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Employee Handbook

2020 Version

Section I – Introduction

Mission Statement

The mission of Highland Construction and Restoration is to earn customers for life by providing exceptional restoration and renovation services to our community.

Vision Statement

The vision for Highland Construction and Restoration is to be the premiere, first-choice company for restoration and renovation services in our market by offering excellent quality and customer service while establishing a financially sound and profitable company.

About Highland Construction and Restoration

Highland Construction and Restoration is an award-winning, licensed North Carolina general contractor providing high quality full-service restoration, renovation, and emergency repair services to residential and commercial property owners throughout southeastern North Carolina.

The company was founded in 1981 by Gary Strickland Sr. and Margaret Strickland. That year, the family experienced a fire in their home. At that time, there was no restoration industry as we know it today. The insurance company wrote an estimate for the repairs and presented it to Mr. and Mrs. Strickland. Mr. Strickland produced the project himself on time and on budget. This made a great impression on the insurance adjuster who asked Mr. Strickland if he’d take on another insurance repair job and then another and another…. Highland quickly made their reputation as one of the top restoration and remodeling contractors in southeastern North Carolina.

Son Kenny Strickland joined the business full time in 1992 after graduating from ECU. Kenny worked for the company through high school and college. Brother Gary Strickland II joined the company in 1998. They phased out new home construction in 2007 to focus on fire and water restoration and residential and commercial remodeling.

In 1996, Mr. Strickland built the showroom and office located at 1409 Clinton Road in Fayetteville. This office served as the corporate office, warehouse, and cabinet and flooring showroom. A separate facility housed the contents division. In 2013, they purchased the warehouse located at 245 Tillinghast Street, which brought under one roof the contents division and all Fayetteville and central corporate operations. The facility located on Clinton Road remained the showroom for customers to make cabinet and flooring selections. The showroom sustained significant damage from Hurricane Florence in 2018 and underwent a major renovation.

In 2014, Highland opened an office in Jacksonville, which was eventually relocated to Wilmington. The Wilmington office continues to grow by leaps and bounds providing excellent customer services and quality construction.

In 2019, Highland opened the Raleigh office thus providing continuous coverage from the coast to the capital.

Highland has received numerous industry awards and recognition. Highland was awarded the prestigious Golden Hammer Award by Crawford Contractor Connection in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. This award recognized Exemplary Performance and Dedication. The Golden Hammer Award is given to the top 200 contractors out of 4,500 nationwide based on Performance Objective Monitoring System (POMS) scores. The POMS system measures how quickly contractors complete key aspects on a fire or water restoration project. Highland consistently ranks in the top 10 in our three-state district for emergency response, estimate upload times, and time and process.

The company has also been recognized in 2017, 2018, and 2019 by the readers of the Fayetteville Observer and Up and Coming Magazine as the Best in Fayetteville. Highland is truly the best of the best!

Our Core Values

Highland Construction and Restoration was founded on a set of core values that demonstrate our commitment to excellence. Those core values include:

  • R – Ready 24/7/365: We are dependable and always ready.
  • E – Empathetic: We show compassion for our customers and employees.
  • S – Supportive: We show support for each other to achieve our goals.
  • T – Truthful: We are honest and truthful in our business practices.
  • O – On Board: We work together as a Team to accomplish more.
  • R – Respectful: We show respect for each other, our employees, customers, and business partners.
  • E – Exceed expectations: We are quality driven and ambitious to be successful.

These core values have enabled Highland Construction to be recognized and awarded for superior work and customer service.

Handbook Purpose

This handbook is designed to help you become more familiar with Highland Construction. It is a summary of company policies and procedures which apply to all regular full-time employees and will provide you with positive guidance in your day-to-day working life. Please read it carefully. Since this handbook cannot provide all the details on any given subject, you should feel free to ask your manager, supervisor, or the Human Resources Department about any sections which need clarification.

This handbook is not an employment contract and may not be all inclusive. Changes will be made from time to time based on employee input and the needs of the business. Therefore, the company reserves the right to modify the handbook in whole or in part as required. You will be notified of changes as soon as possible; however, where differences occur, official policies, procedures or benefit plans are the governing documents.

This Employee Handbook outlines the important features and benefits of employment with our company. The objective of these statements of policy is to simplify procedures, provide coordination between depart­ments, create uniformity of action, enhance harmony, and thereby increase efficiency as each employee is integrated into the workplace.

Read this Handbook carefully and keep it available for easy reference.  It should answer most of your questions concerning your working conditions, pay, and other topics; but remember, you should always feel free to discuss any question with your supervisor.  We hope this Handbook will be a useful commu­nications tool, but in no way do we want it to replace the day-to-day interaction between employees and management.  Instead, this Handbook should enhance communications by keeping all of us informed about company policies and practices.

As company policies change, you will be provided with revised information either as a supplement to this Handbook or as a bulletin posted on the bulletin board/company intranet.  However, this Handbook is not an employment contract.  Nothing in this Handbook binds the company or any employee to a specific or definite period of employment.

If you should have any questions concerning this material, you should discuss it with your immediate supervisor.

Welcome

We are pleased that you have joined Highland Construction and Restoration.  Here you will be part of a vibrant work environment based on the philosophy that the most important and valuable asset to our success is our TEAM.  Because of this philosophy, we believe all employees deserve the full respect, trust, and cooperation of our entire team. We all share the common goal of making this company a dynamic, enjoyable, and successful place of employment.

Teamwork is our basis for success and is only possible when a good relationship exists among all of us. To accomplish this, we must maintain a friendly and sincere atmosphere of communications so that concerns can be addressed, answered, and potential concerns resolved.  Almost any concern can be resolved if we are willing to discuss it openly and honestly.  We urge you to help us effectively communicate by discussing your ideas, questions, or concerns with an appropriate member of the team.

