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Human Resource Policy

Section 5: Employee Conduct

5.1 ETHICS

Library employees are public employees and as such are subject to the Ohio Ethics Law and related statutes.

Each employee will receive an electronic access to the Ohio Ethics Law for review, and will sign an Acknowledgement of Receipt of the Ohio Ethics Law.  The signed Acknowledgement will be kept in the employee’s HR file.

The “General Prohibition” section of Ohio’s Ethics Law is reproduced below. Although not a substitute for the entire text, the “General Prohibition” provides some guidance for public employees.

General Prohibitions

The Ohio Ethics Law contains provisions restricting conflicts of interest that involve nepotism, post-employment, representation, influence peddling, confidentiality, and supplemental compensation. Among other restrictions, the law provides that each public official and employee is prohibited from:

  • Authorizing, or using their position to secure authorization of a contract, for themselves, a family member, or a business associate;
  • Authorizing, or using their position to secure the authorization of, the investment of public funds in any kind of security to benefit themselves, a family member, or a business associate;
  • Receiving any benefit from a contract entered into by their public entity;
  • Hiring or securing any contract benefits for their spouse, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, or siblings, or any other relatives living with them;
  • Soliciting or accepting substantial and improper things of value, including gifts, or travel, meals, and lodging;
  • Participating in matters where something of value will result for the public official or employee, their family, business associates, or others with whom the public servant has a close tie that could impair their objectivity;
  • Disclosing or using information deemed confidential by law;
  • Representing parties, before any public agency, in a matter in which they were involved as a public servant, both during and for one year after leaving public service.

5.2 POLITICAL ACTIVITY

Employees of the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library may not engage in partisan political activity during working hours. (ORC 124.57: OAC 123:1-46-02)

Employees of CRCPL, its department and delegate agencies may not, at any time, utilize CRCPL vehicles, equipment, supplies or facilities to influence the outcome of an election or to further the cause of a political party or candidate.

No Federal funds may be used by an employee of CRCPL on behalf of partisan politics.

Political activity by all CRCPL employees is regulated by the Federal Hatch Act as it relates to state and local public employees. Copies of the relevant sections of the Act and its interpretation by the U.S. Civil Service Commission are on file with the Ross County Commissioners’ Office and the Ross County Law Library.

Employees planning to campaign for, seek or accept appointment to public office should give prior notice of their intentions to the Executive Director. Employees engaging in political activities must do so as individuals on their own time, not as representatives of CRCPL and may make no representations otherwise.

5.3 ATTENDANCE

CRCPL depends heavily upon its employees, it is important that employees attend work as scheduled. Dependability, attendance, punctuality and a commitment to do the job right are essential at all times. To the extent permitted by law, absenteeism and tardiness lessen an employee’s chances for advancement, and may result in corrective action up to, and including, discharge of employment.

Unless required by law, regular full-time and regular part-time employees, who have exhausted all of their paid leave, may use up to 5 additional unpaid working days within the calendar year equal to the normal total hours scheduled per week.

Part-time employees may use up to 10 working days as authorized in unpaid absence from work within the calendar year equal to the normal total of hours schedule per week.

Non-medical unpaid absences should only be approved when they do not create a hardship for the library or adversely impact the work unit. Requests for unpaid leave should be made as far in advance as possible.

An employee must personally (unless incapacitated) notify their supervisor or administration if they expect to be late or absent as far in advance as possible but within one hour after the scheduled work time.

Supervisors have the right to ask the reason for tardiness/absence; if due to medical necessity the exact nature of an illness need not be divulged. An employee should attempt to provide an estimated arrival time or day of return to work.

Failure to call in, in a timely manner, may result in corrective action.  Employees who do not return to work or arrive at the time originally estimated are expected to call in again. Supervisors will track all employees’ absences to ensure that absences and tardiness are not excessive. Generally speaking, more than 10 unscheduled absences or late arrivals at work in a 12-month period is considered excessive. Corrective action, up to and including discharge, will be used to deal with excessive unscheduled absence/tardiness that is not covered under FMLA.

