AVA CARE AND CASE MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
This Handbook is designed to acquaint you with our company and provide you with information about working conditions and some of the policies affecting your employment. This Handbook is not a contract and is not intended to create any contractual or legal obligations, however, you should read, understand, and comply with all provisions of the Handbook. It describes many of your responsibilities as an employee. One of our objectives is to provide a work environment that is conducive to both personal and professional growth.
1. Nature of Employment
Employment with AVA Care and Case Management (AVA Care, Company) is voluntarily entered into and is “at-will,” which means that the employee is free to resign at will at any time, with or without notice or cause. Similarly, Company may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice or cause, so long as there is no violation of applicable federal or state law. No one has the authority to make verbal statements that change the at-will nature of employment, and the at-will relationship cannot be changed or modified for any employee except in a written agreement signed by that employee and an authorized representative of the company. Policies set forth in this Handbook are not intended to create a contract, nor are they to be construed to constitute contractual obligations of any kind or a contract of employment between our company and any of its employees. The provisions of the Handbook have been developed at the discretion of management and, except for its policy of employment-at-will, may be amended or cancelled at any time, at AVA Care’s sole discretion. These provisions supersede all existing policies and practices and may not be amended or added to without the express written approval of the President or person designated by the President of the company.
2. Employee Relations
Our company believes that the work conditions, wages, and benefits it offers to its employees are competitive with those offered by other employers in this area and in this industry. If employees have concerns about work conditions or compensation, they are strongly encouraged to voice these concerns openly and directly to their supervisors. Our experience has shown that when employees deal openly and directly with supervisors, the work environment can be excellent, communications can be clear, and attitudes can be positive. We believe that our company amply demonstrates its commitment to employees by responding effectively to employee concerns.
3. Equal Employment Opportunity
In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals, employment decisions will be based on merit, qualifications, and the needs of the company. AVA Care does not unlawfully discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, ancestry, medical conditions, family care status, sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by law. AVA Care will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in an undue hardship to the extent required by law. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training. Any employees with questions or concerns about any type of discrimination in the workplace are encouraged to bring these issues to the attention of their immediate supervisor or the Human Resources Department. Employees can raise concerns and make reports without fear of reprisal. Anyone found to be engaging in any type of unlawful discrimination will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
4. Employee Conduct and Work Rules
To ensure orderly operations and provide the best possible work environment, our company expects employees to follow rules of conduct that will protect the interests, safety, and integrity of all employees and the organization. It is not possible to list all the forms of behavior that are considered unacceptable in the workplace. In addition several items that may or may not be in this list have been expanded upon below, the following are examples of infractions of rules of conduct that may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment: A.) Theft or inappropriate removal or possession of property B.) Falsification of any records C.)Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs D.) Possession, distribution, sale, transfer, or use of alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace, while on duty or while operating employer-owned vehicles or equipment E.) Fighting or threatening violence in the workplace F.) Boisterous or disruptive activity in the workplace G.) Negligence or improper conduct leading to damage of employer-owned or client-owned property H.) Insubordination or other disrespectful conduct I.) Violation of safety or health rules J.) Smoking in the workplace K.) Sexual or other unlawful or unwelcome harassment L.) Possession of dangerous or unauthorized materials, such as explosives or firearms, in the workplace M.) Handling or concealing any company equipment, check or financial instrument without authorization N.) Failure to report unusual or dangerous incidents or occurrences O.) Inappropriate use, damage or destruction of company property, equipment, or facility P.) Excessive absenteeism or any absence without notice, including arriving late or leaving work prior to the shift end. Q.) Unsatisfactory performance or conduct R.) Sleeping while on duty S.) Leaving a client unattended for any length of time while in the performance of medical services. T.) Conducting business in an illegal or unethical way (see below) U.) Conducting business in a way that violates the policy on conflict of interest (see below) V.) Violation of the non-disclosure policy (see below) W.) Improper use of the mail, email or phone systems (See below) X.) Violation of the visitors policy. (see below) Y.) Unacceptable personal appearance (see below) Z.) Failure to return company property upon request (see below) Nothing is this policy is intended to change the company’s at-will employment policy. Employment with the company is at the mutual consent of both the company and the employee, and either party may terminate that relationship at any time, with or without cause, and with or without advance notice.
5. Business Ethics and Conduct
All business is to be conducted legally and ethically. If any situation arises where it is difficult to determine the proper course of action, the matter should be discussed with your supervisor.
