Policies and Procedures Manual
This manual sets forth the Center for Open Science’s policies and procedures for daily operations. The Center for Open Science (COS) complies with the United States Federal and State of Virginia employment laws and regulations. Details about these can be found on the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry website. A Virginia Labor Law poster is accessible and visible in the COS office. This manual is subject to change to maintain compliance with these laws and regulations. This manual will be reviewed and updated periodically as a means of continuous improvement to the COS’s standard practices and operations. COS maintains full discretion to add to, modify, or delete provisions of this manual at any time. COS staff are advised to retain a bookmark to the manual to check for revisions and to stay up-to-date on COS policies.
COS Office Environment
COS operates on the principle of openness. It provides a 24/7 accessible working environment to staff. COS is a highly collaborative environment and there is no assigned seating. Everyone operates out of the main office area. Each workstation in our offices will have everything you will need to get started excluding a laptop (do not remove keyboards, mice, or dongles from workstations when moving seats).
While there is an emphasis on collaboration, this model also increases the need to be sensitive to noise so that all staff can be productive in the space. Staff are encouraged to retreat to a private office to hold meetings or to have phone and video calls. All rooms and phone booths must be reserved via your COS calendar.
COS will host a variety of community events during normal business hours, in the evenings, and on weekends. During these events, one full-time regular COS staff member must be present at minimum. This staff member is responsible for ensuring responsible use of the space, properly disposing of any trash following the event, and properly closing up, including setting the ADT alarm.
The COS kitchen is a shared space for COS staff and visitors. Everyone is responsible for its cleanliness. Each Friday COS staff clean out of the fridge by either taking home their perishable items or throwing them away.
COS is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace and to promoting the health and wellbeing of its employees and visitors. Some members of the COS staff have smoke and pet allergies. As such, these common allergens should not be present in the COS offices or indoor company sponsored events. We ask that our staff and visitors do not come to work smelling of smoke or bring their pets to work. Under Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals may be permitted, upon approval of a special accomodation request.
COS is an equal opportunity environment for employment and advancement. COS and its staff shall not discriminate against individuals on the basis of age, race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, national origin, ancestry or disability. Positive action shall be taken to ensure the fulfillment of this policy across organizational activities including:
Hiring, placement, upgrading, transfer, or demotion;
Recruitment, advertising, or solicitation for employment;
Treatment during employment; and
Selection for training
This policy is consistent with the requirements and objectives set forth by the Presidential Executive Order 11246 as amended by Executive Order 11375.
COS employs persons qualified for each position by virtue of job-related standards of education, training, experience, or personal qualifications. Additionally, COS adheres to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding discrimination of persons with disabilities.
COS is committed to creating and maintaining a work climate that is free from discrimination and harassment.
COS Employee Referral Program
The Center for Open Science seeks to build a qualified, inclusive, high performing, dedicated staff to help us fulfill our mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research. An employee referral program asks existing employees to recommend candidates for open positions. If we hire someone you referred, you will receive a bonus. These incentive programs allow us to augment our existing recruitment channels, and find strong candidates. Plus, employees that are referred to a position are more likely to stay longer with a company than those who find the job in a posting. See a copy of the full policy here.
Legal Interviewing Practices
Employee application forms, interviews, and on-site trials are early measures often taken to decide whether an applicant is a suitable fit for a company. At COS, we often have candidates coming in for working interviews and attending team lunches. Certain questions asked during any stage of the interview process which are unrelated to the job can lead to the exclusion of otherwise qualified candidates simply based on age, family situation, national origin, religion, race, gender, health, etc. Fair hiring laws exist to give every candidate a fair chance in the interview and selection process. COS staff are expected to review these guidelines and engage with candidates appropriately.
Court rulings and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) guidelines prohibit the use of all pre-employment inquiries that unjustly screen out certain individuals and are not valid predictors of successful job performance or which cannot be justified by “business necessity.
