2.1 AT WILL
Nothing in the Library’s Personnel Policy creates, or should be interpreted to create, an employment contract for any specific length of time between the Library and any employee. The Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library is an at-will employer. This means that every employee has the right to terminate his or her employment at any time without cause or notice, and that the Library has the right to terminate the employment of any employee at any time with or without cause or notice. Unless authorized by a written agreement, signed by the president of the Board, no manager or other representative of the Library has the authority to enter into any agreement for employment for any specified period of time.
2.2 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
The Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library is an equal employment opportunity employer. Selection of employees is based solely upon qualifications, training, and aptitude for the position involved. In recognition of the essential rights of all employees and applicants as individuals, it is Library Board policy to recruit, hire, and promote in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, veteran/military status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law or which is unrelated to merit or qualification.
It is the policy of the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library to take affirmative steps to insure that employment and other personnel actions such as rate of compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, return from layoffs, Library-supported training, recommendations for educational tuition assistance, and promotions be administered and conducted without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, veteran/military status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. The Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library is fully committed to comply with all statutes, executive orders and court decisions designed to insure equal treatment to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, veteran/military status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.
- Each employee and applicant for employment shall be advised that any and all charges or potential charges of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, veteran/military status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law claimed by any individual or group of individuals employed or seeking employment in the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library shall be brought to the attention of the Library Director at which time the Director or the Director’s designee will advise the Personnel Committee and will speedily and thoroughly investigate the charge and resolve it within the guidelines promulgated by the various statutes, executive orders and court decisions.
- The Director of the Library shall conduct programs of instruction for all supervisors and employees holding responsible positions on the staff regarding the legal aspects of equal employment and equal treatment requirements as set forth by the various statutes, executive orders, and court decisions, and the procedure for meeting such requirements.
- The Director of the Library shall instruct each supervisor to be responsible for communicating the equal employment policy to each employee under his or her supervision at least annually, and will also be responsible for including equal employment and equal treatment training in all new employment orientations programs, if any.
- The Director of the Library shall arrange for all job advertising and other appropriate publications and communications to contain the statement, “The Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library is an equal opportunity employer.”
- A variety of recruiting methods will be used by the Library to increase the opportunities for employment of those persons in the protected classes. The Library will cultivate communication channels with representatives of minority groups, civic and community organizations.
- The Director shall arrange for written notification of the Library’s policy to be included in any request or advertisement for bids on materials, supplies or labor.
- In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Library will provide reasonable accommodation to employees who are qualified individuals with a disability as long as it does not cause undue hardship for the Library. Employees should request accommodations from the Director.
Job vacancies will usually be posted on the Library’s website. Jobs can be posted internally and externally at the same time. Under certain circumstances, the Library reserves the right to post positions internally only and fill jobs through transfers, reorganizations, etc. without posting them on the web site. Employees must have been employed by the library for at least three months before applying for a vacant position. Applications will only be accepted for a specific position, and only when it is announced by the Director. Inactive applications will be retained according to the Library’s public records policy; unsolicited applications will be destroyed on receipt.
The hiring manager will prescreen the applications and select for interviews those applicants deemed most qualified. Internal candidates will be chosen based on factors such as the employee’s experience, performance assessments, and disciplinary record. External candidates will be reviewed based on their experience and any materials submitted with their application. The Library will also consider any special requirements for the position when reviewing internal and external candidates. The hiring manager or interview team will interview all such applicants and select the best applicant for the job. Upon acceptance of an offer, all unsuccessful interviewed applicants will be notified of the selection.
In keeping with Ohio Ethics Commission opinions (Adv. Op. No. 80-001), a “family member” includes the following relatives, regardless of where they reside: (1) spouse; (2) children (whether dependent or not); (3) siblings; (4) parents; (5) grandparents; and (6) grandchildren. It also includes any other person related by blood or by marriage and living in the same household.
Family members of Library Trustees, Director, Fiscal Officer, and any Library employee are not eligible for employment. If these relationships are established by marriage, they are terminated by death or divorce of a spouse.