5.4 PERSONAL APPEARANCE

All employees are expected to be well groomed and suitably dressed for work. Cleanliness and good personal hygiene are expected of all employees as well as clothing that is neat, clean and appropriate for the duties performed. Library management reserves the right to determine whether the attire is appropriate.

Proper attire is defined as neat, clean and business-like as well as safe; those working with the delivery, sorting and shelving materials will wear shoes that protect feet from book carts and falling items. Open-toed and open-heel footwear are not appropriate for these functions.

Employees are expected to maintain personal hygiene that is consistent with working with the public, or co-workers, in a public setting. Employees who are visibly dirty or whose personal odor is offensive to the level where one or more employees raise it as an issue with management may be asked to leave the work environment until the problem is corrected.

Examples of personal appearance that may be inappropriate include but are not limited to:

  • Appearance that is excessively revealing or noticeably unprofessional.
  • Text or images that may be considered offensive or controversial.
  • Attire that creates a hazard for the work environment.
  • Attire that does not provide sufficient protection for the work environment.
  • Appearance that is disruptive to the work environment.

5.5 SAFETY

It will be the policy of the CRCPL to take precautions to provide for the safety of all employees, patrons, and others present on library property. The Executive Director will have overall responsibility for the safety program of the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library system. General areas of emphasis will include, but not be limited to:  in-service training; safety meetings; accident record keeping; fire prevention; emergency procedures and safety problems relevant to employees and the community. The practice of safety will be a part of educational programs.

The responsibility of the employee is to follow all safety rules, report hazards to their supervisor, and report all accidents, illness, or injuries that occur on the job as soon as is practical, but within two days, to their immediate supervisor or other manager. The responsibility of the supervisor is to follow all safety rules, act on a report of a hazard, and communicate accident reports to the Executive Director as soon as practical. CRCPL will comply with all regulations and instructions from the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation.

5.6 WEAPONS

Firearms, handguns, knives, or other unlawful weapons further defined by Ohio statute or local ordinance are prohibited on CRCPL property or vehicles.  Library property includes:

  • Owned or leased vehicles;
  • Owned or leased buildings;
  • Areas surrounding owned or leased buildings, such as sidewalks, walkways, and driveways.

During working hours or while conducting CRCPL business, employees are strictly prohibited from possessing any firearm or unlawful weapon on library property. This policy applies to all employees entering library property regardless of whether the employee is licensed to carry the weapon. An employee with a valid concealed handgun license may transport or store a firearm or ammunition in their own personal vehicle.

5.7 DRUG AND ALCOHOL-FREE WORKPLACE

It is CRCPL’s desire to provide a healthful and safe workplace that is free of illegal drugs and alcohol. To promote this goal, CRCPL maintains a Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace policy that applies to all employees. Employees are required to report to work in appropriate mental and physical condition to perform their jobs. Use of alcohol, abuse of prescription drugs or use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, whether on or off the job, can adversely affect your work performance, efficiency, and safety. In addition, the use or possession of these substances on the job constitutes a potential danger to the welfare and safety of other employees and library patrons.

Employees should report to work fit for duty and free of any adverse effects of drugs or alcohol. This policy does not prohibit employees from the lawful use and possession of prescribed medications taken as prescribed and that does not compromise workplace safety. Employees must, however, consult with their doctors about the medication’s effect on their fitness for duty and ability to work safely.

The following prohibitions are in effect at all times when an employee is at work, on library premises, operating a library vehicle, or attending a library function at which the employee performs services or functions on behalf of CRCPL.

