular part-time employees are calculated on a pro-rata basis equivalent to the average number of days per week the employee is  regularly scheduled to work.

B.             Vacation Pay:  Vacation pay is computed at the employee’s base hourly or weekly rate, prevailing when the vacation is taken.  Vacation pay shall not count or be considered time worked for purposes of calculating overtime or otherwise.  If a paid holiday falls within an employee’s vacation period, the day will count as a holiday and not as a vacation day. 

C.             Scheduling Vacation Time:  When scheduling vacation time, an employee should remember that vacations may not interfere with the demands of the employee’s work schedule.  Additionally, vacation must be taken in minimum increments of one-half (½) day, unless other arrangements are made with the Employer Designee, reflected on the employee’s time record.  Eligible employees must complete and return a vacation request form listing preferences for vacation dates to the Employer Designee at least [# Days Required Notice] in advance.  Vacation requests are not deemed approved until the employee receives a written confirmation from the Employer Designee.  Generally, if the dates requested conflict with requests of other employees, the conflict is resolved in favor of the employee submitting the earliest request. 

There is no carry-over of vacation from year to year.

Upon termination of employment, employees who have completed one year of service and who have resigned by giving notice at least equal to the amount of their accrued but unused paid vacation days (but in no event less than two weeks),  and/or who are not terminated for cause (in the Employer Designee’s sole discretion), are compensated for unused, earned vacation time on a pro rata basis.  Upon termination of employment, an adjustment to the final paycheck is made for vacation days taken in excess of those earned.



14.            Sick/Personal Leave

            A.            Sick Leave

No paid sick leave is provided by Employer during the initial employment period or any extension thereof.  After that period, regular full-time employees are eligible for [# Yearly Sick Days] paid sick days per calendar year.

During the initial year of employment, after completing the initial period of employment, employees receive sick days on a pro rata basis.  The Employer Designee will inform the employee of the number of sick days for which the employee is eligible and the date on which the employee becomes eligible.

Any illness of three days or longer for any employee may require a doctor’s excuse.  Failure to provide the required doctor’s excuse may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  If, at any time, an employee’s absenteeism becomes chronic due to illness, Employer may require a complete physical examination by a physician designated by Employer to re-qualify the employee for continued employment.  Failure to re-qualify may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Should a question arise regarding the legitimacy of a sick leave absence, a doctor’s certification may be required. 

Employees who leave work early for any reason are not paid sick leave unless they already worked a minimum of four hours, in which case they are paid one-half (½) day leave, unless other arrangements are made with the Employer Designee, reflected on the employee’s time record.  Sick days must be taken in minimum increments of one-half (½) day, unless other arrangements are made with the Employer Designee, reflected on the employee’s time record.

An employee who uses sick leave before and after a holiday is not eligible to receive holiday pay unless an excuse acceptable to the Employer Designee is submitted.

Sick days cannot be carried over from year to year.  Unused sick days will not be paid for at the end of the year or upon termination of employment for any reason.

B.            Personal Leave

No paid personal leave is provided by Employer during the first three months of employment.  After this period, regular full-time employees are eligible for [# Personal Days Per Year] paid personal days per calendar year.

During the initial year of employment, after completing the initial period of employment, regular full-time employees receive personal days on a prorated basis.  The Employer Designee will inform the employee of the number of personal leave days for which the employee is eligible and the date on which the employee become eligible.

Requests for planned personal days must be given to the Employer Designee for approval.

Personal days must be taken in either one-half (½) days or full day increments.  An employee who uses personal days before and after a holiday is not eligible to receive holiday pay unless an excuse acceptable to the Employer Designee is submitted.

Personal days cannot be carried over from year to year.  Unused personal days are not paid for at the end of the year or upon termination of employment.

Violations and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 

15.             MILITARY LEAVE

A.             It is Employer’s policy to support the National Guard and Reserves.  Employer employees’ job and career opportunities are not limited or reduced because of their service in the Guard or Reserve.  Employer employees will be granted leaves of absence for military training and/or duty in the Guard or Reserve without sacrifice of vacation time and as outlined below.

Request for military leave must be made to the Employer Designee in advance, stating the leave date and location.  All requests must be approved, in writing, by the Employer Designee.

B.             An employee performing annual active training duty in order to maintain Reserve status, eligibility for promotion, or military retirement status, or an employee called for active duty during a civil emergency, will be granted a leave for that period of service in accordance with federal and state laws and implementing regulations.

C.             Employer will continue to provide benefits to employees on eligible military leave pursuant to federal and state law.  Furthermore, employees may be entitled to reinstatement upon completion of military service pursuant to federal and state law.  Upon completion of military service, employees must promptly notify the Employer Designee of their intention to return to work.  An employee’s failure to do so may preclude his/her re-employment.

16.            JURY DUTY

If an employee is summoned to jury duty, s/he must notify the Employer Designee at once.  Upon completion of jury duty, the employee must submit the official notice of compensation paid by the Court to the Employer Designee.  For regular full-time employees, Employer pays the difference between the jury duty fee and the employee’s regular pay for jury duty days for a period of up to [# Days] working days per calendar year.  Employees are expected, however, to report to work on days when they are temporarily released from jury duty, when jury duty sessions are postponed, or when jury duty sessions do not occupy the entire day.

To the extent an exempt or non-exempt employee is required to serve jury duty without regular pay from Employer, s/he may use any available paid time off or may request an unpaid jury duty leave of absence.  Requests for jury duty leave are not deemed approved until the employee receives written confirmation from the Employer Designee.

Violations and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 

17.            WITNESS DUTY

If [a/n] Employer employee is summoned to appear in court as a witness, s/he may use any available paid time off.  If the employee has used all available paid time off, s/he may request an unpaid leave of absence.  Requests for witness duty leave are not deemed approved until the employee receives written confirmation from the Employer Designee.

Employees are expected to report to work on days when they are temporarily released from witness duty, where witness duty sessions are postponed, or when witness duty sessions do not occupy the entire day.

Violations and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

18.            BEREAVEMENT LEAVE

Employer provides [# Days] days paid leave to regular full-time employees for the purpose of making arrangements, composing family affairs, and attending funerals upon a death in the immediate family.  Leave for death in the immediate family is arranged by notifying the Employer Designee of the death.  Immediate family includes spouse, children, parents or guardians, grandparents, in-laws, brothers and sisters.  The number of available unpaid funeral leave days may be extended at the sole discretion of the Employer Designee.  However, the Employer Designee must approve, in writing, all such requests for additional funeral leave days.