We know that you have given much thought to the decision to join Highland Construction and that in coming to work here, you had certain expectations of the company.  Likewise, much thought went into the decision to recruit each employee, and as a team member, certain things are expected. The goal of this handbook is to be a helpful tool in meeting the expectations and obligations between employer and employee.

On behalf of Highland Construction and Restoration, we wish you much satisfaction and success. Welcome to the TEAM!

Section II – Personnel

Employment-at-Will

The contents of this employee handbook summarize our present programs and policies and are intended as guidelines only.  You should be aware that these policies and programs may be amended at any time, and that depending upon the particular circumstances of a given situation, the company’s actions may vary from written policy.  As such, the contents of this handbook DO NOT CONSTITUTE THE TERMS OF A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT.  Nothing contained in this handbook should be construed as a guarantee of continued employment, but rather, employment with this company is on an at-will basis.  This means that either the employee or the company for any reason not expressly prohibited by law may terminate the employment relationship at any time.  Any written or oral statement to the contrary by a supervisor, corporate officer or other agent of the company is invalid and should not be relied upon by any prospective or existing employee.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Highland Construction and Restoration is an equal employment opportunity employer.  We maintain a policy of non-discrimination against employees or job applicants on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, handicap, military status, disability or any other status or characteristic protected by applicable state laws, except where a bona fide occupational qualification applies.

We will recruit, hire, train and promote persons in all job classifications.  Furthermore, we ensure that all personnel programs such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, return from layoff, company-sponsored training, and social and recreation programs will be administered without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, handicap, veteran status, or any other status of condition protected by applicable state law.

If you have a suggestion, problem, or complaint with regard to equal employment, contact your supervisor or the Director of Human Resources.

Productive Work Environment

It is our goal to promote a productive work environment and not to tolerate verbal or physical conduct by any employee that harasses, disrupts, bullies, or interferes with another’s work performance or that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment.

Employees are expected to maintain a productive work environment that is free from harassing or disruptive activity.  No form of harassment will be tolerated, including harassment for the following reasons:  race, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy, age, military status, gender, or sexual orientation.

Each employee has a responsibility to keep the workplace free of any form of harassment, and in particular, sexual harassment.  No employee is to threaten or insinuate, either explicitly or implicitly, that another employee’s refusal or willingness to submit to sexual advances will affect the employee’s terms or condition of employment.

Other sexually harassing or offensive conduct in the workplace, whether committed by supervisors, managers, non-supervisory employees, or non-employees, is also prohibited.  This conduct includes:

Unwanted physical contact or conduct of any kind, including sexual flirtations, touching, advances, or propositions;

  1. Verbal harassment of a sexual nature, such as lewd comments, sexual jokes or references, and offensive personal reference;
  2. Demeaning, insulting, intimidating, or sexually suggestive comments about an individual;
  3. The display in the workplace of demeaning, insulting, intimidating, or sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or photographs;
  4. Demeaning, insulting, intimidating, or sexually suggestive written, recorded, or electronically transmitted messages.
  5. False accusations.

Any of the above conduct, or other offensive conduct, directed at individuals because of their race, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy, age, military status, gender, or sexual orientation is prohibited.

Any employee who believes that a supervisor’s, manager’s, other employee’s or non-employee’s actions or words constitute unwelcome harassment has a responsibility to report or complain about the situation as soon as possible.  The report or complaint should be made to their supervisor or Director of Human Resources, or to the or next level supervisor or the company owner if the complaint involves their supervisor.

Any complaint of harassment will be handled and investigated.  All complaints of harassment will be investigated promptly and in an impartial and confidential a manner as possible.  Employees are required to cooperate in any investigation.  A timely resolution of each complaint should be reached and communicated to the parties involved.

Any employee who is found to have violated the harassment policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Management prohibits any form of retaliation against employees for bringing bona fide complaints or providing information about harassment.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer service is the top priority at Highland Construction and Restoration.  Our employees are responsible for providing the best customer service possible and are empowered to make decisions that will ensure a superior customer experience. Highland Construction and Restoration may recognize and/or reward employees from time to time with contest bonuses at the sole discretion of management, subject to all applicable federal, state, and/or other withholding as required by law.  All employees must be in good employment standing with the company to receive contest bonus rewards.

To promote excellent relations with our clients, all employees must represent the company in a positive manner and make all customers feel appreciated when dealing with us.

Often you will be working with clients who are experiencing a stressful situation through a fire, flood, or other unplanned event.  Many have lost their belongings or their entire home. We expect you to exercise our mission statement and exhibit our core values in your interactions with the clients. At all times, be aware of how your actions with others (including coworkers) can be interpreted by our clients.

Employees with customer contact are expected to know our services and to learn what customers want and need. These employees should educate customers about the use of our services and should seek new ways to serve customers. We encourage you to report any customer-related problems to your supervisor and to make suggestions for changes in company policies or procedures to solve problems.

New Employee Probationary Period

All new employees are subject to a 90-day probationary period. During this period, an employee may be terminated without notice for any reason. The probationary period is a time when your performance is reviewed to assure suitability for the position. This period gives you an opportunity to discover whether you enjoy working with us and want to continue with us. Also, it gives us an opportunity to evaluate your interest in our company and your ability to carry out your job duties.

You and your immediate supervisor share the responsibility for your performance and development.  Therefore, please do not hesitate to discuss any aspect of your job with your supervisor, especially if anything is unclear or causing you a problem. During this period, your supervisor will be discussing your progress on the job with you and will review our policies and practices with you. Upon successful completion of the probationary period you will be given regular status.  Regular status does not change your employment-at-will status.

Employee Orientation

In order to make you feel at home and to help you get to know us, Highland Construction has set up an employee orientation program. This program is designed to give you sufficient information so that you may quickly become familiar with the overall company operation as well as company policies and benefits.