  • No employee shall consume or use (including testing positive for substances prohibited by this policy even if the use occurred outside of work) alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, or medication or controlled substances used in a manner other than prescribed or as directed.
  • No employee shall possess alcohol, illegal drugs, or other un-prescribed controlled substances.
  • No employee shall work or be at work under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or medication or controlled substances used in a manner other than prescribed or as directed.
  • No employee shall sell, purchase, transfer, or traffic illegal or illicit drugs, controlled substances, prescribed medication, or drug paraphernalia.
  • Violation of any of these prohibitions will result in corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Employee Assistance

We recognize that alcohol and drug abuse can be medical conditions, and they can be successfully treated. If you believe that substance use or abuse is a problem for you, you’re encouraged to get confidential professional help. For assistance with abuse/addiction problems employees may be referred to the Scioto Paint Valley Mental Health Center, 740-775-1260.

CRCPL assumes no responsibility for drug or alcohol rehabilitation of any employee.  Employees who voluntarily seek help for such problems before becoming subject to corrective action and/or termination may be allowed to use accrued paid time off, placed on leaves of absence, and otherwise accommodated as required by law. Such employees may be required to document that they are successfully following prescribed treatment and to take and pass follow-up tests.

Types of Testing

  • Reasonable Suspicion: Whenever CRCPL reasonably suspects any employee of using drugs or alcohol, being intoxicated, and/or being under the influence of a controlled substance while at work or on library premises, the employee will be required to submit to urine and/or blood testing, as soon as practical. A reasonable suspicion test may occur based on:
    • Observed behavior, such as direct observation of drug/alcohol use or possession and/or physical symptoms of drug and/or alcohol use;
    • A pattern of abnormal conduct or erratic behavior;
    • Arrest or conviction for a drug-related offense or identification of an employee as the focus of a criminal investigation into illegal drug possession, use, or trafficking.
    • Information provided either by reliable and credible sources or independently corroborated regarding an employee’s substance use;
    • Newly discovered evidence the employee tampered with a previous drug or alcohol test;
    • Reasonable suspicion testing does not require certainty. Mere hunches, however, do not justify testing.
  • Post-Accident Testing: Whenever an accident occurs involving an employee, equipment, or property controlled by CRCPL’s employees, including, but not limited to an accident involving: (a) one or more deaths; (b) an injury requiring professional medical treatment beyond first aid and disabling an employee from performing their normal duties; and/or (c) substantial damage to property, CRCPL will require all employees involved in the accident who may have engaged in any activity that caused or tended to cause the accident, or that may have contributed to the accident, to submit to alcohol and drug testing, as soon as practical. The requirement to test will not prevent employees who are to be tested from performing duties in the aftermath of an accident or incident when their performance is needed to preserve life or property.
  • Follow-up/Return-To-Duty Testing: CRCPL reserves the right to test employees who previously tested positive but whose employment was not terminated. CRCPL requires a negative return-to-duty test before we allow the employee to return to work. If the employee fails this test, this will result in corrective action up to and including termination of employment. Once an employee tests negative and returns to duty, management will ensure additional tests occur. Any employee with a second positive test result will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment. Follow-up tests will be unannounced. They may occur at any time for a time period management considers reasonable. The intent is to deter any subsequent use that would violate policy and result in termination of employment.
  • Random Testing: CRCPL reserves the right to conduct such other alcohol and drug testing as it chooses, including random testing.

Consent to Testing and Reporting Results

It will be a condition of employment that applicants and employees subject to testing must sign a form consenting to the testing; the release of the test results to the CRCPL’s Medical Review Officer (MRO) and of positive test results to the CRCPL; and a release to the CRCPL of liability for such testing.

The MRO will report all positive alcohol or drug tests to Human Resources and CRCPL will take immediate steps, consistent with this Alcohol and Drug Policy, to remove any such employee from active employment to protect the safety and health of that employee, other employees, and the public.