6. Conflicts of Interest
Employees have an obligation to conduct business within guidelines that prohibit actual or potential conflicts of interest. An actual or potential conflict of interest occurs when an employee is in a position to influence a decision that may result in a personal gain for that employee or for a relative as a result of the company’s business dealings. Personal gain may result in cases where an employee or relative has a significant ownership in a firm with which the company does business, or when an employee or relative receives any kickback, bribe, substantial gift, or special consideration as a result of any transaction or business dealings involving the company. For the purposes of this policy, a relative is any person who is related by blood or marriage or whose relationship with the employee is similar to that of persons who are related by blood or marriage
7. Personal Relationships in the Workplace
To maintain a positive professional image and in order to avoid any legal or ethical conflicts, no employee should engage in any dating relationship with any of the staff, clients, vendors, or anyone who services our clients (clients include, but are not limited to any patients, consumers, claimants, or accident victims) if such a relationship creates a conflict of interest or the potential for a conflict of interest. If a dating relationship is established during the employment between an employee and any of the above, it is the responsibility and obligation of the employee involved in the relationship to disclose the existence of the relationship to management. A dating relationship is defined as a relationship that may be reasonably expected to lead to the formation of a consensual “romantic” or any sexual relationship. This policy applies to all employees without regard to the gender or sexual orientation of the individuals involved. In cases where a conflict or the potential for conflict of interest arises because of a relationship, employees may be separated by reassignment or terminated from employment. Under no circumstances should an employee engage in any dating relationship with a current client, as this would create a direct conflict of interest. Employees in a close personal relationship should refrain from public workplace displays of affection or excessive personal conversation.
The protection of confidential business information and trade secrets is vital to the interests and the success of the company. Such confidential information includes, but is not limited to, the following examples: A,) acquisitions B.) compensation data C.) computer processes D.) computer programs and codes E.) client lists and information F.) financial information G.) investments H.) marketing strategies I.)partnerships K.) pending projects and proposals L.) protected information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) All employees may be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement as a condition of employment. Employees who improperly use or disclose trade secrets or confidential business information will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and legal action, even if they do not actually benefit from the disclosed information.
9. Use of Phone and Mail Systems
Personal use of the telephone for long-distance and toll calls is not permitted. Employees should practice discretion when making local personal calls and may be required to reimburse the company for any charges resulting from their personal use of the telephone. To ensure effective telephone communications, employees should always use the approved greeting (“Good Morning, you have reached AVA Care and Case Management, this is ____ speaking…” or “Good Afternoon…,” as applicable) and speak in a courteous and professional manner. Please confirm information received from the caller and hang up only after the caller has done so. The mail system is reserved for business purposes only. Employees should refrain from sending or receiving personal mail at the workplace. The e-mail system is the property of the company. Occasional use of the company e-mail system for personal messages is permitted, within reasonable limits. However, the company will not guarantee the privacy of the e-mail system except to the extent required by law.
10. Visitors in the Workplace
To provide for the safety and security of employees and the facilities at the company, only authorized visitors are allowed in the workplace. Restricting unauthorized visitors helps maintain safety standards, protects against theft, ensures security of equipment, protects confidential information, safeguards employee welfare, and avoids potential distractions and disturbances. All visitors should enter at the main entrance. Authorized visitors will receive directions or be escorted to their destination. Employees are responsible for the conduct and safety of their visitors. If an unauthorized individual is observed on the company’s premises, employees should immediately notify their supervisor or, if necessary, direct the individual to the main entrance.
11. Computer and E-mail Usage
Computers, computer files, the e-mail system, and software furnished to employees are company property intended for business use. Employees should not use a password, access a file, or retrieve any stored communication without authorization. The use of computers and the e-mail system in ways that are disruptive, offensive to others, or harmful to morale is prohibited. For example, the display or transmission of sexually explicit images, messages, and cartoons is not allowed. Other such misuse includes, but is not limited to, ethnic slurs, racial comments, off-color jokes, or anything that may be construed as harassment or showing disrespect for others. Employees should notify their immediate supervisor, or any member of management upon learning of violations of this policy. Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
12. Internet Usage