As of July 1st, 2016, the Center for Open Science will conduct background checks on all candidates offered an Operations Team position of employment with COS. Background checks will be conducted by Zenefits. All background checks will be conducted in compliance with federal and state law. Information obtained through a background check will be kept separate from the regular personnel file and will be maintained in strict confidence, consistent with the terms and purpose of this policy. The background check generally will include a review of information from an individual’s previous employer(s), educational institutions, and law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and county levels.
Background checks may include but are not limited to:
Review of criminal records
Verification of social security number
Address history verification
Verification of educational records
Verification of employment records
Sexual offender registry search
Terror watch list search
For new hires, background checks will be processed at the time a conditional offer of employment is made. In each case in which a background check will be performed, the individual will be asked to complete and sign a release authorizing Zenefits to conduct the background check. If the individual fails to sign the release, any offer for employment, and any current employment may be terminated.
Background check reports will be obtained and reviewed by the Human Resources Specialist, who may review the information with the appropriate member of senior staff, the Center for Open Science’s legal counsel, or others with a need to know. Background check findings in the following categories will disqualify a candidate from employment:
Conviction of a misdemeanor or felony, with the exception of traffic violations
Being listed on the sex offender list
Being listed on the terror watch list
If an individual is to be denied employment wholly or partly because of information obtained in a background check, the individual will be informed in advance of any adverse action. In addition, where required by law and to the extent applicable, the individual will be given (a) a copy of the relevant background check report, (b) a summary of the individual’s legal rights concerning the background check report, and (c) the name, address and phone number of the third-party vendor if the individual has questions about the results of the report or wants to dispute the accuracy of the report. (Note, however, that the vendor does not make employment decisions and will unable to provide any individual with specific reasons as to why the adverse action was taken.)
Any questions concerning this policy may be directed to the Human Resources Specialist.
Foreign Nationals Sponsorship
It is the policy of COS that the company may employ, or make employment offers to, foreign nationals only when U.S. citizens or permanent residents of equal training, experience, and competence for the position are unavailable. Such a determination can only be made following a completely documented search and evaluation process. Employment of foreign nationals with be authorized only under the provisions of this policy and only when conditions and visa requirements established by federal law and ensured and documented. Under circumstances may any employee of COS knowingly employ, or contract employment with, an unauthorized alien.
Any offer of employment to a foreign national under a nonimmigrant program is considered temporary and is subject to the terms and conditions of the specific program’s work authorization.
Petitions from COS supporting H1-B visa classification will be reserved for individuals who have been offered positions requiring similar credentials. Holders of H1-B visas may be appointed only for the time period permitted under the indivudual’s visa.
COS has many collaborators and contributors from around the world and when they visit the Charlottesville area, COS offers their office to them as a space to work. During this time, these individuals are to be treated as visiting staff members. While at COS offices it is required for all visiting staff to abide by the policies set forth in this manual. Failure to abide by such policies will result in suspension from COS offices.
Americans with Disabilities Act Considerations
COS is committed to full compliance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The COS provides a safe and healthy work environment. Reasonable working accommodations are offered to fulfill organizational performance expectations. In some cases, due to health-related or physical conditions, a staff member may be unable to meet standard expectations in the existing working conditions. COS will make every reasonable effort to accommodate specific health problems or physical restrictions by fashioning a safe and productive work environment. These situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
General Criteria for Hiring Selection
Best Qualified: Following interviews, reference checks, and other necessary procedures, the best-qualified applicant will be offered the job.
Education requirements: COS is flexible with educational requirements using experience, when applicable, as a substitute.
Disqualified: Any applicant who has membership in a party or organization with the objectives of overthrowing the United States Government will be disqualified.
Offer by Letter: Once selection has been made, an offer of employment will be made by letter and digitally distributed. Such letter will contain position/title, annual or hourly salary, starting date, and any other specific items agreed upon by COS.
Acceptance by Letter: Acceptance of employment will be indicated by digitally signing offer letter and returning it to the Human Resources Specialist.
All employees are assigned to an employee status category determined at the time of employment based upon the needs of COS. All staff belong to one of the following categories:
Full-Time Regular: Employees who are not on a temporary status and who are regularly scheduled to work a full-time (40+) hour week are eligible for the COS benefits package (health and dental insurance, disability insurance, and 401(k) program) and are subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations of each benefit program.