Testing Procedures

  • Compliance with Applicable Law: It is library’s intent that the procedures used for testing for drugs and alcohol will comply with all applicable legal requirements. Should the procedure set forth below be inconsistent with any such requirements, these procedures will be modified as necessary to comply.
  • Substances Tested For: Employees will be tested for the use of illegal substances, the abuse of prescription medications and alcohol. An employee will “tests positive” for illegal substances or prescription abuse if the test shows the presence of an amount of the substance equal to or exceeding applicable standards or prescription. The cut off level for alcohol is .04 blood alcohol content.
  • Collection of Samples: Urine and/or blood samples for drug testing will be obtained by an independent contractor. The contractor will obtain samples and maintain the chain of custody of these samples in accordance with reasonable standards. In the case of serious physical injury, urine and/or blood samples may be taken by treating medical personnel under the supervision of the independent contractor. In case of fatality, blood and/or urine samples will be taken by the appropriate local authority such as a medical examiner or coroner.
  • Analysis: CRCPL shall select the manner of analysis, and may at any time utilize on-site instant result urine tests. If CRCPL elects to have urine or blood samples analyzed by a laboratory, the integrity of such samples and chain of custody will be maintained by the independent contractor and will be analyzed by a United States Department of Health and Human Services certified lab or a laboratory that meets or exceeds the Department’s certification standards to process the test results, selected by either the independent contractor or CRCPL. CRCPL may rely upon the results of any such on-site urine test, or upon the report generated by such laboratory as described herein, when determining appropriate corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Consequences of Violation of This Policy

Any employee who violates this policy will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

An employee who refuses a drug or alcohol test required by CRCPL, or tests positive for the presence of alcohol or drugs, will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment. An employee who attempts to manipulate the results of a test through adulteration, dilution of a sample, or substitution of a sample will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination. An employee who has been terminated as a result of a positive drug test may be re-employed only if the MRO determines the individual to be drug free, and the employee consents to an unannounced testing program over a time period management considers reasonable.

Any employee who violates the policy on a second occasion will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Condition of Employment

Compliance with CRCPL’s Alcohol and Drug Policy is one of the conditions of employment. Failure or refusal of an employee to cooperate fully, sign any required document, or submit to any inspection or test will subject that employee to corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Reservation of Rights

CRCPL reserves the right to amend, interpret, change, modify, rescind, or depart from this policy, in whole or in part, retroactively or prospectively, with or without notice. Nothing in this policy creates or expands any legal or contractual right any employee might have.

Notification of Conviction

Employees are required to notify CRCPL of a criminal conviction for drug-related activity occurring in the workplace. The report must be made within five days of the conviction. Within thirty (30) days after CRCPL receives notice of such a conviction, the convicted individual may be subject to corrective action up to and including immediate discharge.

Arrest or conviction for a drug-related offense or identification of an employee as the focus of a criminal investigation into illegal drug possession, use, or trafficking. The employee must notify Human Resources within five (5) working days of any drug-related conviction;

Arrest or conviction for an alcohol-related offense, or identification of an employee as the focus of a criminal investigation into public intoxication, driving under the influence, vehicular assault, or vehicular homicide. The employee must notify Human Resources within five (5) working days of any alcohol-related conviction;

If you have questions about this policy, please contact the Executive Director.

5.8 ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-HARASSMENT

It is the policy of Chillicothe & Ross County Public Library (CRCPL) to maintain an environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment for all employees. Behaviors of this type, whether committed by supervisors, co-workers, or members of the public, of opposite or same gender is strictly prohibited.

Definitions

Discrimination is to treat another person differently or unfairly based on protected classes such as; color, religion or creed, national origin or ancestry, sex (including gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity), age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, genetic information or citizenship.

Discriminatory harassment is any type of physical or verbal harassing conduct that is based upon the protected classes listed above.

Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Repeated unwanted and/or offensive sexual flirtations advances, or propositions;
  • Repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature;
  • Graphic or degrading verbal or written comments about an individual, the individual’s appearance or the individual’s sexual orientation;
  • The display of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or the display of same through other media;
  • The implication or threat that an employee’s or applicant’s employment, assignment, compensation, advancement, career development, or other condition of employment will depend on the employee or applicant’s submission to sexual harassment in any form; and
  • Any offensive, abusive, or unwanted physical contact.

