Article A: General Provisions

Purpose:

It is the purpose of these policies to establish procedures which shall serve as a guide to administrative action concerning the various personnel activities and operations of the Athens Regional Library System. They are intended to indicate the usual and most reasonable methods for carrying out the aims of the personnel program, consistent with each of the following principles:

  1. Recruiting, selecting, and advancing employees on the basis of their relative ability, knowledge, and skills, including open consideration of qualified applicants for initial appointment.
  2. Providing equitable and adequate compensation.
  3. Training employees as needed, and as practicable, to assure high quality performance.
  4. Retaining employees on the basis of the adequacy of their performance, correcting inadequate performance, and separating employees whose inadequate performance cannot be corrected.
  5. Assuring fair treatment to applicants and employees in all aspects of personnel administration without regard to political affiliation, race, color, national origin, sex, creed, or handicap and with proper regard for their privacy and constitutional rights as citizens.
  6. Assuring that employees are protected against coercion for partisan political purposes and are prohibited from using their official authority for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office.

Objectives:

The objectives of this manual are to clarify and make consistent library personnel policies and procedures. Use of this manual should:

  1. Promote understanding and consistent application of library policy and procedure.
  2. Standardize the handling of recurring matters.
  3. Identify authority and responsibility for personnel policy and procedure administration.
  4. Provide a working guide for use in training new staff.
  5. Provide a point of reference in reviewing and improving policies, procedures and practices.

Positions Covered:

These personnel rules and regulations cover all library positions.

Administration:

The policies and procedures are the primary guidelines for decision-making and actions in personnel matters.

These policies and procedures shall be administered and enforced by the Library Director, as empowered by the Athens Regional Library System Board of Trustees. The Library Board shall have the authority to employ, evaluate and/or terminate the Athens Regional Library System Director. The Library Director will have the authority to employ, evaluate and/or terminate all staff members as necessary in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws and availability of funds.

While the Athens Regional Library System Director will have final authority on all personnel actions, it is the responsibility of Branch Managers and Team Coordinators to ensure that the policies and procedures are administered in a consistent and impartial manner.

The Branch Manager or Team Coordinator will be responsible for:

  1. Initiation of personnel actions
  2. Assignment of work; supervision of employees
  3. Evaluation of employee performance
  4. Development and implementation of training programs

Policy Changes:

The Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to change these policies by resolution if the changes do not adversely affect the rights of the employee in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Definitions:

