It's The Law
There are certain state and federal laws that affect employment. We refer to them briefly here so that you can be aware of them. For more information, talk to your supervisor or Human Resources.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
We will strive to make reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability so that they can perform the essential functions of a job:
- unless doing so causes a direct threat to these individuals or others in the workplace
- and the threat cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation
- and/or if the accommodation creates an undue hardship to HomeWorks.
Please contact your supervisor and Human Resources with any questions or requests for accommodation.
HomeWorks will comply with all federal and state laws concerning the employment of persons with disabilities and act in accordance with regulations and guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Furthermore, HomeWorks will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in regard to application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training or other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.
We expect all of our employees to treat each other and our guests with courtesy, consideration and respect. Any intentional or unintentional harassment that relates to a protected characteristic, is sexual in nature, or has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment that unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunity is not allowed.
Protected characteristics are defined as race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, status as a disabled veteran or veteran, or any other protected characteristic.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and all other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual or otherwise offensive nature.
If you feel you have been subjected to any of the conduct identified above, you should immediately report the matter to Human Resources and your supervisor. (See Board Policy 208)
Equal Employment Opportunities
We're committed to hiring high performing people at HomeWorks. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, age, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a disabled veteran or veteran or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.
Employment decisions at HomeWorks are based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. These employment decisions include hiring, placement, promotion, discipline, termination, transfer, compensation, benefits, training, employee activities and general treatment during employment. (See Board Policy 301)
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
You are eligible for Family Medical Leave when you have worked for HomeWorks full-time for at least 12 months. FML allows you to take unpaid job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, under the same terms and conditions as if you had not taken leave. Earned vacation and sick time will be paid during your leave until it is used up.
Family Medical Leave provides for up to 12 weeks of leave in a rolling 12-month period:
- for the birth and care of a child, within one year of birth;
- if you adopt or foster a child, within one year of placement;
- to care for your spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition;
- in case of a serious health condition that makes you unable to perform the essential functions of your job;
- any qualifying exigency when your spouse, child or parent is a covered military member serving in the National Guard or Reserves on active duty, or called to active status.
FML provides for up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for your spouse, child, parent, or next of kin who is a covered service member with a serious injury or illness. This is also known as Military Caregiver Leave.
For details, read the full FML policy. If you wish to use FML, contact your supervisor and Human Resources.
The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is in place to protect your health information. We only collect the data that is needed to enroll and maintain your coverage in our benefit plans. This information is securely stored and only accessible by authorized personnel.
As someone who is serving, or has served, in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other uniformed services, you have rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA is a federal law intended to ensure that persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other uniformed services: (1) are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service.
The law is intended to encourage uniformed service so that the United States can enjoy the protection of those services, staffed by qualified people, while maintaining a balance with the needs of private and public employers who also depend on these same individuals. USERRA protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to perform service in the uniformed services to include certain types of service in the National Disaster Medical System and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service. USERRA affects employment, reemployment and retention in employment, when employees serve in the uniformed services. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services, and applicants to the uniformed services.
Your safety and the safety of our communities is our number one priority and must never be sacrificed for any reason. There is no operating condition which justifies the Cooperative's employees not putting safety first in the performance of their work. The prevention of accidents is a vital part of our everyday work, not an afterthought.
We know from past experiences of the electrical industry that certain work methods and procedures have repeatedly led to accidents causing injury or death. It is not acceptable to sacrifice safety over efficiency and we have zero tolerance for anyone that does not make safety a priority. It is our goal that everyone returns home to their loved ones at the end of the day. (See Board Policy 201)
Grievance, or Whistleblower?
Both the Grievance Procedure and Board Policy 211 - Whistleblower are meant to give you procedures to follow if you believe something has happened that is unfair or wrong. Which should you use?
Whistleblowing concerns are distinct from grievances, which are about an employee's own employment position or work environment and have no additional public interest. A grievance is a matter of personal interest and does not impact on the wider public.
Whistleblowing is defined as “the disclosure by an employee of confidential information which relates to some danger, fraud or other illegal or unethical conduct connected with the workplace, be it of the employer or of his/her fellow employees."
A whistleblowing procedure provides the framework for dealing with serious concerns, including:
- A criminal offence has been, is being, or is likely to be committed
- Suspected fraud
- Malpractice or ill treatment of a member-customer, or a member of the general public
- Repeated ill treatment of a member-customer, or a member of the general public, despite a complaint being made
The Grievance Procedure enables employees both individually and as a group to raise with managers concerns about their work environment, such as terms and conditions of employment; health and safety; relationships at work; new working practices; organisational change; or equal opportunities (this is not an exhaustive list.)
HomeWorks employees should be treated fairly, and receive prompt responses to problems and concerns. While the cooperative encourages informal resolution of complaints, the following grievance procedure is available to provide prompt and responsible resolution of issues raised by any employee. This procedure may be used freely without fear of retaliation, and Human Resources is available to assist at any time.
The process outlined below should be used if an individual disagrees with a supervisor’s action including any disciplinary action. If the problem involves sexual harassment and/or discrimination, reference to those policies should be made to initiate a complaint. When unsure which policy applies, please contact Human Resources for assistance.
1. Discuss your concern with your immediate supervisor within three (3) working days of the situation whenever possible.
2. If your concern is not resolved in Step 1, within three (3) working days of the meeting with your supervisor, put your description of the situation in writing and discuss it with your department manager. (If your department manager is your supervisor, move to Step 3.)
3. If the situation is not settled in Step 2, within five (5) working days after the discussion with the department manager, it should be brought to the General Manager. Within three (3) working days after the General Manager receives notice of the matter, written comments as to each party's position concerning the matter should be submitted to the General Manager.
4. The General Manager, within five (5) regularly scheduled working days after the written comments are received, will settle the grievance. The General Manager's decision will be final.
HomeWorks will not retaliate—and will not tolerate retaliation—against any individual for filing a good-faith complaint with management or for participating in the investigation of any such complaint.
If you act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates an improper practice, questionable or illegal conduct, or a violation of HomeWorks’ policies, you shall be protected from retaliation or adverse employment consequences.
If you have a concern, you should first speak to your immediate supervisor or with a member of management. You may decide that you no longer have a concern, or it may be addressed satisfactorily with some type of corrective action.
If, after speaking with your supervisor, you continue to have reasonable grounds to believe that the concern is valid and has not been acted upon, you should report the concern to the Compliance Officer, who is the General Manager. (See Board Policy 211)