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all employees to aid the employer in maintaining a work and public environment free from discrimination and harassment. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each employee, including supervision and management, to immediately report any instances of discrimination or harassment to the proper authority (see Reporting Procedure). Any employee who observes any conduct that may constitute discrimination or harassment of any CRCPL employee or vendor, but fails to report the same, may be subject to corrective action.
  • It is further the responsibility of each supervisor to ensure that all employees who report to the supervisor are aware of the policy against discrimination and/or harassment, that they are aware of the complaint and reporting procedures, and that they are aware of the consequences of engaging in such behavior.
  • It is the responsibility of management to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Management shall ensure that its supervisors are sufficiently trained in recognizing all types of discrimination and harassment, the complaint and reporting procedures, the proper methods of investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment, and the corrective action procedure.
  • Management shall also ensure that all employees are aware of this policy and will ensure that all employees receive sufficient training to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Additionally, each newly hired employee will receive training on this policy as a part of their employee orientation.

Procedure

  • Once a complaint of discrimination or harassment has been received by management, the proper member of management will immediately investigate the matter in accordance with the investigation procedure.
  • If, after a thorough and prompt investigation, it is determined that discrimination or harassment has occurred, the employee who has been found to have committed such acts  will immediately receive corrective action in accordance with the corrective action procedures. The complaining and/or reporting employee or patron will be informed of the results of the investigation.
  • If, after the investigation, it is determined that no discrimination or harassment occurred or that there is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not such discrimination or harassment has occurred, the complaining employee and/or reporting employee or patron will be informed.
  • Employees making a complaint of discrimination or harassment or who are asked to participate in an investigation shall not be retaliated against for good faith participation.

COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

Any employee or patron who believes that they have been the subject of discrimination or harassment, or any employee who has witnessed an incident(s) of such, should report the matter(s) to their supervisor immediately.

Reporting Procedure

  • Any employee who believes that they have been the subject of or witness to acts of discrimination or harassment should immediately report the alleged act(s) to their supervisor, human resources, or the Executive Director.
  • If the immediate supervisor is the subject of the complaint, the employee should report to the next higher ranking person in the facility’s table of organization, or to a member of the CRCPL Board.
  • Should any of the above be the subject of the complaint, the employee or patron should report the matter to the Ross County Prosecuting Attorney.
  • The employee or patron alleging discrimination or harassment will be asked to put their complaint in writing. The employee should provide:
    • Their name;
    • The name of the subject of the complaint;
    • The act(s) complained of;
    • The date(s) of the act(s);
    • Any witnesses to the alleged acts; and
    • The remedy the employee is seeking.
  • If the employee alleging discrimination or harassment is unwilling to make a report in writing, then the person to whom the verbal complaint was made should submit the report in writing.
  • After the written complaint has been received, the complaint will promptly be investigated by the CRCPL Executive Director, Human Resources Manager, or other management authorities.
  • Prompt action by the CRCPL will be taken to end the harassment immediately.

Corrective Action Procedure

When it is determined that there is cause for believing that discrimination or harassment has occurred, the following steps will be followed:

  • The accused party will immediately be suspended with pay or temporarily transferred pending the final resolution of the complaint.
  • A meeting will be held during which the accusation will be explained to the accused party, and the accused party will be given the opportunity to respond.
  • Subsequent to the investigation a final determination will be made. If it is determined that a prima facie case of discrimination or harassment has been established, the accused employee will be notified. An employee found guilty of such may, depending upon the severity of their action(s), be given the option of being immediately suspended without pay until such time as the employee completes a program in discrimination and/or harassment awareness conducted by a recognized professional.  All costs for this program will be borne by the employee. Upon successful completion of the program, the employee may apply for reinstatement and will be reinstated upon presenting proof of successful completion of the program. The reinstatement will be conditional upon the employee’s good behavior. Any future act of discrimination or harassment by the employee will result in immediate termination without recourse to this option or resignation.
  • If the employee elects resignation, the employee must sign an agreement waiving any and all claims arising from the employee’s employment, before CRCPL will accept the resignation and forego termination proceedings.
  • Any employee that makes a false statement and/or false accusations during the investigation will be subject to appropriate corrective action in accordance with CRCPL policy.