Employer provides [# Days] unpaid days to attend the funeral of an individual who was not a member of the immediate family (i.e., aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin).  Leave for death in the non-immediate family is arranged by notifying the Employer Designee of the death.  Additional unpaid leave is available at the sole discretion of the Employer Designee. However, the Employer Designee must approve, in writing, all such requests for additional funeral leave days.

Employer may request a copy of the death certificate or obituary to confirm the application of this leave policy.  Failure to provide such documentation or other abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

19.            PERSONAL LEAVES OF ABSENCE

Employer is a covered employer under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) (the "Act") which entitles eligible employees to take unpaid leave for specific qualifying reasons.  Employer employees may be eligible under one or more of these leave plans.

If an employee is eligible under the Act, Employer, to the extent permitted by law, will deduct the leave time taken from the employee’s entitlement under the Act for which the reason for the leave is a qualifying reason.  In addition, Employer, to the extent permitted by law, will require employees to exhaust available paid time off including, but not limited to, vacation, personal, sick, and medical disability time during their leave of absence.

            I.            The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, As Amended

Employer is a covered employer under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 as Amended (“FMLA”).  The FMLA entitles eligible employees of a covered employer to a maximum of 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave for specific FMLA-qualifying reasons, or 26 weeks in the event the leave is taken to care for a covered servicemember, as defined below.

A. Eligibility

Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they:

1. worked for Employer for at least 12 months during the last seven years (unless the break in service is due to a National Guard or reserve military service obligation or a written agreement reflecting Employer’s intention to rehire the employee after the break in service); and

2. worked for Employer for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding their leave date; and,

3. work at an Employer worksite that employs at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.  An employee’s “worksite” is the site to which an employee reports to work or, if none, from which the employee’s work is assigned. 

B. Qualifying Reasons

Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for any of the following qualifying reasons:

1. the care of a child following the birth or adoption of the child, or the placement of a foster child; or

2. the care of a parent, child, or spouse with a serious health condition; or

3. the treatment of an employee’s own serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or

4. incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or child birth; or

5. the care of a “covered servicemember,” which is defined as a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, as a result of a serious injury or illness; or a veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, for a serious injury or illness and who was a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, at any time during the 5 year period preceding the date on which the veteran obtains that medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, when the eligible employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (i.e. nearest blood relative) of the covered servicemember; or 

6. any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that the employee’s parent, child, or spouse is on “covered active duty” (or has been notified of an impending call or order to “covered active duty”) in the Armed Forces.  “Covered active duty” is defined as duty during the deployment of the servicemember with the Armed Forces to a foreign country.

A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that causes a period of incapacity resulting in:

1. the need for inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or medical care facility, and any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care;

2. absence from work, school, or other regular activities for more than three consecutive, full calendar days and requiring continuing treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider at least once within seven days of the first day of incapacity and (i) requires either a regimen of continuing treatment initiated by the health care provider during the first treatment or (ii) a second in-person visit to the health care provider for treatment (the necessity of which is determined by the healthcare provider) within 30 days of the first day of incapacity.

3. the need for continuing treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider for a condition so serious that, if not treated, would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three calendar days and requires visits for treatment by a healthcare provider at least twice a year; or

4. the need for continuing treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider for prenatal care.  The employee husband of a pregnant spouse is entitled to FMLA leave for prenatal care.

A “serious injury or illness” in the case of a covered servicemember who is a member of the Armed Forces means an injury or illness, that was incurred by the servicemember in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces, or an injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces, and that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating; and, in the case of a covered servicemember who is a veteran of the Armed Forces, a “serious injury or illness” means a qualifying (as defined by the Secretary of Labor) injury or illness that was incurred by the service member in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces, or an injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the servicemember’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces, and that manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran. 

A “qualifying exigency” is defined as: short notice deployment; attending military events and activities; arranging for alternative childcare or school activities; addressing financial and legal arrangements; attending counseling; rest and recuperation; attending post-deployment activities within 90 days following the termination of the covered military member’s covered active duty status; and, addressing other events which arise out of the covered military member’s covered active duty or call to covered active duty (provided that the employer and employee agree that such leave shall qualify as an exigency, and agree to both the timing and duration of the leave).  Employees should consult with the Employer Designee to determine whether an exigency qualifies for FMLA leave.

             C.       Leave Period

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period, or 26 weeks in a single 12-month period in the event the leave is taken to care for a covered servicemember, on a per-covered-servicemember, per-injury basis.  The 12-month period is a rolling 12-month period, measured backwards from the date the employee intends to commence a requested FMLA leave, or in the case of leave to care for a covered servicemember, measured forward from the date an employee’s leave to care for the covered servicemember began, unless otherwise required by applicable law.  If an employee takes military caregiver leave to care for more than one covered servicemember or to care for the same covered servicemember who has incurred a subsequent serious injury or illness, and if the single 12-month periods involved overlap with each other, the employee may take no more than 26 weeks of leave in each single 12-month period.  If an employee does not take all of the 26 weeks of military caregiver leave during the applicable single 12-month period, the balance is forfeited and no carry-over is permitted.  During any single 12-month period, the employee’s total leave entitlement is limited to a combined total of 26 weeks for all qualifying reasons.

If Employer employs both spouses, the aggregate FMLA leave taken by both spouses for the same qualifying reason may not exceed 12 weeks, or 26 weeks in the event the leave is taken to care for a covered servicemember.

Eligible employees may take FMLA leave in full week increments, up to 12 consecutive weeks, or up to 26 consecutive weeks in the event the leave is taken to care for a covered servicemember. Employees also may take intermittent or reduced-schedule FMLA leave where medically necessary for a serious health condition of the employee or a sick family member; to care for a covered servicemember; or in connection with any qualifying exigency as defined above. In addition, employees may take intermittent or reduced-schedule leave with Employer’s approval for other qualifying reasons. If an employee takes intermittent or reduced-schedule FMLA leave for the serious health condition of the employee or a sick family member, to care for a covered service member, or due to a qualifying exigency, Employer may require that the employee transfer temporarily to an alternative position so as not to unduly disrupt Employer’s operations while the employee is on the reduced or intermittent schedule. 