The Human Resources Department and the Supervisor will coordinate and conduct your orientation during the first weeks of employment. In addition, follow-up conferences between you and your supervisor may be held during your first ninety (90) days of work to review various policies and to determine if you are experiencing any problems or difficulties adjusting to your job.

Fiscal/Personnel Records

It is important that you provide necessary information to the company in order to set up financial records and personnel files. Changes of address, telephone number and/or family status (birth, marriage, death, divorce, legal separation, or any other status change) should be reported in writing and must be reported to the Director of Human Resources immediately, as your income tax status and group insurance may be affected by these changes.  Employees must immediately report to Human Resources any changes in their driving record or criminal status including arrests and pending/outstanding charges or warrants.

 Also, we ask that you provide the contact information of a person to notify in case of an emergency.

Employee records kept by the employer should include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Name in full and social security number
  • Copies of Driver’s License and Social Security Card or other forms of identification
  • Original application for employment
  • Home address, including ZIP code and phone number
  • Occupation in which employed or job title
  • Date of hire
  • Time of day and day of week the employee’s workweek begins
  • Regular rate of pay
  • Hours worked each workday
  • Total hours worked each workweek
  • Total straight-time earnings each workweek
  • Total overtime earnings each workweek
  • Total additions to or deductions from wages
  • Total gross wages paid each pay period
  • Date of each payment
  • Training records
  • Apparel and equipment receipts
  • Documentation of disciplinary action
  • Handbook acknowledgement page

Classification of Employees

This company uses the following classifications as a basis for its payroll system and for the purpose of benefits and describing and reviewing policies:

Full-time—Employees hired full time (40 hours or more) on a full workweek basis for a continuous and indefinite period of time are considered full-time employees for all compensation and benefit purposes.

Exempt – Jobs classified as Exempt are not entitled to overtime pay.  To be classified as Exempt, the job must meet certain tests of job definition, and level of salary pay. Administrative, professional and outside sales people who are paid on a salary basis are exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime of the Federal Leave and Safety Act (FLSA).

Non-Exempt – Jobs classified as Non-Exempt do not meet the Exempt exceptions, and are paid an hourly rate.  FLSA requires that jobs classified as Non-Exempt be paid at least the federal minimum wage for hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked overtime in a workweek.

Part-time—Employees whose work schedule is less than full time (less than 40 hours) on a full workweek basis for a continuous and indefinite period are considered part-time employees for all compensation and benefit purposes.  Part-time employees are eligible for some benefits by specific reference only.

Temporary—Employees hired as temporary replacement for full-time or part-time employees, or for short periods of employment such as summer months, peak periods and vacations are considered temporary employees.  Temporary employees are not eligible for benefits regardless of the number of hours or weeks worked.

Employment Agreement

You will be asked to sign an employment agreement, which includes a non-compete and confidentiality clause as a protection for the company, its interests, and our employees.  This agreement has been designed to be fair and equitable to both you and the company.  Each employee has signed the agreement as a condition of employment with the company.  If you have any questions about this agreement at any time, speak to your supervisor or the Director of Human Resources.

Performance Evaluations

It is our policy that your supervisor will evaluate your job performance annually.  Your supervisor will provide you with a written evaluation. You will also be given the chance to submit a self-evaluation. Your supervisor will meet with you and discuss the evaluation, assess your strengths and weaknesses in a constructive manner, and set objectives and goals for the period ahead.  It is the desire of the management team that all employees receive continued training and education needed to be successful in their position and see a career path at Highland.

Information derived from the appraisal may be considered when making decisions affecting training, pay, promotion, transfer, or continued employment.  Performance evaluations are not automatically tied to pay increases.

Section III – Pay and work hours

Hours of Operation

The normal hours of operation for all employees are from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday.

 All employees are expected to be ready to work at the beginning of their shift and stay on the clock until the end of the workday or the end of their shift.  Earlier or later hours may be required at times depending on the volume of work and staffing levels.  We are a company providing service 365 days/year, 24-hours/day, which can require on-call and overtime work of all employees.  The possibility of working overtime above scheduled hours (including weekend hours) will always be present and considered mandatory when the workload is excessive or during emergency situations.  We will inform you of the need for longer hours in a timely manner with as much lead time as possible. 

 In the event of an unplanned event such as a tornado, flash flood or wind storm, each employee should monitor email correspondence from the company and be prepared to come to work regardless of off-call, after hours or other time pre-planned to be away from work.  

Pay Date

The pay period for payroll purposes starts on Friday and ends the following Thursday. The pay period is bi-weekly, meaning you will receive payment for two workweeks at a time.  The pay date is the second Friday after the pay period ends.  For example, the pay date of Friday, April 10, 2020 covers the period of Friday, March 20, 2020 through Thursday, April 2, 2020.  Payday is every other Friday through direct deposit only.   The pay date will not be adjusted for any reasons, to include scheduled vacations.  

 Your pay statement will be emailed to you at the personal email address you provide, and will list your gross pay and itemized deductions for all time worked through the preceding payroll week.  Pay statements are usually emailed on the Tuesday before the pay day. Look at your pay statement immediately. If you discover an error or discrepancy on your pay statement, notify your supervisor as soon as you notice the mistake. The password to access your pay stub is the first four letters of your last name and the last four numbers of your social security number.

Attendance

Management views attendance as one of the most important facets of your job.  We expect you to arrive at work before you are scheduled to start and be ready to work at the required meeting location or workstation productively engaged in the company business by the scheduled start time. Employees working offsite should be ready to leave the office or other location to arrive at the job site by the scheduled start time. 

 You must request all time off in advance and submit it in writing, as outlined in the appropriate categories, except in the case of an unexpected illness.  All unapproved absences will be noted in the employee’s personnel file.  Excessive absences (including leaving work early) or tardiness, including for illness, will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. All time off, whether approved or unapproved, will be posted against the employee’s Paid Time Off balance.