  1. Absence: Failure to report for work at the scheduled time or to remain at work as scheduled; includes late arrivals and early departures as well as not reporting at all for a scheduled work shift. (1-19-2017)
  2. Anniversary Date: For record keeping purposes, the anniversary date will be the date of the original appointment in a position.
  3. Compecnsatory Time: Time given in lieu of money for hours worked in excess of the legally allowed number of hours in a work period for scheduled employees.
  4. Days: When the word "days" is used as a method of counting, it means calendar days unless stated otherwise.
  5. Designee: The person to whom the appointing authority delegates certain authority for the administration of library departments.
  6. Exempt Employee: A salaried employee in a position that is exempt from the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). Exempt employees typically perform a job involving a higher level of responsibility, independence, expertise, or decision-making authority. Exempt employees are excluded from specific provisions of federal and state wage and hour laws, and are not required to be paid overtime compensation. The library will follow current United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division rules concerning FLSA designations to determine which employees are considered exempt. (1-19-2017)
  7. Family member: For the purposes of sick leave, the immediate family is defined as parent, child, spouse, domestic partner, or legal dependent, including step-family relationships. For the purposes of bereavement leave, the family definition is expanded to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and all corresponding in-law and step-family relationships. Pets or other animals are not included. (1-19-2017)
  8. Full-Time Salaried Employee:An employee who is regularly scheduled to work forty hours per week or who is an exempt employee, and who is eligible for all library benefits, including health insurance (subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations of each benefit plan). (1-19-2017)
  9. Handicapped: Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.
  10. Hourly Part-time Employee: An employee who is regularly scheduled to work fewer than 20 hours per week; these employees are not eligible for any benefits provided by the library. (1-19-2017)
  11. Immediate Family: Included are spouse, child, parent, parent-in-law, brother, sister, brother/sister-in-law. grandparent, grandchild, cousin, uncle/aunt, niece/nephew. The definition applies whether the relationship is natural, adoptive, step or foster in nature and is extended to any other person who resides in the employee’s household or who is recognized by law as a dependent of the employee.
  12. Immediate Supervisor: The individual who normally has the responsibility for scheduling, assigning and reviewing the work of the employee and to whom the employee customarily reports for direction and instruction concerned with work assignments on a regular basis. Such supervisors would normally exercise discretionary powers or have authority to recommend disciplinary actions or other changes in employee status.
  13. May: The word "may" is conditional and implies that there is discretion as to whether a condition exists or an act or action will take place.
  14. Non-Exempt Employee:An employee in a position that is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Non-exempt employees are subject to wage and hour laws and must account for all hours and fractional hours worked to ensure payment in accordance with those laws. The library will follow current United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division rules concerning FLSA designations to determine which employees are considered non-exempt. (1-19-2017)
  15. Part-Time Salaried Employee:An employee who is regularly scheduled to work from 20 - 39 hours per week is eligible for retirement benefits and pro-rated leave benefits. Employees working 30 hours per week are also eligible for health insurance benefits (subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations of each benefit plan) but those working 29 hours per week or fewer are not eligible for health insurance benefits. (1-19-2017)
  16. Probationary Period: The initial six (6) months of employment during which an employee is observed for effective performance.
  17. Regular part-time employees: Work 20-39 hours per week and earn benefits.
  18. Shall/Will: These terms are unconditional and state that a condition exists or an act or action will take place.
  19. Tardiness:Failure to report and to begin working at the scheduled time, including returning from breaks.(1-19-2017)
  20. Temporary Employee: An employee who is hired for an assignment of limited duration (usually no more than one year), typically as an on-call substitute for absent staff, or to assume an interim role, to temporarily supplement the work force, or to assist in completion of a specific project. Employment beyond any initially stated period does not in any way imply a change in position status, and temporary employees retain the temporary status unless and until notified of a change. Depending on the position, a temporary employee can be either non-exempt or exempt, and either full-time or part-time. Eligibility to receive benefits is subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations of each benefit plan. (1-19-2017)
  21. Unlawful Discrimination: Employment practices which are prohibited by state or federal laws and which include discrimination because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, mental or physical handicap and political affiliation.
  22. Work Week: The normal work period (7 days) for the library begins at 2 PM Sunday and ends at 6 PM Saturday. No person under the age of 15 shall work beyond 7 PM.
  23. “At-Will” Nature of Employment

    All employees of Athens Regional Library System are “at-will” employees with no expectation of continuing employment. Employment with ARLS is entered into on a voluntary basis, and all employees are employed for an indefinite time period unless specifically arranged by the library Director upon hiring. Either the library or the employee is free to terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason. In order to remain eligible for consideration for re-hire, non-exempt employees should offer two weeks’ notice of resignation; exempt employees should offer one month’s notice. The library’s personnel policy and/or procedures manuals do not create a contract of employment between the library and its employees. Statements of salary in annual, monthly, or weekly intervals are for information purposes and do not create a contract for the specified time.

    No supervisor or other representative of ARLS (except the Library Director) has authority to enter into any agreement for employment for any specified period of time, or to make any agreement contrary to the policy above. Further, any employment agreement entered into by the Library Director will not be enforceable unless it is in writing.

    Immigration Law Compliance

    Athens Regional Library System is committed to full compliance with federal and state immigration laws, and will hire only individuals with the legal right to work in the United States.

    Pursuant to Section 2 of the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, all employees must complete Form I-9 and provide legal documentation of citizenship and / or work status as set forth on the form. Within three business days of hire, the ARLS Personnel Office electronically verifies accuracy of the employee’s Social Security number and the other documentation through the U. S. Department of Homeland Security verification system. In the event of tentative non-confirmation of an employee’s Social Security number, ARLS will follow the procedures designated under the E-Verify Program concerning employee notification, case referral to the Social Security Administration, continued employment during the confirmation process, monitoring of case status, and final confirmation after case resolution. A final non-confirmation from E-Verify will result in immediate termination.

