6. Conduct and Disciplinary Action



To ensure orderly operations and provide the best possible work environment, Therapeutic Dog Services expects members /employee/volunteers to follow rules of conduct that will protect the interests and safety of all and the organisation.

It is not possible to list all the forms of behaviour that are considered unacceptable in the workplace. The following are examples of infractions of rules of conduct that may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of membership:

  • Theft or inappropriate removal or possession of property

  • Falsification of timekeeping records

  • Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs

  • 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

  • Fighting or threatening violence in the workplace

  • Boisterous or disruptive activity in the workplace

  • Negligence or improper conduct leading to damage of employer-owned or customer-owned property

  • Insubordination or other disrespectful conduct

  • Violation of safety or health rules

  • Sexual or other unlawful or unwelcome harassment

  • Possession of dangerous or unauthorised materials, such as explosives or firearms, in the workplace

  • Excessive absenteeism or any absence without notice

  • Unauthorised use of telephones, mail system, or other employer-owned equipment

  • Unauthorised disclosure of business "secrets" or confidential information

  • Violation of personnel policies

  • Unsatisfactory performance or conduct

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6.1 CONDUCT AND WORK RULES

Therapeutic Dog Services is committed to providing a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive, including sexual harassment. Actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual's sex, race, colour, national origin, age, religion, disability, or any other legally protected characteristic will not be tolerated.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This definition includes many forms of offensive behaviour and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser. The following is a partial list of sexual harassment examples:

  • Unwanted sexual advances.

  • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.

  • Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.

  • Visual conduct that includes leering, making sexual gestures, or displaying of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, or posters.

  • Verbal conduct that includes making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or jokes.

  • Verbal sexual advances or propositions.

  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, sexually degrading words, or suggestive or obscene letters or invitations.

  • Physical conduct that includes touching, assaulting, or impeding or blocking movements.

Unwelcome sexual advances (either verbal or physical), requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of membership.

1: submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of membership.

2: submission or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for making employment decisions; or,

3: the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment

If you experience or witness sexual or other unlawful harassment in the workplace, report it immediately to your supervisor. If the supervisor is unavailable or you believe it would be inappropriate to contact that person, you should immediately contact the human resources department or any other member of management. You can raise concerns and make reports without fear of reprisal or retaliation.

All allegations of sexual harassment will be quickly and discreetly investigated. To the extent possible, your confidentiality and that of any witnesses and the alleged harasser will be protected against unnecessary disclosure. When the investigation is completed, you will be informed of the outcome of the investigation.

Any supervisor or manager who becomes aware of possible sexual or other unlawful harassment must immediately advise Therapeutic Dog Services board or any member of management so it can be investigated in a timely and confidential manner. Anyone engaging in sexual or other unlawful harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or membership.

6.3 ATTENDANCE AND PUNCTUALITY

To maintain a safe and productive work environment, Therapeutic Dog Service expects employees to be reliable and to be punctual in reporting for scheduled work. Absenteeism and tardiness place a burden on other employee/volunteers and on Therapeutic Dog Services. In the rare instances when employees / volunteers cannot avoid being late to work or are unable to work as scheduled, they should notify their supervisor as soon as possible in advance of the anticipated tardiness or absence. Poor attendance and excessive tardiness are disruptive. Either may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment/membership/volunteering.

6.4 PERSONAL APPEARANCE

Dress, grooming, and personal cleanliness standards contribute to the morale of all members and affect the business image Therapeutic Dog Services presents to customers and visitors.

During business hours or when representing Therapeutic Dog Services, 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. This is particularly true if your job involves dealing with customers or visitors in person.

Your supervisor or department head is responsible for establishing a reasonable dress code appropriate to the job you perform. Consult your supervisor if you have questions as to what constitutes appropriate appearance. Where necessary, reasonable accommodation may be made to a person with a disability.

Without unduly restricting individual tastes, the following personal appearance guidelines should be followed:

  • Jeans, Bermuda’s, t-shirt, and shorts do not present appropriate professional attire.

  • Unnaturally coloured hair and extreme hairstyles, such as spiked hair and shaved heads, do not present an appropriate professional appearance.

  • Offensive body odor and poor personal hygiene is not professionally acceptable.

  • Facial jewelry, such as eyebrow rings, nose rings, lip rings, and tongue studs, is not professionally appropriate and must not be worn during business hours.