Part-Time Regular: Employees who are regularly scheduled to work 34 or less hours per week. These employees are eligible to participate in the 401(k) program.
Full-Time Temporary- Employees who are employed by the organization to work 40 hours per week for a fixed amount of time (determined by offer letter). These employees are only eligible for certain benefits, including occasionally catered meals, the stocked kitchen, and a parking/door pass.
Part-Time Temporary: Employees who are employed by the organization to work 29 or less hours per week. Eligible for certain benefits including occasionally catered meals and the stocked kitchen.
Independent Contractors: For all independent contractors, there shall be a contract detailing the responsibilities, deliverables, time frame, fee and method of payment. Both the independent contractor and an authorized representative of COS shall sign the contract and follow policies and guidelines prescribed by law or the written contract. All independent contractors will submit a W-9 form for tax purposes.
All employees are assigned to one of the following classifications of employment in compliance with the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act:
Exempt Employees: Exempt employees are those whose primary duties consist of “administrative,” “professional,” or “executive” functions. This employee would work on a salaried basis, and would meet the salary and job requirements as set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Such employees are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Non-exempt Employees: An employee who is not considered to be exempt and who is subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Students, Trainees, and Volunteers: Students, trainees, and volunteers, when acting on behalf of the COS will be governed by the terms set forth in their employment offer letters. The offer letter will include at a minimum, the role of the individual and compensation arrangements. In all other respects, students, trainees, and volunteers, will be subject to the provisions of this policy manual.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
Upon hire, all full-time COS employees receive fifteen (15) days of “Paid Time Off” (PTO). Starting on a staff member’s 3-year anniversary, they will receive 18 days of PTO, and starting on a staff member’s 5-year anniversary, they will receive 20 days of PTO. Upon termination, all unused PTO will be forfeited. PTO is not accrued and has no cash value.
Staff must receive manager approval for PTO and indicate the time off on their COS calendar. When scheduling PTO, staff must “invite” their their manager to the event; if the manager accepts the invitation, this indicates the PTO is approved. If the invitation is declined, the PTO has been declined.
All staff who cannot work due to an illness or emergency should notify the Human Resources Specialist and their team lead. Any absence due to an illness for more than 3 consecutive days will require a note from a doctor providing justification for not being in the office. Failure to provide this will be considered a voluntary separation from COS. Any absence for two (2) consecutive days without proper notification will be considered a voluntary separation from COS.
New Employee Orientation
Each new employee will be given a general orientation by the Human Resources Specialist. This orientation will include an overview of how the office operates, employee benefits, and any other materials necessary for the individual to begin work at COS.
Contents: All personnel will have a confidential personnel record. Each record will be under the direct supervision of the Director and maintained by the Human Resources Specialist with documents such as:
- Employee resume, CV, and/or completed application material
- Signed Offer Letter
- W-9 (if applicable)
- Completed and signed Employee Performance Evaluation Forms
- Confidential memos, commendations, reprimands, etc.
- Current licenses and certifications
- Letters of recommendation
- Letters of resignation/termination
- Exit interview report (If applicable)
Distribution: Distribution of staff information will occur only in the following circumstances: A) Information required by law for submission of state and federal reports or as required by subpoena, B) Information needed by insurance companies who contract with COS for the employees’ fringe benefit coverage, and C) The content of an employee’s personnel file may be viewed for business purposes by the Board.
Employee Access to Personnel Files: Employees are permitted to review their own personnel records. An employee wishing to view his/her records should contact the Human Resources Specialist to schedule an appointment to do so.
Feedback and Review Process
The aim of the COS feedback and review process is to provide staff with guidance to help them achieve their job and career goals, to recognize their achievements, and to facilitate achievement of COS’s strategic and business goals. You will have the opportunity to participate in planning your work and setting your goals in conjunction with your management team on an ongoing basis and formally during your annual meetings. The feedback and review process is an opportunity for open, honest communication and feedback about your work and your future at COS.