Intermittent or reduced-schedule FMLA leave may not be taken in increments of less than one hour.  Reduced-schedule or intermittent leave time is calculated as a percentage of the employee’s normal work week.  Therefore, an employee who normally works 30 hours per week and takes 10 hours of FMLA leave in one week, will have used one-third of a work week of FMLA leave.  For employees who work variable hours, the normal work week is determined by the average hours worked per week by the employee during the 12 weeks prior to the start of the employee’s leave.

D. Continuation of Benefits

Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to maintain insurance coverage through Employer’s group health plan under the same terms and conditions that apply to employees who are not on leave.  Employer reserves the right to recover from the employee any group health plan premium payments it makes during any unpaid portion of the employee’s FMLA leave if the employee fails to return to work at the end of the planned leave period, unless the employee’s failure to return to work was due to circumstances beyond the employee’s control.  Vacation time, personal time, and other service-related benefits do not accrue during unpaid FMLA leave.  Use of FMLA leave will not result in the loss of any benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee’s leave.

            E.            Reinstatement

Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees are entitled to reinstatement in the same or equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment.  In some cases, reinstatement may be denied.  Reinstatement may be denied if:

1. Employer eliminates the employee’s position while the employee is on leave and would have eliminated the position even if the employee had not been on leave; or

2. the employee is a “key employee” (one of the highest paid 10% of all employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee’s worksite) and reinstatement of the employee would cause substantial and grievous economic harm to Employer’s operations; or

3. the employee fails to provide Employer with the required fitness-for- duty certification, as described herein.

F. Notice and Certification Requirements

Employees requesting FMLA leave must give 30 days written notice, including the anticipated timing and duration of the leave, if the need for the leave is foreseeable.  Where the need for leave is foreseeable due to the covered active duty or impending call or order to covered active duty of a parent, child, or spouse, employees must give such notice as soon as practicable.  Failure to do so will result in denial of leave until proper notice is given.  If the need for the leave is not foreseeable, employees must give notice as soon as is practicable under all the circumstances.  Employees requesting FMLA leave should complete an FMLA leave application form and return it to the Employer Designee.  Employees must provide sufficient information for Employer to determine if the leave is FMLA-qualifying, and must inform Employer if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or applied. Employees generally must comply with Employer’s procedures for reporting absences when requesting leave for an FMLA-qualifying reason.

Employees requesting leave (other than to care for a covered service member or for a qualifying exigency) may be required to provide medical certification from a health care provider.  The human resources manager, leave administrator, or management official other than an employees direct supervisor (the “Designee”) may, after providing the employee with an opportunity to cure any deficiencies, contact the health care provider for verification or clarification of a medical certification.  In addition, Employer, at its sole discretion, may require second or third opinions of medical certification at Employer’s expense.  Failure to provide the required pre-leave medical certification may result in denial of leave until such certification is provided.  Employees may also be required to provide periodic re-certification, as permitted by applicable law, and/or certification of fitness-for-duty, which must address the employee’s ability to perform essential job functions.  If the leave is to care for a covered servicemember, Employer may require a certification from an authorized health care provider of the covered servicemember.  Employer may seek verification or clarification of the certification as set forth herein, but may not seek second or third opinions of the certification. 

The first time an employee requests leave because of a qualifying exigency, Employer may require the employee to provide a copy of the covered military member’s covered active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military which indicates that the covered military member is on covered active duty status.  Employees requesting leave for a qualifying exigency will be required to provide a certificate including a signed verification or description of appropriate facts sufficient to support the need for leave; the approximate date on which the qualifying exigency commenced or will commence; the beginning and end dates of the absence if on a continuous basis; an estimation of the frequency or duration of the exigency if on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis; and, if the qualifying exigency involves a meeting with a third party, the contact information and brief description of the purpose for the meeting. 

Employer will advise employees requesting a leave of absence whether they are eligible for FMLA leave and whether the requested leave qualifies under the FMLA.  If the employee is eligible and the leave qualifies, Employer will provide the employee with a notice of the employee’s rights and responsibilities and a calculation of the leave to be counted against the employee’s FMLA entitlement.  If an employee is not eligible, or the leave does not qualify, Employer will advise the employee of the reason. 

            G.            Substitution of Paid Leave

Once an FMLA leave is granted, Employer, to the extent permitted by law, requires the employee to exhaust all available paid time off including, but not limited to, accrued vacation, personal, and medical disability time, during their FMLA leave.  In order to apply paid leave, the employee must conform to the terms and conditions of the applicable Employer paid leave policy.

            H.            Complaints

It is unlawful to, and Employer will not, interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under the FMLA, or discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by the FMLA, or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to the FMLA.  Employees who believe that their rights under the FMLA have been violated may file a complaint with the United States Department of Labor or bring a private lawsuit. 

This policy statement on The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is intended to summarize the basic provisions of the FMLA.  Employees should address specific questions to the Designee.

20.            TRAVEL AND BUSINESS EXPENSES

When employees travel on Employer business, they must make their travel arrangements in a manner consistent with Employer’s interests of keeping travel expenses to a reasonable level.  Accordingly, employees are reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the performance of travel and business affairs of Employer.  Any employee unsure of whether Employer will reimburse for a specific expense should consult the Employer Designee in advance of incurring said expense.

Employees who use their own vehicle for business travel are reimbursed at the current rate set by Employer.  To be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses and mileage, employees must submit, within one week of the travel, a travel reimbursement form together with all receipts.  The form must be submitted to the Employer Designee for approval. 

Employees are held accountable for all information submitted for reimbursement under this policy.  Falsification and/or abuse of this policy may result in legal action as well as normal disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

21.            HEALTH/DENTAL INSURANCE

Health and dental insurance is made available to regular full-time employees who complete the initial period of employment.  Employees should see the Employer Designee about the specifics of or with questions regarding the health/dental insurance plans.

22.            WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

A.            Policy

Employer provides a comprehensive workers’ compensation insurance program at no cost to all Employer employees.  As prescribed by law, this program covers any injury or illness sustained in the course of employment that requires medical, surgical, or hospital treatment.  Subject to applicable legal requirements, workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits after a short waiting period or, if the employee is hospitalized, immediately.