    Should any portion of the related Act, immigration laws, or regulations be amended, modified, revised, or repealed, or if other or additional controlling federal or state immigration laws or regulations become adopted in the future, the processes and requirements set forth in such Act, laws, or regulations shall govern until library policy can be revised.

    ARTICLE A – EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES & LEGAL COMPLIANCE

    A. 3. Equal Employment Opportunity

    The library supports an Affirmative Action process designed to insure that all persons have opportunities in recruitment, selection, appointment, promotion, training, discipline, and related areas. This process is designed to govern employment practices and procedures affecting present and potential library employees. All actions are governed by the principles of selecting the best qualified person for employment without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, age, national origin, handicap or veteran status. (Civil Rights Compliance Statement, Athens Regional Library Board Minutes)

    The library does not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability, in regard to job application procedures: the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees; employee compensation or job training; and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

    That means we are especially careful to avoid illegal activities in the following areas:

    • Failure to make reasonable accommodation.
    • Limiting, segregating or classifying job applicant or employees in a way that hurts their status or opportunity because of a disability.
    • Entering into contracts or other arrangements which subject applicants or employees with a disability to discrimination.
    • Using standards or methods of administration that discriminates on the basis of disability.
    • Excluding or denying equal jobs or benefits to a qualified individual because of the known disability of a person with whom the qualified person is known to have a relationship.
    • Employment tests, qualification standards and selection criteria must be jobrelated for the position and consistent with business necessity.
    • Employment tests, qualification standards and selection criteria must reflect skills and aptitude for the job.

    (Based upon Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)

    It is the policy of the Athens Regional Library System to provide equal opportunity to any applicant or employee in all aspects of the personnel system and employment process. Employment with ARLS is based upon personal capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, or medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. Exceptions may be made where a specific age, sex, or physical requirement constitutes a warranted occupational qualification necessary to required, proper, and efficient job performance. 

    Personnel policies and procedures shall at all times be conducted in accordance with applicable current federal, state, and local government guidelines, regulatory provisions, and laws. In achieving compliance, the Library may provide reasonable accommodations to enable an otherwise qualified employee to perform the essential requirements of his or her job. 

    (7-20-2017)

    A. 4. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance

    The library does not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability, in regard to job application procedures: the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees; employee compensation or job training; and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
    That means we are especially careful to avoid illegal activities in the following areas:

    • Failure to make reasonable accommodation.
    • Limiting, segregating or classifying job applicant or employees in a way that hurts their status or opportunity because of a disability.
    • Entering into contracts or other arrangements which subject applicants or employees with a disability to discrimination.
    • Using standards or methods of administration that discriminates on the basis of disability.
    • Excluding or denying equal jobs or benefits to a qualified individual because of the known disability of a person with whom the qualified person is known to have a relationship.
    • Employment tests, qualification standards and selection criteria must be jobrelated for the position and consistent with business necessity.
    • Employment tests, qualification standards and selection criteria must reflect skills and aptitude for the job.

    (Based upon Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)

    Athens Regional Library System is committed to complying fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.). The library does not discriminate against “a qualified individual with a disability” in recruitment, placement, promotion, transfer, reduction in force, separation, training, compensation, benefits, or other employment related activities.

    ARLS will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals to allow them to perform their jobs, provided that the reasonable accommodations would not impose an undue hardship on the library or on the operation of the library’s business.

    (7-20-2017)

    How to Request Accommodation

    An employee must notify the supervisor or Personnel Office that an accommodation is needed because of the employee’s disability or condition. Accommodation will be coordinated with the employee, supervisor, and Administration.

    (7-20-2017)

    A. 5. Discrimination & Harassment

    The Athens Regional Library System does not and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of employees in the workplace.  and employees should understand that a claim of discrimination or sexual harassment bypasses normal grievance procedure. No employee shall be subject to unlawful discrimination or harassment based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, or any other reason. If anyone feels that unwelcome advances or language is interfering with his/her productivity or comfort at the workplace or if he/she feels that any terms or conditions of employment depend on sexual favors, the employee should report that to the Administrative Assistant. (Refer also to the separate Prohibited Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy.)