Current employees who are family members, or who marry or become related by marriage while both employees are employed by the Library, are not permitted to supervise a family member. In the event one employee is currently in the supervisory chain of the other, the Library will first attempt to place both family members in an appropriate job situation. If the Library is unable to do so one of the employees will be required to terminate employment. The Library will have the discretion to select which employee will terminate employment based on their position, performance, years of experience, and any other relevant criteria. Former employees are not eligible for re-hire until or unless the relationship with a current employee ceases to exist. Employees may not participate in decisions regarding the hiring of family members whether as contractors or vendors.
2.5 BACKGROUND CHECKS
Prior to extending an offer of employment, or at other times during employment with the Library, as appropriate, the Library may conduct a detailed reference / background / credit / criminal check of an applicant or employee. All reference / background / credit / criminal checks will be in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The Library will conduct a criminal background check of any candidate who is being considered for employment.
The Library will conduct a driving record check of any candidate who is being considered for employment in a position where driving a Library vehicle is one of the job duties.
2.6 PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
A job performance evaluation is designed to provide an opportunity for open discussion between the employee and her or his immediate supervisor concerning job performance and work relationships. Each employee’s performance is evaluated formally at regular intervals by her or his immediate supervisor. Informal performance feedback should be a routine part of the supervisor/employee relationship. An employee with substandard performance may be considered for remedial action or dismissal.
The annual performance evaluation process is an opportunity for supervisors and employees to discuss job-related tasks, goals, and skills, and to acknowledge accomplishments and performance. It is also a time to set goals, evaluate training needs, and help with career planning. The evaluation may also provide information for future decisions, such as, but not limited to, promotions or transfers.
All regular full-time and part-time employees are evaluated annually. Evaluations are completed by the employee’s immediate supervisor and forwarded to the Director or the Director’s designee prior to any discussion with the employee about the evaluation.
The completed evaluation form is reviewed by the supervisor and the employee together. Employees are encouraged to openly discuss their performance and goal attainment with their supervisors.
Completed performance evaluations are to be signed by the employee and the supervisor. By signing the evaluation form, the employee indicates that she or he has read and discussed it with the supervisor, not necessarily that the employee agrees with the evaluation. The employee also may attach written comments to the evaluation form; all such comments will be read and initialed by the Director. The evaluation will be maintained in the employee’s official personnel file.
2.7 CORRECTIVE COUNSELING
All managers and supervisors are responsible for holding their staff accountable for upholding the policies, procedures and standards of the Library. Managers should regularly engage in job counseling and coaching sessions with their employees to provide them with feedback on their performance. The Library does (depending on the severity of the offense) retain the right to administer disciplinary action in any manner it deems fit, up to and including immediate discharge.
Behavior which will result in corrective counseling includes, but is not limited to:
- Unsatisfactory work performance
- Violation of the Library’s ethics policy (Personnel Policy section 5.1)
- Working on personal matters while on duty
- Disruptive activity in the workplace
- Excessive absenteeism and tardiness
- Absence without notice or any unauthorized absence
- Disregard of safety rules or practices
- Creating or contributing to hazardous, unhealthy, unsafe, or unsanitary conditions
- Sleeping during working hours
- Unauthorized disclosure of confidential information
- Violation of the Library’s policies regarding use of computers, e-mail, telephone, or other electronic communications equipment
- Smoking in unauthorized areas
- Refusing to cooperate with a Library investigation
The normal progression of corrective counseling or disciplinary action, subject to modifications and dependent upon the severity of the infraction, is:
- Written counseling
- First written warning
- Second written warning and suspension
All corrective counseling and/or disciplinary action must be approved by the Director or the Director’s designee. Signed copies will be shared with the employee and become a permanent part of the employee’s personnel file. The length of a suspension will be based on the severity of the infraction. Generally, corrective counseling dating back more than one year will not be considered when counseling an employee, unless the employee has demonstrated a pattern of behavior. Employees are not eligible for promotion within 12 months of a disciplinary action.
Some violations may result in immediate discharge. These include but are not limited to:
- Sexual harassment
- Falsifying a job application or other Library document
- Theft or attempted theft
- Destruction of property
- Defrauding the Library
- Threatening or verbally abusing a patron or employee
- Possession of a weapon
- Possession or consumption of alcohol or drugs
- Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Manufacture, distribution and dispensation of drugs
- Failing or refusing a drug or alcohol test
- Conviction of a drug crime or felony
- Accepting gifts that call into question the integrity of the Library
- Unauthorized use of Library computer resources, telephones, or letterhead
- Acts detrimental to the Library
- Job abandonment
- Fraudulent behavior
- Timecard falsification
Nothing in this policy limits the employee’s right or the Library’s right to terminate employment at any time, with or without cause or notice.