B.            Procedure

Any employee who sustains a work-related injury or illness must inform the Employer Designee immediately.  No matter how minor an on-the-job injury may appear, it is important that it be reported immediately.  This enables an eligible employee to qualify for coverage as quickly as possible.

The Employer Designee then prepares a written report for the insurance carrier reflecting the nature of the illness or injury, the cause, if known, the date and time of the incident or onset, and all other pertinent circumstances.

An employee who suffers an occupational illness or injury for which s/he must receive medical attention during the work day in which the illness or injury occurs is paid for all of his/her regularly-scheduled hours of work for that day.

Employees may not return to work after an occupational illness or injury without receiving medical clearance acceptable to Employer.

23.            WORK RULES

Employer may implement work rules at its discretion pertaining, but not limited to, safety, dress and job performance.  Employees are expected to comply with all work rules implemented by Employer; failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

24.            CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

Employer has developed certain types private and confidential information that are classified as trade secrets of Employer (“Confidential Information”).  Confidential Information includes, but is not limited to, the employee handbook, customer lists, customer information, compensation, and financial information.

All Confidential Information must be maintained in strictest confidence and shall not be disclosed directly or indirectly to any unauthorized person without the prior written consent of the Employer Designee.  All written material and documents constituting Confidential Information are the sole property of Employer.  Employees shall return this information in full to Employer if employment ceases for any reason.

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and possible legal action.

25.            REQUESTS FOR MEDICAL INFORMATION

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) places restrictions on the use and disclosure of health information.  In response to a legally permissible request for medical information from Employer, an employee is required to provide Employer with a HIPAA compliant authorization permitting the employee’s health care provider to release the requested information.

26. OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT

If an employee is employed by Employer in a regular full-time capacity, Employer expects that an employee’s position with Employer is his/her primary employment.  Any outside activity must not interfere or conflict with an employee’s ability to properly perform his/her job duties.  If an employee has any questions concerning his/her outside employment, s/he must consult with the Employer Designee.

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

27.            SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

At Employer, safety can only be achieved through teamwork.  Each employee must practice safety awareness by thinking defensively, anticipating unsafe situations and reporting unsafe conditions immediately.

Employees must observe the following precautions:

1.            Employees must notify the Employer Designee of any emergency situation.  If an employee is injured or becomes sick at work, no matter howslightly, s/he must inform the Employer Designee immediately.

2.            Employees may use, adjust and repair machines and equipment only if trained and qualified.

3.            Employees must get assistance when lifting or pushing heavy objects.

4.            Employees must understand their job fully and follow instructions.  If an employee is not sure of the safe procedure, s/he should ask the Employer Designee.

5.            Employees must know the locations, contents and use of first aid and fire fighting equipment.

6.            Employees must wear personal protective equipment in accordance with the job they are performing.

A violation of a safety precaution is in itself an unsafe act.  Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 

28.            SUBSTANCE ABUSE

It is in the best interest of Employer, its employees, and customers that all employees are able to work to the best of their capabilities, and that employees are not exposed to the hazards that arise when drugs or alcohol are present on the premises.  Therefore, Employer does not tolerate the possession, use or sale of alcohol, controlled substances, or any illegal drug on Employer premises, or the impairment of job performance arising from the use of these substances at any time.

A.             Illegal Drugs, Controlled Substances and Alcohol

The manufacture, use, sale, purchase, transfer, possession or being under the influence of an illegal drug, controlled substance or alcohol while on Employer property or while performing Employer business, whether on or off Employer premises, is prohibited.  Regarding the use of alcohol, there are certain Employer-sponsored social or business occasions when this prohibition does not apply, so long as no individual becomes inebriated.  THE FOLLOWING VIOLATIONS MAY BE GROUNDS FOR IMMEDIATE DISCHARGE:

1.     Possessing any intoxicating beverages or illegal drugs on Employer premises at any time.

2.     Drinking any intoxicating beverages or using any illegal drugs during work time.

3.     Selling any intoxicating beverages or any drugs, including prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, during work time.

4.     Reporting to work while under the influence of any intoxicating beverage or illegal drug.

5.     Being convicted of a criminal offense pertaining to the use, sale, possession or being under the influence of drugs.

**  For purposes of this policy, meal time and break time shall be considered work time.

Any employee whose job performance is impaired by the use of any prescribed or over-the-counter drug shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  If an employee is required to take any medication which may have the tendency to impair his/her job performance, the employee must notify the Employer Designee in advance.

Employer reserves the right to perform “For Cause” drug and/or alcohol testing at a qualified testing laboratory or with a doctor selected by Employer.  Employees may be asked to submit to a drug and/or alcohol blood, urine and/or breath test by a physician or laboratory designated by Employer, when their performance warrants reasonable suspicion to do so, when they sustain an injury on the job, or when they return from a leave of absence of 30 days of more.  Reasonable suspicion for testing includes, but is not limited to, behavior exhibited by an individual who is observed performing in an erratic or unsafe manner, or where an employee exhibits slurred speech or noticeable alcohol breath odor or shows an alteration of capability or performance (including lateness/absenteeism, reduced efficiency, tendency to take excessive risks, continual problems with co-workers and/or supervisors, difficulty concentrating and accidents).

Any employee about whom there is reasonable suspicion of involvement with drugs or alcohol may also be required to submit to a search of his/her desk, locker, clothing, belongings and/or possessions.  Refusal by an employee to submit to a search, to go directly to a testing agency or to leave the work place, constitute insubordination and are grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 

Employer reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to require any employee whose job performance is impaired because of the use of alcohol or any drug, including prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, to be sent home without pay.  Refusing to obey an order to be relieved from duty constitutes insubordination and is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

B.            Prevention and Treatment

Employer encourages any employee with a drug or alcohol abuse problem to seek treatment voluntarily.  Employer will assist employees who voluntarily seek help for substance abuse problems by referring them to counseling and treatment services.  However, all costs associated with counseling and/or treatment of a substance abuse problem are solely the employee’s responsibility, although treatment may be included in the employee’s medical coverage. 

A decision to seek assistance is not, in itself, a basis for disciplinary action and will not be used against the individual in any disciplinary proceeding.  On the other hand, enrolling in a counseling or treatment program is not a defense to the imposition of disciplinary action for any violation of this policy.  Thus, although an individual may refuse to participate in a rehabilitation program, Employer’s policy is to implement normal disciplinary procedures if work problems continue, regardless of participation or non-participation in a program.