This process is a guideline, but may be accelerated or suspended if a situation requires immediate action. Nothing in this policy is designed to modify COS’ employment-at-will policy or discipline procedures.
Supervisors may, at times, need to provide feedback to employees or take corrective action outside of the performance evaluation process. In general, the steps outlined below are taken to provide this feedback; however, COS does not guarantee that one form of action will necessarily precede another. All steps, written or verbal, will be documented in the employee’s file. Employees have an opportunity to respond in writing, and have a copy of any response placed in their employee file.
Salaries will be reviewed annually and adjusted in line with performance. The salary review process will take into account overall performance and the COS’s budget status and projections. Evaluations will not necessarily lead to a change in compensation.
Pay Schedule (15th and 30/31)
Pay dates for COS staff are on the 15th and the 30/31 of each month (or last business day preceding the 15th or the last day of the month). When a payday falls on a holiday, the pay date will be on the last business day prior to the holiday. COS is required by law to make certain deductions for federal and state withholding taxes and social security. COS employees may voluntarily have deductions made from their paychecks on a pre-tax basis to pay for any dependent(s) health and dental insurance coverage.
COS aims to direct deposit all paychecks, however, in circumstances when a paper check is required, please notify the Human Resources Specialist.
Update direct deposit information in Zenefits and promptly notify the Human Resources Specialist of changes.
It is the policy of Center for Open Science (COS) to reimburse staff for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in connection with approved travel on behalf of the organization. All COS travel will be booked through the Events and Facilities Coordinator, with the exception of travel for the Executive Director (ED), which will be handled by the Executive Assistant. Any staff member who will be traveling will need to complete a Traveler Profile.
Team members seeking reimbursement should incur the lowest reasonable travel expenses and exercise care to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety. Reimbursement must be preapproved and is allowed only when reimbursement has not been, and will not be, received from other sources. If a circumstance arises that is not specifically covered in this travel policy, then the most conservative course of action should be taken.
Business travel policies are aligned with the organization’s reimbursement rules. All business-related travel paid with COS funds must comply with these organizational policies. See a copy of the full travel policy here, including expense reimbursements.
Honoraria & Speaking Fees
All COS staff contribute to meeting its mission, but only a subset of staff represent COS in speaking engagements and other public appearances. Honoraria or other payments for engagements on behalf of COS acknowledge the contributions of the whole team. That is, the role of publicly representing COS is just one aspect of the commitment, service, and contribution that makes COS speaking engagements possible and successful.
Full time COS employees who, give workshops, or speak on behalf of COS may be offered honoraria or speaking fees from the sponsoring organization. COS compensation is defined as compensation received for a speaking engagement, participation on a panel, consulting or review services, or other activities that are conducted on behalf of COS. Honorarium payments received under these circumstances will be submitted to COS. Some institutions will not allow other institutions to receive honoraria on behalf of an individual, and will instead require that individuals personally accept honoraria or other payments. If an individual must receive the sponsorship payments directly, they will likely have personal tax liability. To cover the personal tax liability, they should retain 50% of the payment to cover tax expenses, and contribute the remainder to COS.
If COS employees have doubts about whether more general speaking engagement invitations are subject to this policy, they should submit information about the invitation to the COS Community and Marketing teams for further evaluation.
- This policy does not apply to interns or guests
- Speaking engagements or other consulting payments for work done that is not related to COS, open science, or open source or is not done on behalf of COS is not subject to this policy
- This policy may not anticipate all possible scenarios for assessing the types and occasions for receiving payment. When there is any uncertainty about applicability of the rule, COS staff should present the scenario to the Controller to discuss, resolve, and refine the policy accordingly
Use of Email & Personal Computer Equipment
All full-time regular and full-time temporary staff will receive a COS email address. Use of personal equipment for COS projects is not encouraged as COS is not liable for covering any damages to personal property. If your COS technology needs are not being met, please discuss them with the Human Resources Specialist.