  • Multiple ear piercings (more than one ring in each ear) are not professionally appropriate and must not be worn during business hours.

  • Visible excessive tattoos and similar body art must be covered during business hours.

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6.5 RETURN OF PROPERTY

Members are responsible for all Therapeutic Dog Services property, materials, or written information issued to them or in their possession or control. Members must return all Therapeutic Dog Services property immediately upon request or upon termination of employment, membership, or volunteering. Where permitted by applicable laws, Therapeutic Dog Services may withhold from the employee's the deposit held for uniforms and the cost of any items that are not returned when required. Therapeutic Dog Services may also take all action deemed appropriate to recover or protect its property.

6.6 RESIGNATION

Resignation is a voluntary act initiated by the employee/volunteer to terminate employment with Therapeutic Dog Services. Although advance notice is not required, Therapeutic Dog Services requests at least 2 weeks' written notice of resignation from employees or members Prior to departure, an exit interview may be scheduled to discuss the reasons for resignation.

6.7 SECURITY INSPECTIONS

Therapeutic Dog Services wishes to maintain a work environment that is free of illegal drugs, alcohol, firearms, explosives, or other improper materials. To this end, Therapeutic Dog Services prohibits the possession, transfer, sale, or use of such materials on its premises. Therapeutic Dog Services requires the cooperation of all members in administering this policy.

Desks, lockers, and other storage devices may be provided for the convenience of employees but remains the sole property of Therapeutic Dog Services. Accordingly, they, as well as any articles found within them, can be inspected by any agent or representative of Therapeutic Dog Services at any time, either with or without prior notice.

6.8 PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE

The purpose of this policy is to state Therapeutic Dog Services position on administering equitable and consistent discipline for unsatisfactory conduct in the workplace. The best disciplinary measure is the one that does not have to be enforced comes from good leadership and fair supervision at all employment levels.

Therapeutic Dog Services own best interest lies in ensuring fair treatment of all employees and in making certain that disciplinary actions are prompt, uniform, and impartial. The major purpose of any disciplinary action is to correct the problem, prevent recurrence, and prepare the employee for satisfactory service in the future.

Although employment / membership with Therapeutic Dog Services is based on mutual consent, Therapeutic Dog Services have the right to terminate membership / employment at will, with or without cause or advance notice, Therapeutic Dog Services may use progressive discipline at its discretion.

Disciplinary action may call for any of four steps – verbal warning, written warning, suspension, or termination of employment – depending on the severity of the problem and the number of occurrences. There may be circumstances when one or more steps are bypassed.

Progressive discipline means that, with respect to most disciplinary problems, these steps will normally be followed: a first offense may call for a verbal warning; a next offense may be followed by a written warning; another offense may lead to a suspension; and, still another offense may then lead to termination of membership / employment.

Therapeutic Dog Services recognises that there are certain types of problems that are serious enough to justify either a suspension, or, in extreme situations, termination of employment, without going through the usual progressive discipline steps.

While it is impossible to list every type of behaviour that may be deemed a serious offense, the Conduct and Work Rules policy includes examples of problems that may result in immediate suspension or termination of membership / employment. However, the problems listed are not all necessarily serious offenses, but may be examples of unsatisfactory conduct that will trigger progressive discipline.

By using progressive discipline, we hope that most problems can be corrected at an early stage, benefiting both the member / employee and Therapeutic Dog Services.

6.9 PROBLEM RESOLUTION

Therapeutic Dog Services is committed to providing the best possible working conditions for its employee/volunteers. Part of this commitment is encouraging an open and frank atmosphere in which any problem, complaint, suggestion, or question receives a timely response from Therapeutic Dog Services supervisors and management.

Therapeutic Dog Services strives to ensure fair and honest treatment of all employees. Supervisors, managers, and employees are expected to treat each other with mutual respect. Employees are encouraged to offer positive and constructive criticism.

If employees disagree with established rules of conduct, policies, or practices, they can express their concern through the problem resolution procedure. No employee will be penalized, formally or informally, for voicing a complaint with Therapeutic Dog Services in a reasonable, business-like manner, or for using the problem resolution procedure.

If a situation occurs when member / employee believes that a condition of membership / employment or a decision affecting them is unjust or inequitable, they are encouraged to make use of the following steps. The member / employee may discontinue the procedure at any step.