If an employee seeks assistance which requires time off from work, the employee is required to use any available paid time off prior to requesting any unpaid leave.  Unpaid leave may be granted to the extent that Employer’s needs permit, as determined in the sole discretion of the Employer Designee, if appropriate.

29.            SEARCHES OF PARCELS AND Employer PROPERTY*

Any and all containers or packages (regardless of ownership) carried in or out of Employer premises are subject to inspection by management.  All desks, lockers, cabinets and similar items (regardless of ownership) on Employer premises are subject to searches by Employer management.

Refusal to permit a search constitutes insubordination and is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Employer is not responsible for any personal articles which are on Employer premises.

*Employer property under this policy includes, but is not limited to, desks, lockers, voice and e-mail (archived, deleted, or otherwise), and computer data (on disk or hard drive).

30.            ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS POLICY

All electronic (E-mail/Internet/World Wide Web (“WWW”)/PDA/Text) communication systems operated by Employer or provided to employees by Employer, including but not limited to, Employer-issued computers, laptops and Personal Digital Assistants (“PDAs”) (examples of PDAs include the Blackberry, iPhone and Palm), as well as information stored, downloaded, transmitted, received, or contained in such systems, are the property of Employer.  These systems are provided to employees as a business tool to enhance productivity, and are to be used solely for job-related purposes.  This policy applies equally to Employer -issued home computers and laptops.

Employer reserves and will exercise the right, at any time,  without notice, to monitor, review, audit, intercept, access, and disclose all materials created, received or sent over such systems, to the extent reasonable under the circumstances, and as permitted by law.  No individual user shall have any expectation of privacy from such access or monitoring, in accordance with applicable law. 

Employer monitors its electronic systems for the purposes of protecting its assets, reputation and business productivity, and to ensure compliance with its corporate policies.  By way of example only, Employer has legitimate interests: in protecting its confidential and proprietary information, including, but not limited to, trade secrets; to ensure employee compliance with Employer’s non-harassment, equal employment opportunity and non-violence policies; and to ensure that employees are not wasting time or Employer resources.

E-mail/Internet/WWW/PDAs may not be used to solicit other employees for participation in commercial ventures, religious or political causes, outside organizations, or other non-business matters.  Moreover, Employer’s e-mail system is not to be used to create any offensive or disruptive messages.  Offensive and disruptive messages include, but are not limited to, any messages which are in contravention of Employer’s non-harassment  or no violence in the workplace policies, including those which contain threats or any racial or ethnic slurs or which offensively address someone’s age, gender, gender identity sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, national origin, race, genetic identity or disability/handicap.  Employer’s e-mail system, including employees’ personal, password-protected internet e-mails sent over Employer’s computer networks, shall not be used to send (upload) or retrieve (download) copyrighted materials, trade secrets, proprietary business or financial information or similar materials without prior written authorization from Employer Designee.

The confidentiality of any e-mail or text messages should not be assumed.  Even when an e-mail or text message is erased, it is still possible for Employer to retrieve and read that message because  all such e-mail or text communications are stored on a hard drive and can be forensically retrieved.  Further, the use of passwords for security does not guarantee confidentiality.  For example, Employer expressly reserves the right to, and will, monitor and review the content of employees’ e-mail communications sent over the Employer’s electronic systems via employees’ password-protected internet e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo, or G-mail, to the extent permitted by law, and as reasonable under the circumstances, in accordance with the purposes of this Policy.  All passwords or pass codes must be disclosed to Employer or they are invalid and cannot be used.  Log-on and other passwords may not be shared with a third party or another employee, unless requested and approved by Employer Designee.  Notwithstanding Employer’s right to retrieve and read any e-mail/internet/www/PDA communication, link or message, such items should be treated as confidential by other employees and accessed only by the intended recipient.  Employees are not authorized to retrieve or read any e-mail/internet/www/PDA communication, link or message that is not sent to them.  Any exception to this policy must receive the prior written approval of Employer Designee.

This policy cannot be modified or altered by any oral representation of Employer, or Employer’s designee.  Violation and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and potential legal action.

31.           SOCIAL NETWORKING POLICY

            Unless specific written permission is granted by Employer Designee, no employee may access any blog or social networking site, including but not limited to Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and/or Twitter on work time or with Employer provided equipment or communications systems.

            Employer recognizes that employees may choose to use certain social networking sites, create a blog, or engage in chat room conversations for personal entertainment while off duty and off of Employer’s equipment/communications systems.  When employees are blogging or using other forms of web-based forums, such as social networking sites, Employer must ensure that these communications maintain our integrity and reputation while minimizing actual or potential legal risks, whether used inside or outside the workplace.  Employees are expected to protect the privacy of the Employer and its employees and customers/vendors and are prohibited from disclosing personal employee and non-employee information and other proprietary and nonpublic information to which employees have access.  Unless written reprint permission has been obtained in advance from Employer Designee, no copyrighted information can be posted on any blog or social networking site.  Likewise, the use of any of Employer’s logos/ trademarks is not permitted without specific written permission of the Employer Designee. Generally, employees are permitted to state that they are employed by the Employer, and identify their years of service and their positions without permission from the Employer.  Employees who wish to post information on a blog or social networking site beyond their positions and years of service, including information about the Employer, its employees (current or former), its customers/vendors, must receive prior written authorization from Employer Designee and must comply with all of the terms of this policy.  If you have any question with respect to whether your publication of specific information is acceptable under this policy, you must speak with Employer Designee.

Monitoring Employee Blogs and Social Networking Posts

Although social networking sites and blogs can have many positive benefits, use of social networking sites and blogs can sometimes cause problems in the workplace.  It is the Employer’s goal to ensure that the workplace is harmonious and productive.  Accordingly, Employer reserves the right to monitor employees’ social networking sites, chat-room conversations, and blog postings to ensure compliance with this policy.  Blog, chat-room, and social networking posts, temporary download files, and the employee’s computer histories and the like, (e.g., emails), that are created at any time on Employer computers or Employer –issued electronic devices (including, but not limited to, blackberries, pagers, or cell phones) or by accessing Employer’s network from a non-Employer computer or electronic device will be saved on the Employer’s computer equipment and/or server and may be accessible and viewed by Employer even if the employee deletes the blog, chat-room, or social networking post, and regardless of whether the employee saves the applicable password to the Employer computer.  