 You should notify your supervisor as far in advance as possible whenever you are unable to report for work, know you will be late, or must leave early.  The notice should include a reason for the absence and an indication of when you can be expected to report for work.  Do not simply leave a message with someone. You must talk to your supervisor in person or by phone or send an email or text message with confirmation from your supervisor that they have received the message. Notification must be received not later than 7:30AM on the day of the absence or disciplinary action may be taken.  If you need to leave the premises or the job site during working hours, you must notify your supervisor.  If you are away from the premises or job site for business reasons, inform your supervisor of your whereabouts during working hours. Employees who are absent from work for two consecutive days without giving proper notice will be considered as having abandoned their job.  

Recording Your Time

All employees are required to clock in at the beginning of the day and out at the end of the day to record their attendance. Hourly employees (non-exempt) are required to clock in and out at the beginning and end of the day and for lunch. They are required to update and complete/sync their official time record on a daily basis. Some positions are also required to clock in and clock out of specific jobs and job type (STR, WTR, CON, TMP, SHRM, SP, etc.) in the official time record as they move from job to job and/or job type to job type. If an employee leaves the facility or job site for non-business reasons, it must be recorded in their time record. The time record must be synced daily.  Failure to do any of the above will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and possible discrepancies in the amount of your compensation.  The official time record will be checked against the GPS record on company vehicles to ensure accuracy of time.

Overtime

Employees must obtain approval in advance from their supervisor for overtime. The supervisor will notify management of pre-approved overtime. You are expected to work necessary overtime when directed.  Non-exempt employees will receive time and one-half pay for time worked exceeding 40 hours in any given workweek.  Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay. 

On-Call Rotation

Providing service to our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is an essential and important part of our business. Designated positions will be placed in an on-call rotation that will vary in frequency from office to office. The frequency of the rotation will depend on the workload and staffing levels.

 The managers for each location will develop and communicate the on-call schedule. The direct supervisors will also communicate the schedule to their teams. Call begins on Fridays at 5 PM and ends the following Friday at 8 AM.

 Employees will receive $10 per day for the week they are on call. When called out after hours or on the weekends, employees will receive a $50 rollout payment plus their hourly rate of pay for each hour worked. All time will be tracked and will be checked for accuracy. Clock-in occurs once you arrive at the warehouse. Clock-out occurs once you arrive back to the warehouse after the EMS project is complete.

Rollout defined:

Non-Rollout –   If you are already on the job during regular hours and a call comes in that takes you into after hours there is no Rollout. 

Rollout –  If you have been released from the normal work day and are called back in to work after hours or while on holiday pay a Rollout will have occurred.

Non-Rollout – If you have been called in for a Rollout as listed above and while you are still out a new call comes in, the new call will not be an additional Rollout.

Rollout – If you come in from one after hours or holiday call and are completed with that call and are released to leave and then you get a new call to come back then a New Rollout would have occurred. new rollout.,

Exempt vs Nonexempt Employees

Nonexempt employees are paid by the hour and are eligible for overtime. Exempt employees are paid a weekly salary based on a 40-hour workweek; however, their actual hours often may exceed 40 hours as needed. If a nonexempt/hourly employee takes time off, they will either take time without pay or use their PTO.  PTO will automatically be used for time off unless the employee notifies their supervisor in advance that they wish to take time off without pay. This will be done by checking yes or no on the Absence Request form where is asks “Use Paid Time Off”.

Exempt employees often work over 40 hours and may use some discretion in taking time off during the day if needed, without it affecting their overall pay. If an exempt employee takes 4 or more hours off or a full day, they will be required to use their PTO in half or full day increments It is important to the organization that the working hours (M-F 8 AM to 5 PM) are staffed fully whenever possible for the purposes of good team relations and communication as well as customer service.  We believe that to accomplish the job, 40 hours at minimum is a requirement of the role.  Therefore, if an employee takes 2 hours or more of non-PTO time off during a workday, they will be expected to make time up to ensure 40 hours of work are completed during that week.  If the exempt employee has exhausted their PTO balance or is not yet eligible for PTO and needs time off for personal reasons or their own illness, full days off will be unpaid.

Excessive unapproved/unscheduled time off taken with or without PTO can be cause for corrective action due to its impact on our business.

Paid Time Off

Paid Time Off (PTO) is accrued by all full-time employees after 90 days of employment. PTO provides employees with flexible paid time off from work that can be used for such needs as vacation, personal or family illness, doctor appointments, school, volunteering, and other activities of the employee’s choice.

The anniversary of your date of employment determines the amount of PTO that is accrued biweekly for your immediate use:

After the probationary period (90 days) up to 3 years of service, employees will earn 2 hours 28 minutes of PTO per pay period, up to a maximum of 64 hours per year. 

Employees with between 3-5 years of service will earn 3 hours 23 minutes of PTO per pay period, up to a maximum of 88 hours per year. 

Employees with more than 5 years of service with the company will earn 4 hours per pay period, up to a maximum of 104 hours per year.

For example:

Your work start date is April 1, 2020.  After the probationary period, you earn 2 hours, 28 minutes of PTO per pay period until March 31, 2023.

On April 1, 2023, you earn 3 hours, 23 minutes of PTO per pay period until March 31, 2025.

On April 1, 2025, you earn 4 hours PTO per pay period for the remainder of your time with Highland.

PTO is not earned while an employee is under the probationary period (90 days).  PTO cannot be taken until it is earned.

Effective December 31, 2018, employees with up to five (5) years of service are authorized to carry over a maximum of 40 hours PTO at the end of a calendar year.  Employees with over five (5) years of service are authorized to carry over a maximum of 64 hours PTO at the end of a calendar year. 