COS Emails and Files Upon Departure
COS will deactivate all corporate Google Apps (cos.io domain) accounts belonging to individuals no longer affiliated with the organization. Upon separation of employment, COS will provide notice to employees that their corporate accounts will be deactivated within fifteen (15) business days of the employee’s last work day. COS will provide assistance in transitioning from a corporate account to a private Google account if necessary. Any content in Google Drive related to COS operations that has been shared with private Google accounts will be restricted upon deactivation of corporate Google Apps accounts. COS reserves the right to read and keep record of correspondence submitted using these accounts, but this will occur only when necessary for business continuity purposes. For example, it may be necessary to retain correspondence for a departing staff member who served as point-of-contact for external partners in order for the staff members’ replacement to have a full record of the partnership history.
COS staff will be granted access to private Open Science Framework (OSF) user data. To ensure the privacy of user data, it is understood that;
- Private user data is sensitive and confidential. It is our responsibility to treat it as such.
- Private user data should never be released to any person without explicit permission from COS management.
- Private user data should be handled responsibly, only being stored on COS hardware or hardware leased by COS (i.e. cloud platforms).
- COS hardware storing private user data should be handled responsibly in regards to both physical and computer security (i.e., secure login passwords, machine not left unattended). Ensure that the private user data would remain secure if the computer were to be lost or stolen.
- Data should be stored on encrypted devices. On Apple computers, FileVault disk encryption is the easiest solution. Otherwise, Apple encrypted disk images or TrueCrypt volumes can be used.
- Private user data is only accessed and managed for professional purposes of supporting users. Private user data should never be accessed for personal purposes, or purposes other than directly supporting users.
Inclement Weather Policy
COS has an inclement weather policy to avoid having staff take risks associated with travel during hazardous road conditions. Inclement weather is defined as adverse weather conditions that have the potential of making travel to and from work hazardous for employees. COS management team will examine current and pending weather conditions and determine the appropriate hours of operations. If weather conditions are deemed hazardous, the office will open late, close early, or close for the day. Employees who decide not to drive into the office based upon personal judgment regarding inclement weather and road conditions are allowed to use PTO or work from home.
Smoke Free Workplace
COS is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace and to promoting the health and wellbeing of its employees and visitors. Some members of the COS staff have significant smoke and pet allergies. Exposure to smoke or pets can cause a reaction that would prevent them from working and require that they leave the office. As such, these common allergens should not be present in the COS offices or indoor company sponsored events. Staff and visitors should not bring pets or come to work smelling of smoke.
Controlled substances, alcohol, and firearms
Controlled substances, and firearms are prohibited on COS premises.
In compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act, the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession or use of a controlled substance on COS premises or while conducting COS business at another location is prohibited.
COS team members are required to be in appropriate mental and physical condition in order to carry out their role and responsibilities to the highest level of excellence. If there is reasonable suspicion an employee has violated this policy, they may be sent home without pay, put on probation, or terminated. These terms are subject to change at any time, in any circumstance, for any reason, deemed necessary to ensure a safe work environment. Alcohol may be included in COS special events, but is not permitted during ordinary working circumstances.
Additionally, employees must report any convictions of criminal drug violations in the workplace in writing to COS Human Resources within 5 calendar days.
COS health insurance plans provide coverage for substance abuse recovery needs.
Kitchen and Trash Policy
Unmarked items in the refrigerator will be thrown away after three days if they have not been marked with a name and date.
Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink. If the dishwasher contains dirty dishes, put your dirty dish in the washer. If the dishwasher is running, place your rinsed dish in the sink or to the side of the sink. If the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, empty the dishwasher.
Use the disposal in the kitchen sink for all disposal safe food items. We have 3 undercounter, pull out, trash receptacles in the kitchen as well as smaller trash cans at desk stations. Do not dispose of food in the small trash cans.
There is overflow trash in the storage room. Use this trash can for large boxes and when the other trash cans are filled to maximum capacity. Trash is single-source, so we don’t sort recycling - they do. Make sure that minimal food items go into the trash.