If Employer receives a complaint about or has reasonable suspicion to believe that an employee has posted comments that disclose confidential and/or proprietary information of Employer, its customers or vendors, are inappropriate, disparaging, or harassing about the Employer, its employees (including current and former), its customers, and/or its vendors, employees will be required to grant the Employer access to their personal social networking sites if those sites are not “public” for all to view in order to permit the Employer to review the alleged comments.   Refusal to grant such access will be grounds for discipline up to and including termination.  If Employer deems that any content violates this policy or any of the Employer’s policies, including, but not limited to, the Non- Harassment Policy or the No Violence in the Workplace Policy; disparages Employer, its employees (current and former), its customers and/or its vendors; and/or discloses confidential and proprietary information of Employer, its customers or vendors, the employee will be immediately required to remove all such content.  In addition, Employer may impose further discipline upon the employee up to and including termination.  Discipline may be imposed where there is a violation of any of Employer’s policies regardless of whether Employer has discovered the posting or if the posting is brought to its attention by co-employees or third-parties who view the employees’ social networking site(s) and/or subscribers to the employees’ blog(s).

If Employer learns that any employee is accessing social networking sites, including but not limited to Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and/or Twitter, during working hours prior written authorization from Employer Designee to do so, the Employer may impose discipline upon the employee up to and including termination. 

In addition to the issues arising from disparaging, harassing and otherwise negative postings, managers and supervisors should be aware that employees may view a manager’s or supervisor’s postings as showing favoritism toward certain employees or groups of employees.  Managers and supervisors should be especially sensitive to avoiding the appearance of such favoritism and should take that into consideration before agreeing to accept “friend requests” from any subordinate employee.

Requests for Recommendations

Employer recognizes that employees and former employees may seek recommendations from a/n Employer employee through social networking sites.  Managers and supervisors must refer such requests to Employer Designee for approval before providing any such recommendations.

Employees are cautioned that they should have no expectation of privacy while using Employer equipment or facilities for any purpose, including blogging and/or use of social networking sites.  Contact Employer Designee for more information regarding this policy.

Violation and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and potential legal action.

32.            SOLICITATION

            To spare coworkers from unwanted and unwelcome written materials and requests to buy, sell, or donate items and/or cash, Employer prohibits the posting of notices or other written material on Employer property for (1) the commercial sale of products, (2) non-charitable groups and/or organizations, and (3) religious or political causes. Employees may not solicit other employees during work time, or distribute written material of any type in work areas or on work time. Work time does not include the time before or after work, breaks, or meal periods.  Trespassing, soliciting or distribution of literature by non-employees on Employer premises is prohibited at all times.



33.            ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS

Employees are expected to work their regular hours.  Employees must contact the Employer Designee if a severe storm threatens to cause the employee to arrive late for work, or to determine if Employer is closed.  If Employer is open, time taken off due to poor weather conditions is to be used as a vacation or personal day.  Violations and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

34.            VISITORS

To provide safety to Employer visitors (including former Employer employees) and employees, as well as to protect Employer’s confidential and proprietary business information, all visitors must register at the reception area.  Each visitor must be accompanied into the office by [a/n] Employer representative.

35.            PERSONAL APPEARANCE

Continually satisfying Employer customers is the most important and challenging aspect of the business.  It is important to Employer that employees make a good impression through their appearance and conduct.  Employees should at all times be neat and clean and should wear clothing that is appropriate for the kind of work they do and the environment in which they work.  For example, jeans, t-shirts, spandex and similar wear is not considered appropriate for normal office work (although special allowance may be made when performing prolonged work which is more arduous) without the prior written approval of the Employer Designee.

Employer believes that its existing personal appearance standards are sufficiently flexible to accommodate reasonable dress or grooming requirements arising out of a bona fide religious belief or medical necessity. Nevertheless, any employee who believes that s/he has a bona fide religious, medical or other substantial need for relaxation or exception to this policy should address the matter with the Employer Designee.

Employees who arrive to work inappropriately dressed may be sent home and directed to return to work in proper attire.  Under such circumstances, employees are not paid for time away from work.  As repeated violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, employees should consult the Employer Designee if they have any questions as to what constitutes appropriate attire.

36.            EMPLOYMENT RECORDS

All employees are required to report to the Employer Designee, as soon as possible, any changes in personal information which may affect Employer employment records.  Employees are asked to help keep records up-to-date by notifying the Employer Designee if and when the following occur:

1.      legal change of name;

2.      marriage, legal separation, or divorce;

3.      change of address and/or telephone number;

4.      change of insurance beneficiaries; 

5.      change in the number of dependents which may require an adjustment in the employee’s income tax withholding and related records;

6.      the award of any educational degree or instructional certificate; and

7.      the attendance at any training session, school, or institute related to an employee’s work responsibilities and job performance.

37.            USE OF Employer TELEPHONES

Although occasional use of Employer telephones for a personal emergency may be necessary, personal telephone calls must be kept to a minimum and should be short in duration, except in emergency situations when permission is granted by the Employer Designee.  Interoffice telephone calls are to be kept at a minimum and are not to be of a personal nature.

38.            USE OF Employer EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND VEHICLES

A.            Equipment

Personal use of Employer equipment is prohibited except when permission is granted by the Employer Designee.  All Employer property--including desks, storage areas, work areas, file cabinets, credenzas, computer systems, office telephones, cellular telephones, modems, facsimile machines, duplicating machines, and vehicles--must be used properly and maintained in good working order.  Employees who lose, steal, or misuse Employer  property may be personally liable for replacing or fixing the item and may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. 

Employer reserves the right, at all times and without prior notice, to inspect and search any and all its property for the purpose of determining whether this policy or any other Employer policy has been violated, or when an inspection and investigation is necessary for purposes of promoting safety in the workplace or compliance with state and federal laws, or as set forth in Employer’s Electronic Communications Policy.  These inspections may be conducted during or after business hours and in the presence or absence of the employee. 

B.             Supplies

Employer will stock all necessary and normal supplies for all office and administrative employees in the performance of their work for Employer.  Specific supplies needed by an employee or notification of low stock should be filed with the Employer Designee.  Each employee is requested to maintain the supply cabinet in a neat manner.