For example:

For employees up to 5 years of service, if at close of business on December 31, you have 46 hours PTO, your balance effective January 1, will be 40 hours of PTO.    If your balance on December 31, is 30 hours, you will carry over 30 hours.

For employees over 5 years of service, if at close of business December 31, you have 70 hours PTO, your balance effective January 1, will be 64 hours of PTO.  If your balance on December 31, is 60 hours, you will carry over 60 hours.

Employees are encouraged to accrue their PTO and use it to rest and recharge. It is important to manage your PTO balance and plan your time off wisely so not to be at risk of losing PTO at the end of the year. Vacation requests at the end of the calendar year will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis and to ensure that all departments are staffed appropriately and business operations are not affected.

We prefer that you take at least one full week of PTO at a time; however, it can be taken in increments of four hours of a scheduled workday.  Requests for PTO must be submitted in writing to your supervisor with at least two weeks notice of the requested date.  Leave requests submitted with less than the required two-week notice risk being disapproved or considered as unpaid leave requests.  We will make every attempt to accommodate your request; however, we will place the needs of our customers and those of the business first.  Approvals of requests for PTO will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of seniority.  The exception is in the case of an unexpected illness.  To request for PTO for unexpected illness, notify your supervisor by email communication not later than 7:30 am of the workday you will be missing. Unscheduled PTO requests not submitted within the required timeframe will be not considered Paid Time Off and will be subject to disciplinary action.  Unscheduled time off exceeding 8 consecutive work hours may require documentation, such as a doctor’s note, to be approved. 

Leave requests must be coordinated with the workload / schedule.  If a four-hour leave request would interfere with scheduled work, employee may be required to take leave for the full eight-hour workday or be reassigned.  For example, if a work team is scheduled to work out of town and someone on the team has a doctor’s appointment in another town at 11:00 am, that employee would be required to take PTO for the full 8-hour workday.

PTO will automatically be used for time off unless the employee notifies their supervisor in advance that they wish to take time off without pay. This will be done by checking yes or no on the Absence Request form where is asks “Use Paid Time Off”.

Should you choose to end your employment, you will receive pay for PTO you have earned but not taken, provided you give and work a two-week notice. In the event of a layoff, affected employees will receive payment for unused PTO.  Employees who fail to provide a two-week notice or who are terminated for any reason other than a layoff are not eligible to receive pay for any unused PTO. 

Holidays

We recognize a minimum of five (5) paid holidays per year.  The day of the week the holiday falls on will determine if the day is paid or not.  Some years may result in the five paid holidays (the minimum), while other years may have six paid holidays. 

New Years Day

Labor Day

Memorial Day

Thanksgiving

Independence Day

Christmas

 

The days we observe for holidays will be determined each year in January.  At the beginning of each calendar year, we will notify you of the exact holiday schedule.  Employees may request Paid Time Off the day before or the day after a recognized holiday, and will still be eligible for holiday pay, providing the request was submitted within the required two weeks notice.  Regular full-time employees are paid eight (8) hours for each holiday. Holiday pay is not counted as hours worked when computing overtime.  Full time employees are eligible for holiday pay.  Temporary and part time employees are not paid for holidays.

Jury Duty

We support employees called to fulfill their civic responsibility to serve jury duty.  You must provide your immediate supervisor with a copy of your jury summons as soon as possible upon receiving the summons.  You may use your available Paid Time Off during your jury duty, or hourly employees may simply take leave without pay.

When you return to work, you should provide your immediate supervisor with verification from the court of the number of days you served on the jury.  If you are released from jury duty with at least four hours remaining in your workday, you should return to work for the remainder of the day. 

Should extraordinary circumstances exist, at the time of your call to jury duty, which would make your absence severely detrimental to the operation of our company, you should request that your service be postponed to a later date.

School Involvement Leave

North Carolina law requires that parents, guardians, or others acting in place of a parent be allowed four hours of leave per year to attend school related activities.  This leave may be used for such activities as meeting with a teacher or administrator of a school or childcare program, attending a school or child care academic or artistic program, or volunteering in a school.  In order to use school involvement leave, the company requires that you submit a written request at least two days prior to the date of leave. Management may require written verification from the school indicating that you are involved in a school related project at the time of the leave.  Leave not submitted within the required time frame or without the required supporting documentation may be disapproved.  This may be used as PTO or unpaid time off.

Bereavement Leave

In the event of the death or serious illness of a member of an employee’s immediate family, we will grant up to three unpaid days away from duty.  You have the option of using Paid Time Off for time taken under this policy. 

Immediate family is defined as:  mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, son, daughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, and son-in-law.  Depending upon the family situation, in-laws, uncles, aunts, grandparents, or grandchildren may also qualify. Your supervisor will make that determination.

An employee may be absent for a maximum of three working days, including the day of the funeral.  In the event of long-distance travel, arrangements for extended absence must be made with and approved by your supervisor.

Military Leave

A military leave of absence will be granted if an employee is absent in order to serve in the uniformed services of the United States.  An employee is eligible for military leave beginning the first day of employment.  Employees who perform and return from service in the Armed Forces, the Military reserves, the National Guard, or certain Public Health Service positions will retain certain rights with respect to reinstatement, seniority, layoffs, compensation, length of service promotions, and length of service pay increases, as required by applicable federal or state law.

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

Highland provides FMLA leave to eligible employees in compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act as amended.

Employees are eligible for a covered FMLA job-protected leave if they have worked for Highland for at least 12 months, worked 1250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if the employee works at a Highland office in which has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

Basic Leave Entitlement

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for the following reasons:

For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;

  • To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care, or
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.

Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition.  Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.