The course of action to take in the event of an emergency will vary depending on the circumstances. There are, however, some general rules that will usually apply:
- Remain calm
- Find a phone to call for Emergency Services (dial 911)
- Calmly relay the problem to the operator. Remember to include all necessary information such as the nature of the emergency, location, persons involved, and the type of emergency services required (fire department, ambulance, police, etc.)
- Render whatever help you can without further endangering yourself or others
- Yield to the instruction of firefighters, police, or other emergency response personnel.
- Make a report of the details of the incident for the COS’s records
Fire Emergency Exit and Procedure
The COS designated meeting area in such circumstances is outside in the guest parking spots. In the event of a fire, everyone is to exit the office using the front doors, walk down the hallway, and turn right to exit through the glass double doors for the Downtown Business Center. If this exit is blocked, exit through the Omni hotel. In this scenario, turn left after the hallway, walk through 2 double doors and exit the building using the nearest doors in the Omni hotel, then walk to meet your team at the guest parking spots.
A grievance is a formal written expression of dissatisfaction about a work situation by an individual or group. The COS’s grievance procedure is a formal procedure that COS and its staff members will follow to deal with or resolve workplace problems. The policy is:
Easy to use: The COS’s grievance procedure is regularly updated to take into account other best practice models. As a result, the grievance procedure should be clear and easy to use.
Confidential: Only the staff members directly involved in the grievance, or its resolution, have access to information about the grievance. Information will go onto a staff member’s personnel file if a formal action is taken arising from the grievance.
Impartial: All parties have opportunity to communicate their perspective on the situation. No assumptions are made or actions taken until all parties contribute information for consideration.
Sensitive: All grievances will be dealt with sensitively and professionally by staff experienced in these matters.
Free of retaliation or victimization: Staff involved in a grievance shall not victimize anyone for coming forward with the grievance or for assisting in its resolution. Any victimization or retaliation may result in a disciplinary action by the Hiring and Compensation Committee, with input from relevant managers and the Human Resources Specialist. The disciplinary action may include termination of the perpetrator.
Timely: Grievances are addressed promptly.
Employee Grievance Procedure
Informal stage: If an employee has a complaint that involves another COS staff member, they should try to resolve the matter by directly approaching the employee or employees involved, with the Human Resources Specialist available to assist and support as needed.
Formal stage: If the matter remains unresolved, employees are to report the incident their manager immediately. The manager will resolve the issue and decide if a formal meeting between the parties is necessary. If the issue remains unresolved after manager intervention, the Human Resources Specialist and Chief Operating Officer will investigate the grievance further. If any disciplinary action is required, the executive team will make the final decision. If the case involves the Human Resources Specialist or Chief Operating Officer directly, the investigation will be referred to an external 3rd party.
Romantic Relationships with Co-workers
COS does not prohibit romantic relationships between employees, however, any manager or team lead who is in a romantic relationship with an employee on their team, must disclose the relationship using the relationship disclosure form. Interactions while at work and attending work functions should remain professional.
Harassment and Unfair Treatment
All staff shall endeavor to maintain a workplace characterized by mutual respect to maintain a productive and pleasant work environment. Accordingly, any form of harassment, intimidation, and discrimination in the workplace will not be tolerated.
Sexual harassment is defined as a form of sex discrimination, consisting of unwanted sexual advances. Sexual harassment refers to behavior that is not welcome, that is personally offensive, and that fails to respect the rights of others. Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Verbal: Sexual innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, threats.
- Nonverbal: Sexually suggestive objects or pictures, graphic commentaries, suggestive or insulting sounds, leering, whistling, obscene gestures.
- Physical: Unwanted physical contact, including touching, pinching, brushing against the body, or assault.
Other discriminatory harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her age, race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, national origin, ancestry or disability.
Anyone who believes he or she has been the subject of sexual harassment, or any other type of discrimination, should report all of the facts and circumstances immediately, to the Human Resources Specialist. A confidential investigation of all complaints will be undertaken immediately. Any employee who has been found to have harassed another individual will be subject to appropriate sanctions, including immediate termination.
Dismissal Without Cause (At-Will)
The Commonwealth of Virginia is an “At-Will” employment state. Therefore, by law, COS is an “At-Will” place of business. Virginia’s “At-Will” law means that either you or COS may terminate your employment for any reason at anytime.