C.            Employer Vehicles

The use of Employer-owned or Employer-leased vehicles is limited to authorized employees.  These vehicles must only be used for work-related activities and may not be used for personal business or activities without the express prior written approval the Employer Designee.

All employees authorized to drive Employer-owned or Employer-leased vehicles in conducting Employer business, must possess a current, valid driver’s license and a driving record acceptable to Employer.  Employees must obtain any specific state-required permits or licenses necessary to operate Employer-owned or Employer-leased vehicles.  Any change in license status or driving record must be reported immediately.  From time to time, Employer or its insurance carrier may request reports from the relevant government agencies regarding the license status and driving record of employees whose job responsibilities include driving.  In the event that the license status or driving record of any employee whose job responsibilities include driving becomes unacceptable to the Employer or Employer’s insurance carrier, that employee may be restricted from driving, reassigned, suspended, or terminated, at Employer’s discretion. 

A valid driver’s license must be in an employee’s possession while operating a vehicle off or on Employer property.  It is the responsibility of every employee to drive safely and obey all traffic, vehicle safety, and parking laws or regulations.  Drivers should demonstrate safe driving habits and not drive too fast or recklessly. 

The following guidelines must be followed by an employee who drives [a/n] Employer-owned vehicle: 

1.              Have a valid driver’s license.

2.              Inform his/her supervisor of any change in license status.

3.              Complete expense reports, recording the number of miles driven and business purpose.

4.              Require all occupants of the vehicle to wear seatbelts at all times.

5.              Operate the vehicle in accordance with the applicable state laws.

6.              Refrain from using radar detectors, which are not permitted in Employer vehicles at any time.

7.              Assume responsibility for any and all fines or traffic violations associated with his/her use of the vehicle.

8.              Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

9.              Never transport passengers such as hitchhikers or friends for unauthorized use.

10.           Turn the vehicle ignition off, remove the keys and lock the doors when the car is unattended.

11.           Never drive at speeds that are inappropriate for road conditions.

12.           Never drive “off-road” unless an exception has been granted, such as a job-site or mine-site visit.

13.           Report all accidents and violations to his/her supervisor.

14.           Never carry a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe in the vehicle.

15.           If his/her driver’s license is suspended or revoked, s/he must not operate the vehicle.

16.           S/he is the only authorized driver of the vehicle.  Its fundamental purpose is for Employer business conducted by the employee.

17.           Do not use a cell phone while driving.  Except in New York and New Jersey, where handheld cell phone use while driving is illegal, if unavoidable, employees are expected to keep the call short, use hands-free options, if available, and keep their eyes on the road.

The improper, careless, negligent, destructive, or unsafe use or operation of equipment or vehicles, as well as excessive or avoidable traffic and parking violations, can result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Only those persons expressly authorized by Employer may be transported in any vehicle owned, rented, leased, or utilized by Employer. Any person carrying unauthorized passengers will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Violations and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

39.            CELLULAR PHONE USE

A.            Policy

This policy outlines the use of personal cellular (“Cell”) phones at work, the personal use of business cell phones, and the safe use of cell phones by employees while driving.

B.            Procedures

1.            Personal Cell Phones

While at work, employees are expected to exercise the same discretion in using personal cell phones as is expected for the use of  Employer phones.  Employees are asked to make any personal calls on non-work time, where possible, and ensure that friends and family members are aware of Employer’s policy.  Further, personal cell phones should be turned off during working hours.  Flexibility is provided in circumstances demanding immediate attention.  Employer is not liable for the loss of personal cell phones brought to the workplace.

2.            Personal Use of Employer-Provided Cell Phones

Where job or business needs demand immediate access by an employee, Employer may issue a business cell phone to an employee for work-related communications.  To protect the employee from incurring a tax liability for the personal use of this equipment, such phones are to be used for business calls only.  Phone logs will be audited regularly to ensure reasonable usage.

Employees in possession of Employer equipment, such as cell phones, are expected to protect the equipment from loss, damage or theft.  Upon resignation or termination of employment, or at any time upon request, the employee may be asked to produce the phone for return or inspection.  Employees unable to present the phone in good working condition within the time period requested may be expected to bear the cost of a replacement.

3.            Safety Issues for Cell Phone Use

Employees issued a cell phone for business use are expected to refrain from using their phone while driving.  Indeed, in New Jersey and New York drivers are prohibited from handheld cell phone use while driving.  Regardless of the circumstances, including slow or stopped traffic, employees are strongly encouraged to pull off to the side of the road and safely stop the vehicle before placing or accepting a call.  If unavoidable, employees are expected to keep the call short, use hands-free options if available, and keep their eyes on the road.  Under no circumstances are employees allowed to place themselves at risk to fulfill business needs.  Employees who are charged with traffic violations resulting from the use of their phone while driving are solely responsible for all liabilities resulting from such actions.

40.            SMOKING

In keeping with Employer’s intent to provide a safe and healthy work environment, smoking is prohibited throughout the work place.  This policy applies equally to all Employer employees and visitors.  While at sites outside Employer’s office, Employer employees are required to adhere to the rules and policies regarding smoking at those locations.  Violations and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

41.            BULLETIN BOARD

Information of interest and importance to employees is regularly posted on the bulletin board in the employee lunchroom.  Employees should look at it regularly to keep up with current events.  This bulletin board is for administrative use only, and employees may not post or remove any information from it.

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

42.            LUNCHROOM

A lunchroom is available for use by employees.  Although general custodial care is provided by Employer, employees are expected to clean up after eating in this room. 

Violations and/or abuse of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

43.            NO VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE

Employer is committed to providing a safe, violence-free workplace and strictly prohibits employees, vendors, customers, visitors or anyone else on Employer premises from behaving in a violent or threatening manner.  Employer seeks to prevent workplace violence before it occurs and reserves the right to respond to behavior that suggests a propensity towards violence before any violent behavior occurs.  Workplace violence includes threats of any kind, threatening, physically aggressive, or violent behavior, such as intimidation of or attempts to instill fear in others, defacing property or causing physical damage to property, bringing weapons or firearms of any kind on Employer premises or while conducting Employer business, and other behavior that suggests a propensity toward violence, which can include belligerent speech, excessive arguing or swearing, sabotage, or threats of sabotage of property, or a demonstrated pattern of refusal to follow Employer policies and procedures.

            If any employee observes or becomes aware of any of the above listed actions or behavior by an employee, customer, visitor, or any other person, s/he should notify the Employer Designee immediately.