    The Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment Policy provides for the appointment of the Administrative Assistant who will be charged with the responsibility of carrying out the provisions set forth in the policy and who will receive additional training to perform in this capacity.

    The role of the Administrative Assistant is to be a neutral, confidential face-finder whose basic responsibilities include hearing the complaint, conducting the inquiry, compiling the facts, attempting informal resolution if appropriate, and making a recommendation to the Library Director.

    Procedures for Filing a Complaint:

    • The Library’s Administrative Assistant must be notified immediately of all harassment complaints.
    • The complainant shall contact the Assistant to discuss a complaint of alleged discrimination or harassment. The Grievance Policy and procedures of the Library will be followed.
    • The Assistant will document the case, gather additional information as necessary, and will suggest recommendations for addressing the complaint.
    • The Library Director will determine the appropriate action to take including disciplinary action if warranted. Any and all actions will be included in the formal record.
    • The Administrative Assistant shall disclose to the complainant finds of the inquiry. The Library Director shall disclose to the alleged violator the results of the inquiry and any disciplinary action to be taken. The Library Director will provide information regarding action taken to the Library Board.
    • Any party involved in the inquiry may appeal first to the Library Director and secondly to the Library Board.
    • All information obtained in the fact-finding inquiry shall be held in the strictest confidence by the parties involved. All interviewees, including the complainant and the alleged violator, shall be expected to maintain confidentiality, as so far as possible.

    Policy based on Athens-Clarke County Government Ordinance.

    The Athens Regional Library System does not and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of employees in the workplace. No employee shall be subject to unlawful discrimination or harassment based on race, sex, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, or any other reason.

    It is unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on sex or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    (7-20_2017)

    LEGAL DEFINITION
    (EEOC Sexual Harassment Guidelines of 1980)
    Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of Title VII. “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when”

    • Submission to the verbal or physical harassment is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment.
    • Submission to or rejection of the verbal or physical harassment is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such an individual (promotion, salary, job assignment, hours, vacation).
    • The verbal or physical harassment has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

    Adopted January 12 and 21, 1993 Athens-Clarke and Athens Regional Library Boards

    SEXUAL HARASSMENT

    Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In compliance with applicable federal and state laws, the Library will be a place that is free of any form of harassment, including sexual harassment. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission advises that “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” Sexual harassment also includes the following: unwanted flirtations or propositions; sexually degrading words to describe an individual or group; graphic or suggestive comments; requests for sexual favors. It includes the display in work areas of sexually suggestive pictures or objects, including photographs or illustrations of nude or seminude figures.

    All employees are responsible for assuring that the workplace is free of sexual harassment and should promptly report incidents or possible incidents of sexual harassment to the Library Director, according to established procedures. After investigation, any employee found to have engaged in sexual harassment will be subject to disciplinary actions that range from counseling and education up to, and including, termination of employment.

    Patrons are not permitted to sexually or otherwise harass other patrons or staff members. An employee may refuse to assist a patron if he or she believes that such assistance will require the employee to view printed or computer screen materials that the employee finds to be sexually offensive or interprets as harassment. The Library employee must immediately ask a supervisor for assistance with the patron’s request. Patrons who harass staff or other patrons will be told to leave the library, may be banned according to policy and established procedures, and, if appropriate, the behavior will be reported to local law enforcement authorities.

    (7-20-2017)