Grievances include the occasions when an employee feels he or she has been unjustly treated, and those where there is an allegation that the Library has failed to provide a condition of employment formally agreed upon. Any grievance procedure must be initiated within 30 days of the incident or occurrence complained of.
Any employee with a grievance must:
First discuss it fully with the immediate supervisor. A written record of this meeting will be prepared by the supervisor.
If they are unable to resolve the matter, the grievant will put the grievance in writing and submit it to the supervisor, requesting a written response within two weeks of receipt by the supervisor.
If the complaint is not resolved in Step 2, the employee may, within two weeks from receipt of the supervisor’s response, request a meeting with the Director. At the time of request, documentation will be furnished to the Director. The Director will respond to the grievant in writing.
If the grievance is not resolved at Step 3, within two weeks of the meeting with the Director, the grievant may submit to the Director and to the President of the Board of Trustees a written request for a hearing. The hearing will be scheduled within 30 days.
2.9 SEPARATION OF EMPLOYMENT
Upon separation of employment, employees will be paid for any unused portion of annual vacation leave pro-rated monthly. If the entire leave for the year has been used, a pro-rated amount will be subtracted from the final paycheck. No other unused leave or compensatory time will be compensated except as noted in Section 2.9.2 Retirement.
Any employee is requested to give at least two weeks’ notice of intent to resign, through the Library Director, to the Board. The reason for resigning and the date upon which the resignation will take effect should be included in this notice.
Retirement is defined as an employee resigning his or her position and being awarded Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) retirement benefits. Retiring employees will be compensated for 25% of accumulated unused sick leave at their current rate of pay upon retirement. Sick leave accumulation for this purpose is capped at 120 days, and includes only sick leave accumulated while employed by this Library. Any other retirement benefits are determined according to OPERS.
2.9.3 Suspensions, Terminations and Dismissals
All employees of the Library serve at-will, which means that the employment relationship may be terminated at any time with or without notice or cause by either the employee or the Library. The Library Director has the authority to dismiss or recommend dismissal of employees as specified by Article V of Bylaws. The Director may suspend, with pay, any employee pending action by the Board of Trustees. The Director also has full authority to suspend an employee with or without pay for up to three days to protect property or for disciplinary reasons.
Unless an employee is on an approved leave, failure to report to work or contact the employee’s work location regarding an absence from work for three consecutive scheduled work days shall constitute job abandonment. Job abandonment shall be grounds for termination of employment, effective retroactively to the end of the employee’s last work shift prior to the unexcused absence. Extenuating circumstances will be taken under consideration.
In the event of the death of an employee, final wage payment shall be made to the estate of the deceased. Payment of accrued vacation leave shall be made to the estate of the deceased.
2.9.6 Reductions in Workforce
The Library strives to provide a stable work environment for its employees. Generally, a reduction in workforce may be implemented for reasons that include but are not limited to the following:
- A budget reduction and/or funding changes
- Programmatic changes that result in the elimination of, or decrease in services
- Reorganization that results in shifting of responsibilities or elimination of certain tasks
- Business process improvements that change work to the extent that a position(s) is no longer required; or
- Other organizational changes that may prompt an adjustment to staffing
In an effort to avoid reducing positions due to budget cuts and/or funding changes the Library reserves the right to consider implementing temporary layoffs, employee furloughs, reduction of hours and/or compensation to achieve the necessary budget reduction prior to, or in lieu of lay-off.
If a reduction in workforce occurs, an effort will be made to accomplish the staff reduction through normal attrition and administrative transfers to lateral or comparable vacant positions. When a staff reduction is to take place, the Director in consultation with managers shall recommend to the Board the position title(s) in which the reduction should occur and the total number of positions to be reduced under each position title.
Prior to implementing indefinite staff reductions through layoff as outlined in the following paragraphs, the Library will solicit for employees interested in a voluntary layoff. Request for voluntary layoff must be submitted within five days after a staff reduction is announced. A voluntarily laid-off employee has all of the rights, responsibilities and benefits of any other laid-off employee. A request for voluntary layoff may not be withdrawn once made.