Military Family Leave Entitlements

Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who is a covered military member may use their 12-week entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies.   For a member of the Regular Armed Forces, covered active duty or call to covered active duty status means duty during the deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country. For a member of the Reserve components of the Armed Forces (members of the National Guard and Reserves), covered active duty or call to covered active duty status means duty during the deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country under a Federal call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation.

Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events; arranging for alternative childcare or to attend certain school activities; arranging for alternative parental care; addressing certain financial and legal arrangements; attending certain counseling sessions; rest and recuperation leave; and attending post deployment reintegration briefings.

FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember or veteran during a single 12-month period.  Caregiver leave applies to a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of a covered servicemember. 

A covered servicemember is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the servicemember is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.  Serious injury means an injury or illness that was incurred in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) and that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.

A covered veteran is a veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness and who was a member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) at any time during the period of five (5) years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes that medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy.  Serious injury or illness for a covered veteran means a qualifying (as defined by the Secretary of Labor) injury or illness that was incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) and that manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran.

“Spouse” means a husband or wife. “Child” means biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, legal ward, or a child being raised by the employee. The child must be either under 18 years of age, or 18 and older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability for Basic Leave Entitlement; for Military Leave Entitlement, the child may be of any age.  “Parent” means biological parent, or a non-biological parent who had primary responsibility for raising the employee. This term does not include “parents-in-law.”  Next of kin of a covered servicemember means the nearest blood relative other than the covered servicemember’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter, unless the covered servicemember has designated a specific blood relative in writing for purposes of military caregiver leave under FMLA.

Amount of Leave and Leave Period

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave during a “rolling backward” leave year, defined as the 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any leave under this policy.

Employees are entitled to up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period measured forward for Military Caregiver Leave Entitlement.

(Note:  Spouses working for Highland may only take a combined total of 12 weeks for the birth, adoption, or placement of a child into foster child, or to care for a parent with a serious medical condition; or a combined total of 26 weeks to take leave to care for a covered servicemember.) 

Employee Responsibilities

Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable.  When 30 days notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable and generally must comply with the Highland’s normal call-in procedures.

Employees must provide sufficient information for Highland to determine if the leave may qualify for FMLA protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.  Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider, or circumstances supporting the need for military family leave.  Employees must also inform us if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified. 

Notification of Eligibility

Highland will inform an employee requesting FMLA leave whether the employee is eligible under the FMLA.  If the employee is eligible, the notice to the employee will specify additional employee rights and responsibilities.  In addition, Highland will inform the employee if the leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement.  If the employee is not eligible, Highland will notify the employee that the leave is not FMLA-protected and provide a reason for the ineligibility.

Medical Certification

For leave for medical reasons, medical certification by the health care provider must be obtained and submitted within 15 calendar days of an FMLA request.  Leave may be denied if the certification is not timely submitted, is incomplete, or insufficient.  If the certification is timely received but is incomplete, you will be advised of information needed and given seven days to provide the required information to enable Highland to make a decision.  Leave may be denied if you do not provide this information. Highland may request a second medical opinion and designate the health care provider if the certification is questionable.  If the first and second medical opinions differ, we may require a third opinion which will be final.  Any required second and third certification expenses will be paid by Highland.

Medical recertification may be requested every 30 days unless the original certification was for a longer period, or circumstances have changed significantly.  In all cases, we may request a recertification of a medical condition every six months in connection with an absence by the employee.  Recertifications may be requested under other circumstances as specified in FMLA regulations.

Upon return, the employee must submit to Human Resources medical certification of her/his ability to return to work. Highland may deny work to personnel failing to provide valid fitness for duty certificates. Employees taking FLMA leave must contact Human Resources every two weeks. The employee is required to periodically report her/his intention to return to work.

Certification of Need for Military Leave

Highland will require certification of the need for Military Exigency Leave and Military Caregiver Leave.  Employees requesting such leave must provide certification within 15 days absent unusual circumstances.  Failure to do so may result in delay or denial of FMLA leave.

Intermittent Leave

Leave may also be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary.  Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt Highland’s operations.  Leave due to qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.

Employees requiring intermittent or reduced leave for foreseeable medical treatment for their own or a family member’s serious health condition may be temporarily reassigned during the leave period to a position with the same pay and benefits that better accommodates a reduced or intermittent schedule.

Substitution of Paid Leave

FMLA leave is unpaid except for the following:  employees will be required to take any available PTO for any unpaid FMLA leave (where allowed by law).  In addition, employees may qualify for short-term disability payments; or may be receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a condition that also qualifies for FMLA leave under this policy.  Any PTO that qualifies under this policy will be designated FMLA leave and will run concurrently with it.

Benefits

During FMLA leave, Highland will maintain health coverage under our group health plan on the same terms as if the employee continued to work.  Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees will be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. 

The employee will not accrue employment benefits such as vacation pay, sick pay, pension, etc. after 30 days on leave, but benefits accrued by the employee up to the day on which the FMLA leave begins will not be lost. Use of FMLA leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the taking of FMLA leave.

If the employee fails to return from the FMLA leave, Highland may recover from the employee any health insurance premiums it paid during the leave on behalf of the employee.  In addition, if the employee fails to return to work after the expiration of the FMLA leave, the employee may be required to reimburse Highland for Highland’s share of health and/or dental insurance premiums paid during the period of unpaid leave, unless the employee does not return to work because of: 1) the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition either affecting the employee or the employee’s family member which would otherwise entitle the employee to leave under the FMLA, or 2) certain circumstances beyond the employee’s control.

Status After Leave

Employees who return to work within or on the business day following the expiration of the approved leave will be returned to their job or an equivalent position with the same benefits or pay. However, employees on leave will have no greater right to reinstatement than if they had been actively employed.  If the need for leave was due to the employee’s own serious health condition, Highland will require that the employee provide medical certification that they are able to return to work.  You may obtain a “fitness-for-duty certification form” from Human Resources.