1. presents problem to immediate supervisor after incident occurs. If supervisor is unavailable or employee believes it would be inappropriate to contact that person, may present problem to human resources or Board President or any other member of management.

2. Supervisor responds to problem during discussion or after consulting with appropriate management, when necessary. Supervisor documents discussion.

3. presents problem to human resources or Board president if problem is unresolved.

4. Human resources or Board Member counsels and advises, assists in putting problem in writing and visits with manager(s), if necessary.

5. presents problem to the Board president in writing.

6. The President reviews and considers problem. The Board President informs member / employee of decision and forwards copy of written response to human resources for members file. The Board president has full authority to make any adjustment deemed appropriate to resolve the problem.

Not every problem can be resolved to everyone's total satisfaction, but only through understanding and discussion of mutual problems can members / employees and management develop confidence in each other. This confidence is important to the operation of an efficient and harmonious work environment and helps to ensure everyone's job security.

6.10 WORKPLACE ETIQUETTE

Therapeutic Dog Services strives to maintain a positive work environment where employees treat each other with respect and courtesy. Sometimes issues arise when members are unaware that their behaviour in the workplace may be disruptive or annoying to others. Many of these day-to-day issues can be addressed by politely talking with a co-worker to bring the perceived problem to his or her attention. In most cases, common sense will dictate an appropriate resolution. Therapeutic Dog Services encourages all members to keep an open mind and graciously accept constructive feedback or a request to change behaviour that may be affecting another member’s ability to concentrate and be productive.

The following workplace etiquette guidelines are not necessarily intended to be hard and fast work rules with disciplinary consequences. They are simply suggestions for appropriate workplace behaviour to help everyone be more conscientious and considerate of co-workers and the work environment. Please contact the human resources or acting manager if you have comments, concerns, or suggestions regarding these workplace etiquette guidelines.

  • Return copy machine and printer settings to their default settings after changing them.

  • Replace paper in the copy machine and printer paper trays when they are empty.

  • Retrieve print jobs in a timely manner and be sure to collect all your pages.

  • Be prompt when using the manual feed on the printer.

  • Keep the area around the copy machine and printers orderly and picked up.

  • Be careful not to take or discard others' print jobs or faxes when collecting your own.

  • Avoid public accusations or criticisms of other employees. Address such issues privately with those involved or your supervisor.

  • Try to minimize unscheduled interruptions of other employees while they are working.

  • Communicate by email or phone whenever possible, instead of walking unexpectedly into someone's office or workspace.

  • Be conscious of how your voice travels and try to lower the volume of your voice when talking on the phone or to others in open areas.

  • Keep socializing to a minimum and try to conduct conversations in areas where the noise will not be distracting to others.

  • Minimize talking between workspaces or over cubicle walls. Instead, conduct conversations with others in their workspace.

  • Try not to block walkways while carrying on conversations.

  • Refrain from using inappropriate language (swearing) that others may overhear.

  • Monitor the volume when listening to music, voice mail, or a speakerphone that others can hear.

  • Clean up after yourself and do not leave behind waste or discarded papers.

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6.11 SUGGESTION PROGRAM

As members of Therapeutic Dog Services, you can contribute to our future success and growth by submitting suggestions for practical work-improvement or cost-savings ideas.

All members are eligible to participate in the suggestion program.

A suggestion is an idea that will benefit Therapeutic Dog Services by solving a problem, reducing costs, improving operations or procedures, enhancing customer service, eliminating waste or spoilage, or making Therapeutic Dog Services a better or safer place to work. Statements of problems without accompanying solutions, or recommendations concerning co-workers and management are not appropriate suggestions.

All suggestions should contain a description of the problem or condition to be improved, a detailed explanation of the solution or improvement, and the reasons why it should be implemented. If you have questions or need advice about your idea, contact your supervisor for help.

Submit suggestions to the President and, after review, they will be forwarded to the Director. As soon as possible, you will be notified of the adoption or rejection of your suggestion.

Special recognition may be given to members who submit a suggestion that is implemented.

IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS REGARDING THE CONTENT OF THE HANDBOOK,

PLEASE DIRECT THEM TO THERAPEUTIC DOG SERVICES BOARD. EMAIL: therapydogs@tdsinc.com.au

WISHING YOU A LONG AND REWARDING CAREER AT Therapeutic Dog Services Incorporated.

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