5.9 WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

We are committed to providing a safe workplace. There is no tolerance for acts or threats of physical or verbal violence (including intimidation, harassment, or coercion) which involve or affect employees or which occur on Library’s property. Any instance of violence or intimidation must be reported immediately, either by a victim or a witness, to a supervisor. Such conduct will be met with the strongest corrective action, up to and including termination, the use of law enforcement, and the use of criminal prosecution measures.

Workplace violence often starts with inappropriate behavior or signs that when detected and reported may help prevent its occurrence. The following information may be helpful in detecting or anticipating workplace violence and help create a safer, healthier workplace for everyone.

Threats

  • Physical conduct such as pushing, shoving, or striking that causes harm or has the potential to harm people or property.
  • Conduct that harasses, disrupts or interferes with another individual’s performance.
  • Conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment.

Risk Factors

  • Ongoing conflicts between coworkers
  • Corrective actions
  • Termination of employment
  • Domestic or family violence
  • Financial problems

Potential Warning Signs

  • Verbal, nonverbal or written threats
  • Fascination with weapons or violence
  • New or increased stress at home or work
  • Expressions of hopelessness or anxiety
  • Insubordinate behaviors
  • Dramatic change in work performance
  • Destruction of property
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Blaming others for problems

If violence occurs or there is an immediate threat of violence: Leave the area immediately if possible. If you are unable to leave the area try to lock yourself in a secure room. Then dial 911 and provide law enforcement with as much information as possible.

5.10 E-MAIL

Work e-mail is a library resource provided primarily for conducting CRCPL business. In addition to intra-library communication, it may be used to access work-related listservs or for professional correspondence. It is not appropriate to use e-mail for solicitation or advertising to staff. Library provided e-mail service is neither private nor protected; it is the property of CRCPL and its use may be monitored.

5.11 MOBILE TELEPHONE

Mobile phones may be provided to employees in certain positions as determined by the Executive Director to help increase library productivity and/or safety. Personal use of library mobile phones is strongly discouraged although administration recognizes that this is sometimes unavoidable. Employees who use mobile phones will be given a copy of the itemized monthly statement and will be required to audit the bill for personal usage. All personal phone usage (calls, text messages, etc.) must be reimbursed. Calls will be reimbursed at a rate determined by the Board of Trustees. CRCPL reserves the right to audit and review mobile telephone bills to ensure their proper usage. In order to help ensure the safety of employees while reducing the library’s liability in the event of an accident, mobile phones are not to be used by employees while driving. Mobile phones are the property of the library and all equipment must be returned upon termination of employment.

5.12 VEHICLE USE

Only staff members who have been approved by the Chief Fiscal Officer may operate any library vehicle.

Employees are prohibited from using library vehicles for any purpose other than official business. Unless related to library business, passengers are prohibited from riding in any of the library’s vehicles or in an employee’s personal vehicle while the employee is on library-related business.

The driver and any passengers must use seat belts, as already required by state law, and a driver is prohibited from using a cellular phone, including hands-free devices. This requirement pertains to both the use of library vehicles and the use of personal vehicles while on Library business.

Employees are not permitted to operate library vehicles, or personal vehicles on library business, when any physical or mental impairment may cause them to be unable to drive safely. This also includes temporary incapacities such as illness, medication or intoxication.

An employee must notify a supervisor or the Executive Director immediately in the event that the employee is cited for any driving violation that limits the employee’s driving privileges; or, involved in an accident while on library-related business using a library or personal vehicle. An employee who is cited or deemed responsible by official records for a vehicular accident, parking, speeding, or other violation while on library business will be required to pay for the ticket (violation) and may be subject to corrective action up to and including termination.