Employees should notify the Employer Designee if a restraining order related to them in anyway is in effect, or if a potentially violent non-work related situation exists that could result in violence in the workplace.

All reports of workplace violence will be taken seriously and will be investigated promptly and thoroughly.  In appropriate circumstances, Employer will inform the reporting individual of the results of the investigation.  Employer will not tolerate retaliation against any employee who reports workplace violence.

            If Employer determines that workplace violence has occurred, Employer will take appropriate corrective action and will impose discipline on offending employees.  The appropriate discipline will depend on the facts related to the specific incident but may include written or oral warnings, probation, reassignment of responsibilities, suspension, or termination.  If the violent behavior involves a non-employee, Employer will take appropriate corrective action in an attempt to ensure that such behavior is not repeated.

44. EMPLOYEE REFERENCES

All requests for employment references for any current or former Employer employee must be directed to the Employer Designee.  In the event that the Employer Designee receives a written request for a reference, only dates of employment and positions held will be confirmed.  If a prospective employer desires any further information, the former employee has to sign an authorization form before Employer will consider providing any further information.

No employee is permitted to provide an oral or written employment reference for any current or former Employer employee without the express permission of the Employer Designee.

45. TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

Employees who voluntarily leave Employer must notify the Employer Designee of their intention to resign by giving notice at least equal to the amount of their accrued but unused paid vacation (but in no event less than two weeks).  Where possible, resigning employees are paid all moneys due no later than the next regularly scheduled payday.

At termination, employees who have completed one year of service, who have resigned by giving notice at least equal to the amount of their accrued but unused paid vacation (but in no event less than two weeks) and/or who are not terminated for cause (in Employer’s sole discretion), are compensated for unused earned vacation time on a pro rata basis in accordance with the terms of the Vacation Policy.

At termination of employment, an adjustment to the final paycheck is made for vacation days taken in excess of those earned.

Employees are requested to participate in an exit interview.  This interview enables Employer to better evaluate employee/employer relationships.

Employer subscribes to a policy of progressive discipline.  Employees may be reprimanded orally or in writing for such problems as rule violations and unsatisfactory conduct.  However, Employer reserves the sole right at all times and under any circumstances to terminate an employee with or without cause and with or without prior notice.

The following list sets forth examples of the types of violations which may be sufficient grounds for disciplinary action, ranging from reprimand to immediate termination, depending upon the seriousness and frequency of the offense.  This list is not all-inclusive and other actions or behavior may subject an employee to disciplinary action and/or termination.

1.             Falsification of records, including employment applications.

2.             Use, sale or possession of alcohol or drugs.

3.            Gossiping.

4.             Insubordination, chronic lack of cooperation, and poor attitude.

5.            Dishonesty - Including false representation, lying, theft, stealing, fraud, embezzlement or any other illegal act, as well as knowingly condoning dishonest acts by others.

6.            Fighting or disorderly conduct.

7.            Excessive absenteeism and tardiness, including failure to call in when absent.

8.             Use of threatening, profane, insulting or abusive language or engaging in any immoral or indecent conduct.

9.            Gambling.

10.            Without prior written authorization, removing from Employer premises or disclosing, in any manner, any records, files, lists or other items belonging  to Employer.

11.            Violation of any applicable governmental law or regulation which jeopardizes the operations of Employer.

12.            Discourtesy to customers.

13.            Possession or use of weapons.

14.            Accepting gifts of more than nominal value from anyone with whom Employer does business.

15.            Leaving assigned work areas for non-work related reasons.

16.            Sleeping during working hours.

17.            Breach of Employer confidentiality.

18.            Unsatisfactory job performance.

19.            Disregard of housekeeping and safety rules.

20.            Misuse of Employer property.

21.            Violation of Employer policy or work rules.

22. Loss of certification of licensure required by law or Employer.

The disciplinary guidelines set forth above are merely for employees’ information.  Employer retains the complete and sole discretion to determine the appropriate discipline on a case-by-case basis.

46.            CONCLUSION

Employer encourages its employees to bring questions, suggestions and complaints to its attention.  Careful consideration will be given to each of these in Employer’s continuing effort to improve operations.

If an employee has a problem, s/he should present the situation to his/her supervisor so the problem can be settled through an examination and discussion of the facts.  Employer hopes that the supervisor will be able to satisfactorily resolve most matters.

If an employee finds that s/he still has questions after meeting with his/her supervisor or would like further clarification of the matter, s/he may request a meeting with the Employer Designee, who will review the issues and meet with the employee to discuss possible solutions.

Employee suggestions and comments on any subject are important to Employer so it encourages its employees to take every opportunity to discuss them.

 

 

 

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

                  This is to certify that I have been given and had an opportunity to review the Employee Handbook, and that I understand its contents, including the following IMPORTANT NOTICE to employees contained on page iii:                   

This Employee Handbook does not constitute an express or implied employment contract.  Although this Handbook describes the general guidelines of Employer (the “Employer”) rules and policies, it is not binding on Employer.  Employer reserves the right to unilaterally change, revise or discontinue its rules and policies, or terminate the employment of any employee with or without notice and with or without cause.  Likewise, employees are free to terminate their employment at any time.

No employee, manager or other agent of Employer, other than the Employer Designee, has the authority to enter into any agreement contrary to the above or to enter into any agreement with any employee for any specified period of time.  Any amendment to the foregoing must be in writing and signed by the Employer Designee.

This Handbook supersedes and voids all previous Employer Handbooks and policies, which may be inconsistent in any way with that stated herein.

The information contained in this Handbook is only a brief summary of the benefits which Employer offers its employees.  For a full explanation of particular benefits, all employees should consult, where applicable, the specific plan documents themselves.  If the benefit summaries contained in this Handbook conflict with any statement contained in the formal plan documents, those plan documents supersede anything contained in the Handbook.

Employer, by action of the Employer Designee, reserves the right to interpret, apply, alter, amend, modify or discontinue any or all of the benefits provided employees at its sole and absolute discretion.  Employer will attempt to inform employees as promptly as possible of any changes in benefits; however, this is not always practical or possible and, where this is the case, Employer reserves its right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to make changes in employee benefits without prior notice.

 

 

__________________________  

Date        

 

 _______________________________Sign Here

[Employee Name]

                                                                                   



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