Separation is any action that ends the employee-employer relationship between an individual and the COS. Involuntary separation may be initiated when disciplinary action does not produce required workplace behavior. Disciplinary action may be initiated in response to performance of duties and personal misconduct. The directorship will be responsible for initiation of disciplinary action in consultation with the employee’s immediate supervisor. The procedures for disciplinary action are the following:
Performance of Duties: These include violation of the personnel policies or violation of an employee’s position requirements. Specific examples include inefficiency or incompetence in performance of duties, tardiness, absenteeism, improper use of property or equipment, failure to maintain professional interpersonal relationships, and abusive or obscene language. These examples are not exhaustive of the category. COS is an at will employer and does not have to follow these three steps if not deemed necessary.
- Warning: The supervisor shall advise the employee of the specific infraction or breach of duty and the date of the incident. The employee has the opportunity to explain the reason for the conduct. Human Resources will prepare a memorandum for the personnel file documenting the infraction and employee’s response. The directorship shall monitor progress and review with the employee. Progress and review will be documented in the employee’s personnel file.
- Probation: Repetition of an infraction may result in probation. Repeated incidents will be documented as described in step one. Probation shall be for at least 3 weeks. During this period, a review process will determine if the required corrective actions are implemented and effective. No salary increases or bonuses will be given while an employee is on probation.
- Termination: Continued repetition by an employee, of an infraction which has been specified in a written warning, will result in the termination of the employee. This is the final disciplinary step for infractions under the performance of duties category.
Personal Misconduct: Disciplinary action under this category results from employee misconduct that is contrary to the best interests of the COS and is more serious than performance of duty infractions. Specific examples of serious personal misconduct actions include being convicted of a felony, misusing funds, fighting or attempting bodily injury to another COS staff member or visitor, using abusive or threatening language, sexual harassment, divulging confidential information, theft or dishonesty, intoxication or possession of illegal substances, possession of weapons on COS premises, soliciting tips from clients, and falsifying documents. These examples are not exhaustive of the category. Any employee may be terminated immediately for a serious offense. The following process applies:
- Suspension: Should a serious personal misconduct occur, the employee shall be suspended immediately without pay while the case is investigated. A memorandum delineating the basis for the suspension shall be placed in the employee’s personnel file.
- Investigation: The activity that resulted in the suspension will be investigated by the directorship. All facts and related information will be considered. A memorandum summarizing the investigation and the decision shall be forwarded to the suspended employee and placed in his or her personnel file within ten (10) working days.
- Dismissal/Reinstatement: The directorship, based on the outcome of the investigation, shall terminate or reinstate the employee. If the employee is reinstated, the directorship shall also elect whether to consider this suspension as disciplinary time-off without pay, or to compensate the employee for the period of suspension.
Reduction in Force
COS may terminate employees due to organizational realities including but not limited to: a lack of funds, elimination of position(s), termination of contract, reorganization, and restrictions of funding agencies. Such termination will be considered a Reduction in Force and the following principles shall apply:
- Consideration will be given to the need for the position, performance history, compensation, and seniority at the COS
- Whenever possible, at least thirty (30) days notice will be given to a terminated employee.
- Appropriate information and support for filing unemployment claims will be provided.
Resignation is a separation from COS initiated by the employee. Employees, with the exception of contract employees, may terminate their employment voluntarily at any time and shall give COS at least two weeks written notice prior to the effective date. Contracts employees will be required to give sufficient notice, as outlined in their employment agreement. Employees who resign may be accompanied by an exit interview. Employees are required to work during his or her two-week resignation period. No pre-scheduled vacation or sick leave may be taken during this time.
Any employee terminating employment for any reason will be scheduled for an exit interview with the Human Resources Specialist prior to departure. Information obtained in exit interviews will be reviewed by their manager, the executive director and the chief operating officer to assess improvement of organizational policies and practices. The purpose of this interview is to establish a reason for the termination, and obtain from the employee information and observations that might be helpful to COS for improving its policies and practices.