All Internet data that is composed, transmitted, or received via our computer communications systems is considered to be part of the official records of the company. Employees should expect only the level of privacy that is warranted by existing law and no more. Consequently, employees should always ensure that the business information contained in Internet e-mail messages and other transmissions is accurate, appropriate, ethical, and lawful. Any questions regarding the legal effect of a message or transmission should be brought to our General Counsel. Data that is composed, transmitted, accessed, or received via the Internet must not contain content that could be considered discriminatory, offensive, obscene, threatening, harassing, intimidating, or disruptive to any employee or other person. Examples of unacceptable content may include, but are not limited to, sexual comments or images, racial slurs, gender-specific comments, or any other comments or images that could reasonably offend someone on the basis of race, age, sex, religious or political beliefs, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law. The unauthorized use, installation, copying, or distribution of copyrighted, trademarked, or patented material on the Internet is expressly prohibited. As a general rule, if an employee did not create material, does not own the rights to it, or has not gotten authorization for its use, it should not be put on the Internet. Employees are also responsible for ensuring that the person sending any material over the Internet has the appropriate distribution rights. Any questions regarding the use of such information should be brought to our General Counsel. Internet users should take the necessary anti-virus precautions before downloading or copying any file from the Internet. All downloaded files are to be checked for viruses; all compressed files are to be checked before and after decompression. Abuse of the Internet access provided by the company in violation of the law or the company policies will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Employees may also be held personally liable for any violations of this policy. The following behaviors are examples of prohibited actions that can result in disciplinary action: A.) Engaging in unauthorized transactions that may incur a cost to the organization or initiate unwanted Internet services and transmissions B.) Attempting to break into the computer system of another organization or person C.) Copying, pirating, or downloading software and electronic files without permission D.) Using the internet to discuss client/patient information outside of directed utilization E.) Sending or posting confidential material, trade secrets, or proprietary information outside of the organization F.) Jeopardizing the security of the organization’s electronic communications systems G.) Refusing to cooperate with a security investigation H.) Violating copyright law I.) Failing to observe licensing agreements J.) Stealing, using, or disclosing someone else’s code or password without authorization K.) Sending or posting messages or material that could damage the organization’s image or reputation L.) Sending or posting messages that disparage another organization’s products or services M.) Sending or posting discriminatory, harassing, or threatening messages or images N.) Participating in the viewing or exchange of pornography or obscene materials O.) Sending or posting messages that defame other individuals P.) Sending or posting chain letters, solicitations, or advertisements not related to business purposes or activities Q.) Passing off personal views as representing those of the organization R.) Sending anonymous e-mail messages S.) Engaging in any other illegal activities
13. Personal Appearance
During business hours or when representing the company, you are expected to present a clean, neat, and tasteful appearance. You should dress and groom yourself according to the requirements of your position and accepted social standards. Your supervisor is responsible for establishing a reasonable dress code appropriate to the job you perform. If your supervisor feels that your personal appearance is inappropriate, you may be asked to leave the workplace until you are properly dressed or groomed. Under such circumstances, you will not be compensated for the time away from work. Consult your supervisor if you have questions as to what constitutes appropriate appearance. Where necessary, reasonable accommodation may be made for a person with a disability.
14. Cell Phone Use While Driving
While the use of cell phones during working hours or work work-related activities is not prohibited, it is the company’s policy that cell phones be used in a safe and legal manner. If at all possible, an employee should wait to make or receive a call until they are no longer driving. However, if a call must be taken, employees are encouraged to use a hands-free device or, if in the circumstances it is safe to do so, pull over to a safe location before making use of the phone. Employees are also required to follow any and all applicable State and local laws while using their cell phones, such as no texting while driving.
15. Time Off
Except as required under State or Federal Law, there is no compensation for time not spent working; there is no paid time off, and no paid vacations. To the extent that there is any compensation for such time, paid time off is neither earned nor accrued, and has no cash value. If employees must take time off, they are required to notify the employer as soon as they are aware of the conflict in their schedule. Notification of such a conflict does not guarantee an employee will be allowed this time off; failure to show up for a scheduled shift is grounds for dismissal. Nothing in this paragraph or any of the policies in this handbook should be construed to alter the at-will nature of employment
Any request for reimbursements must be accompanied by the appropriate proofs of expense, such as a receipt. Reimbursement will only be for expenses actually incurred. Travel expenses in certain exceptional circumstances may be reimbursed by AVA Care. In such a case, the employee must furnish documentary evidence, such as a mileage log, to substantiate any travel expenses. In addition, reimbursement for hotel accommodations or and/or meals or incidental expenses is not to exceed the amount listed in IRS publication 1542, or on the US General Services Administration website for the particular amount give a particular date and location, or other government website as applicable. AVA Care will, with the appropriate documentation, reimburse mileage up to a maximum of $0.56 (56 cents) per mile for authorized, business related travel only.
AVA Care is fully committed to safety and will fully enforce all safety guidelines. In addition to the many other policies throughout this handbook which address safety, employees should be especially cognizant of the Employee Conduct and Work Rules, the Visitors Policy and the policy regarding Cell Phone Use While Driving. No employee should act in such a way as to cause any dangerous situation to arise at any time. If any employee learns of any dangerous situation or any violation of a policy which could create a potentially dangerous situation inside or around the workplace, they should immediately notify their supervisor so that appropriate action may be taken.
18. Return of Property
Employees are responsible for all company property, materials, or written information issued to them or in their possession or control. Employees must return all company property immediately upon request or upon termination of employment. Where permitted by applicable laws, the company may withhold from the employee’s check or final paycheck the cost of any items that are not returned when required. The company may also take all action deemed appropriate to recover or protect its property.