Staff reduction and layoffs shall be implemented based on the Library’s operational needs. Layoffs within position titles will be based on the following factors considered in sequential order: a) position title and job status, b) length of service, and c) performance assessment.
Layoff by job status within a position title will occur in the following order:
- Temporary Employees
- Part-time or Full-time employees within the first year of employment.
- Part-time or Full-time employees based on staffing and schedule needs.
Following position title and job status, employees with the least service time, based on their date of hire at the Library, will be laid off first until the total reduction needs of the department have been met.
If job status, position, and date of hire are equal, the most recent job performance assessment for each employee with the same position title and job status will be compared and the Board will determine in consultation with the Director which employee to retain.
Employees with specialized skills vital to the operation of a department may be exempted from layoff.
Employees on a leave of absence at time of layoff may be laid off if their position is identified using the above criteria.
Should any vacant positions remain, for which staffing has been approved, they will be offered to employees designated for layoff. Employees must meet the minimum qualifications required for the vacant position. These positions will be offered to employees whose qualifications best fit the position requirements.
Employees will be provided advanced written notification of layoff. Written notice will be sent by certified letter mailed to the most recent address furnished by the employee. A layoff notice will normally contain:
- The reason for layoff
- The date the layoff becomes effective
- The employee’s recall rights
A laid off employee shall retain recall rights for one year following the date of layoff; after one year, an employee loses all recall rights and must seek reemployment as a new employee.
Employees will be recalled to work in order by:
- Position Title and Status previously held within the past 10 years
- Length of service
- Performance assessment
The Library will not hire, promote or transfer any employee into a position title until all qualified employees on layoff within the same position title are offered reinstatement.
A recalled employee who has previously received their proportionate amount of vacation leave payout upon layoff will begin with a zero balance. All other leave benefits will be re-established at their previous existing levels upon recall.
Failure to accept reinstatement to their previous position within the system for which an employee is qualified terminates the employee’s employment recall rights. Recall rights do not apply to staffing adjustments made through temporary layoffs, employee furloughs, and reduction of hours and/or compensation.
An employee subject to recall will normally be notified by certified mail to the address furnished by the employee to Library administration. The notification letter will provide specific information which identifies the position by title, work location and provides a time period to respond and expected return to work date. The notice will inform the employee that failure to accept recall will terminate the employee’s recall rights.
Upon notice of recall, an employee must notify the Library of his or her intention to return or not return to work within three working days and must report within seven working days unless absent due to extraordinary circumstances (illness, injury, notification to current employer, etc.). A request for an extension of time to report to work must be received prior to the reporting date. Failure to notify the Library waives the employee’s right to further recall.
In addition to, or in lieu of indefinite layoff, the Library may implement temporary layoffs, employee furloughs, reduction of hours and/or compensation as necessary to address budget reductions, funding changes or other organizational changes that may prompt an adjustment to staffing. Ongoing staffing adjustments under this section may be implemented regardless of the recall provisions of this policy.
2.10 PERSONNEL RECORDS
Personnel records are retained in the administrative offices, the Library records room, and in the payroll and accounting computer system. The Director, Fiscal Officer, and Deputy Fiscal Officer have access to these files for business purposes. An employee’s supervisors, with the permission of the Director, Fiscal Officer, or Deputy Fiscal Officer, may have access to an employee’s documentation for business purposes.
Requests by members of the public, or non-supervisory or administrative Library staff, for access to employee personnel records will be honored as required by law following the procedures described in the Library’s Public Access to Library Records Policy (Public Services Policy, Section 8), and the employees affected will be informed of any request to view their personnel records. All employees have the right to inspect their own personnel files.
Personnel files may include a variety of documents relating to employees’ employment including: forms relating to hiring, payroll, transfer, and promotion; performance evaluations and supporting documents; disciplinary records; letters of reference; records of attendance at workshops and other training; emergency contact information; letters of commendation, etc.
Any individually identifiable health information covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Privacy Rule is not subject to public records requests.
Any documentation pertaining to an individual employee’s behavior or work performance that is placed in an employee’s permanent personnel folder must be initialed or signed by the employee as indication of the employee’s knowledge of the document (the employee’s signature does not necessarily imply agreement). The employee may write a response to any material in the file; the response will be attached to the file copy of the material at the written request of the employee.
Employees may submit materials for inclusion in their personnel files.