    A. 7. Workplace Safety & Security

    The library strives to develop and maintain safe working conditions and encourages its employees to work carefully and safely and to observe the safety rules of their area or branch. Many injuries are caused by carelessness, even though the job itself is not hazardous. The prevention of accidents is basically an individual responsibility.
    The library may hire security services to provide a more secure environment for staff and patrons. The Access Services Coordinator will be responsible for the security staff; the Access Team supervisors will monitor daily security operations. The security guard is responsible for securing the facility each night.
    Only library personnel have access to non-public areas of the building. The code for the security keypad should not be given to anyone other than library personnel.
    All valuables such as purses, wallets, jewelry and money funds should be locked at all times whether offices are occupied or unoccupied. Lost property should be reported to a supervisor immediately.
    An employee injured on the job should report the injury to his supervisor immediately regardless of how slight it might appear and should also indicate where on library property it occurred. The employee’s supervisor and the employee will notify the Administrative Assistant who will notify and provide information to the managed care provider for further instruction. In the event of an extreme medical emergency, an employee may be directed to the hospital emergency room or have an ambulance called.
    An employee can only receive disability benefits for a work related injury if the injury is reported promptly. A slight injury may become quite serious after several days. If the injury is not reported when it occurs, an employee may have difficulty proving that it is work related.

    It is the policy of Athens Regional Library System that every employee is entitled to work under the safest conditions reasonably possible. Every reasonable effort will be made to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace, safe equipment, and proper materials, and to establish and insist upon safe methods and practices at all times.

    (7-20-2017)

    Responsibilities

    It is the basic responsibility of all employees to make safety a part of their daily concerns. Employees are obligated to observe all guidelines and established procedures governing safety and appropriate conduct, to properly use safety equipment provided, to follow common-sense safety practices, and to report all safety-related hazards or incidents to supervisors and/or according to established procedures. Supervisors are expected to conduct and/or implement safety training, monitor the workplace, identify any unsafe conditions, and address safety issues and violations. Branch Managers, Department Heads, and Administration are expected to ensure safe conditions and adhere to safety guidelines within their assigned areas by implementing and training safety practices, coordinating safety inspections, investigating accidents and injuries, and correcting deficiencies.

    (7-20-2017)

    A. 7. a. Workplace Security

    It is the intent of Athens Regional Library System to take the necessary actions to safeguard employees while on the job, as well as to protect ARLS property.

    (7-20-2017)

    Buildings

    Athens Regional Library System controls access to library facilities. Access keys and/or security codes are assigned to employees who are designated as responsible for opening, closing, or securing an assigned area or building. Any employee assigned a key or access code must follow all applicable procedures regarding use of the buildings and equipment. Employees may use access keys and codes only when scheduled or required to be present in facilities. Employees will be required to sign for each key issued to them, and will be held accountable for proper use. Anyone duplicating, possessing, or using access keys or codes in an inappropriate manner or without proper authorization will be subject to disciplinary action or criminal charges where appropriate. All keys remain property of ARLS and must be returned upon request, upon transfer from the responsible position, or upon separation from employment.

    (7-20-2017)

    Personal Property

    The Library is not responsible for any lost, damaged, or stolen personal property of employees. (See also I.4.)

    (7-20-2017)

    A. 7. b. Workplace Violence

    Athens Regional Library System is committed to the prevention of workplace violence and the maintenance of a respectful working environment. Acts of violence and/or threats of violence are strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Workplace violence is any conduct that is severe, offensive, or intimidating enough to make a reasonable individual fear for her or his personal safety or the safety of family, friends, co-workers, or property.

    After investigation, any employee found to have engaged in workplace violence will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment or criminal charges where appropriate.

    (7-20-2017)

    A. 8. Mandated Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

    As a public organization that serves children, Athens Regional Library System is subject to Georgia law governing mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse (O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5). All library staff and volunteers, regardless of whether they work directly with children, are considered mandated reporters under the law and are legally required to report any suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect within 24 hours of witness. Mandated reporters should contact officials as described in local library procedures.

    Newly hired staff will receive training on this topic and the library’s procedures, and reference information will be made available on staff-accessible shared electronic resources. Library volunteers will be informed of their legal obligations.

    Mandated reporters knowingly and willfully failing to report is considered a misdemeanor under the law. It will also be cause for disciplinary action by the Library, up to, and including, termination of employment.

    (7-20-2017)

    F. 2. c. Upholding Library Policy

    All employees are expected to understand and abide by all the approved policies and established procedures of the Athens Regional Library System and its branches. Violation of any ARLS policies or departmental rules and procedures is prohibited. All employees are obligated to uphold, enforce, and apply fairly all library policies to patrons and the general public while on the job.

    (7-20-2017)

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