Other Provisions

Any intentional misrepresentation to obtain or continue a leave of absence constitutes grounds for immediate termination.

Miscellaneous FMLA Information

The FMLA makes it unlawful for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under the FMLA; and discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to the FMLA.  An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer.  The FMLA does not affect any federal or state law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any state or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights.

More Details

To apply for the leave, or for more details about this policy, contact the Human Resources Department.

Inclement Weather Policy

It is our intention to be open for business regardless of the weather conditions. However, if the weather ever becomes so severe that we cannot operate, you will be notified by email and/or text. You are responsible for ensuring your supervisor and the Director of Human Resources has your current email address and cell number and that you check your email and cell phone regularly during times of potential inclement weather. If you do not receive an email or text notification of the closing, you must assume that the organization will operate on a normal schedule and you should report at the normal times, or as soon thereafter as possible.

If you are unable to report to work on such days, you will be taking leave without pay for the time missed. If you cannot report to work due to inclement weather, notify your direct supervisor as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in disciplinary action.

If the decision is made to close the office because of inclement weather, hourly employees will need to use PTO or take unpaid time for hours missed. PTO hours do not count towards overtime. Overtime is paid once the number of hours worked exceeds 40 per work week, which is Friday – Thursday. If you would like to use PTO for the day the office is closed, please let your supervisor know as soon as possible.  If a communication is not received from the employee before payroll is processed, it will be assumed that they are taking unpaid leave for this time. 

Salaried employees will be paid for the day and are encouraged to work from home.

Highland encourages all employees to use discretion when determining the safety of travel to and from the office during inclement weather conditions. The safety and well-being of all employees is of utmost importance.

Section IV – Benefits

Rest and Lunch Breaks

It is our policy to provide two 10-minute rest breaks during the course of each 8-hour workday.  Usually, employees may take one break in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Your supervisor is responsible for scheduling your break.  Whenever necessary, your supervisor may change the frequency and time of rest breaks.  Time spent on your 10-minute breaks will be compensated as working time.  Normal break times are scheduled around 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

Normal lunch breaks are scheduled between the hours of 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and are staggered to allow for department coverage.  You will have one hour for a lunch break each day if you are a full-time staff member.  Your supervisor will be responsible for scheduling lunch breaks.  Since the lunch break is not part of your working hours, you are not paid for it.

Rest breaks and lunch breaks cannot be scheduled to accommodate appointments, late arrivals, or early departures. You are expected to be punctual in starting and ending your breaks and lunch hours and may be disciplined for tardiness.  If you choose to remain at work during your break, you are not entitled to arrive later than the scheduled starting time or leave before the normal quitting time and will not receive extra pay for the time worked.  

Payroll Deductions

We are required by law to make deductions for Federal and State withholding taxes and Social Security.  You are reminded that the company must also pay Social Security Tax in an amount equal to that being deducted from your paycheck, up to a maximum set by law.  Management will honor any court-ordered or other legally authorized wage garnishment.  Deductions will also be made for health insurance, other benefits, and garnishment

Garnishments and Other Legally Required Deductions

Honor your personal debts and protect your credit standing.  Keep your earnings free from garnishment.  By law, Highland Construction is required to honor certain legal garnishments of employee wages or salaries. The Human Resources Department will give you written notification of any garnishment received.

Highland Construction does not wish to be involved in the personal financial affairs of employees. However, by law we are required to honor certain legal garnishments and levies, withhold the required monies, and submit them to the appropriate party, as prescribed by law.

Highland Construction is required by law to withhold portions of an employee’s earnings to satisfy an outstanding debt when a court or other legally authorized agency requires such action. The payroll office is responsible for administering payroll deductions as required by Notices to Withhold Income for Child Support, Tax Levies, Garnishments and other legal entities. Although these documents should be served at the Human Resources Department, they are sometimes initially directed to the employee’s supervisor. Any departmental administrator who receives such a document should immediately route it to the Human Resources Department.

Federal and State law place limitations on the amount of deduction that may be taken and determine the priority of claims to be withheld from an employee’s earnings. Nothing in this policy shall impose or limit requirements that may be otherwise imposed by law.

If Highland Construction receives a legally-binding garnishment – recognized under state or federal regulations – for the collection of an employee’s debt to a third party, the appropriate amount prescribed by law will be withheld from the employee’s paycheck. Employees who are encountering budgetary or financial difficulties are strongly encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program for free and confidential budget counseling

Health Insurance

Health insurance is available to eligible full-time employees after 90 days of continuous full-time employment. Highland pays a percentage of the employee’s health insurance premium. This percentage may vary from year to year. As the employee, you pay a portion of the premium through payroll deduction; the company pays the remainder.  Payroll deductions for health insurance will begin approximately two pay periods before you are eligible to receive benefits.  PAYING PREMIUMS IN ADVANCE DOES NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE.  COVERAGE ONLY BEGINS UPON RECEIPT OF NOTIFICATION FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY OF ACCEPTANCE.  Eligible family members can be added provided you pay 100% of the coverage of the family members.  Payroll deduction is available for coverage of family members.  We may also make available other supplemental policies.  For the additional coverage, the employee pays 100% of the cost through payroll deduction.  If you have specific questions about these benefits, consult your insurance manual or the Director of Human Resources. 

Continuation of Insurance (COBRA)

Upon separation from the company for any reason other than gross misconduct, you may elect to continue group medical coverage for a limited time at group rates.  You will be required to pay the full premium.  It may also be possible to convert other group plans to individual plans. The Director of Human Resources will discuss details on the conversion of any benefits at the time of your separation by.  You may, of course, request information on this subject at any time prior to actual separation.

Unemployment Compensation

Although the State of North Carolina administers the program, the company pays all of the cost for your protection.  Applications for these benefits are made at your local Employment Security Commission office should you become unemployed.

Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s Compensation Insurance may cover employees who are injured on-the-job.  It is your responsibility to immediately notify your immediate supervisor and the Director of Human Resources on the day of the incident of any injuries you sustain while on the job.  Information on the current worker’s compensation plan is available from the Director of Human Resources.

Simple IRA

As an added benefit to working for Highland Construction and Restoration, we also may make a Simple Individual Retirement Account (IRA) available to our employees after 90 days of full-time employment.  Ask the Director of Human Resources about the Simple IRA any time you have questions. 

Section V – Saftey

Safety and Accident Rules

Safety is a priority at Highland Construction and Restoration. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.  We strive to provide a clean, hazard free, healthy, safe environment in which to work.  As an employee, you are expected to take an active part in maintaining this environment.  You should observe all posted safety rules, adhere to all safety instructions provided by your supervisor and use safety equipment where required.  Your work place should be kept neat, clean and orderly.  It is your responsibility to learn the location of all safety and emergency equipment, as well as the appropriate safety contact phone numbers. 

Any employee working on any job site or in any work area where heavy objects may fall must wear steel toe shoes or boots.  Highland Construction will provide an annual reimbursement of up to $50 (receipt required) for employees to apply toward the purchase of steel toe footwear.  Hardhats must be worn in any work area were heavy objects may fall from above. Safety glasses must be worn when power tools are in use or when cleaning items/objects with cleaning supplies. Hearing protection must be worn when working in loud work environments.   Hardhats, reflective vests and safety glasses must be worn in the warehouse area. Highland will provide hearing protection, hardhats, reflective vests, and safety glasses to employees who are required to wear them. It is the employee’s responsibility to keep and maintain this equipment in good working order and have them readily available.

As an employee, you have a duty to comply with the safety rules of the company, assist in maintaining the hazard free environment, to report any accidents or injuries—including any breaches of safety—and to report any unsafe equipment, working condition, process or procedure, at once to a supervisor.

Wearing headphones or earbuds at work puts employees at risk for hearing loss and creates an unsafe work environment by preventing them from hearing instructions and warnings. Headphones are strictly prohibited in company vehicles, on job sites, and anywhere on company property.

Report safety violations or injuries immediately to your supervisor, the Production Manager, General Manager, or Director of Human Resources. Vehicle and equipment accidents must be reported immediately to your supervisor.  NO EMPLOYEE WILL BE PUNISHED OR REPRIMANDED FOR REPORTING SAFETY VIOLATIONS OR HAZARDS.  However, any deliberate or ongoing safety violation or creation of a hazard by an employee will be dealt with through disciplinary action by the company, up to and including termination.  As per standard procedures, all employees involved in an accident will be subject to a post-accident drug screening. 

We encourage employees who have been injured on the job to seek immediate medical attention from the healthcare provider designated by Highland to provide these services. Contact your supervisor and the Director of Human Resources regarding seeking medical attention for a workplace injury.   

Use of non-prescribed or illegal medications while on the job is prohibited.  Employees under the influence of prescribed medications that can impair, alter, or otherwise influence judgment or abilities are not authorized to operate company property, and should notify their supervisor.

Company Property

The company will provide you with the necessary equipment to do your job.  None of this equipment should be utilized for personal use, nor removed from the physical confines of the company or the job site—unless it is approved and your job specifically requires use of company equipment outside the physical facility of the company or away from the job site.  The Asset Manager will routinely inspect all company property.

Loaning company equipment to subcontractors should rarely happen and only with the approval of your supervisor and the Asset Manager. Documentation by the supervisor should include a description of the equipment loaned and to whom is it loaned along with an expected date of return.

Good housekeeping is expected of every employee. Employees are not authorized to deface any company equipment, to include placing bumper stickers or other types of stickers on vehicles, computers, or other equipment.

Employees are expected to end each workday with the company vehicles being clean (interior and exterior) and ready for work the following workday.  Notify the Asset Manager if the vehicle you are driving has a mechanical failure or service need (such as tire repair/replacement, oil change, service engine light, etc.). 

Defective equipment on electrical tools such as frayed cords, broken guards, defective safety parts, etc. should be immediately tagged with a “defective” tag and the supervisor immediately notified during the current workday.  The defective equipment is not to be used until it is repaired and returned to the work environment.  Failure to promptly notify your supervisor and tag the defective equipment may result in disciplinary action.

All employees are tasked with safeguarding company equipment and property. Employees may be required to reimburse the company for any lost or stolen equipment that has been issued to them.

Much of our power equipment requires training and/or certification to operate.  You must be trained and/or certified (by a company official) prior to operating any of this equipment.  Failure to follow this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.  This is for your safety as well as the safety of your coworkers.

Computer equipment should not be used for personal reasons—this includes word processing and computing functions.  Do not install any other programs to a company computer without the written permission of the Asset Manager.  These programs include, but are not limited to, games, online services, screen savers, etc.  Copying programs installed on the company computers is not allowed unless you are specifically directed to do so in writing by the Asset Manager.

Employees who are issued building keys, alarm codes, name badges, and entry cards are responsible for their safekeeping.  Employees cannot make copies and/or loan keys or entry cards to anyone else.  The last employee, or a designated employee, who leaves the building at the end of the business day must ensure that all doors are securely locked, the alarm system is armed and all lights are turned off, with the exception of the lights normally left on for security purposes.  Employees are not allowed on company property after hours without prior authorization from the Asset Manager.  Any breach of building security (e.g. lost or stolen keys or entry cards) must be reported to the Asset Manager immediately. Employees are responsible for reimbursing the company for any lost keys or access cards and the costs incurred to change building locks.  Employees are also responsible for reimbursing the company for any costs incurred from local municipality for setting off of alarms through not following proper procedures or through negligence. Employees are responsible for returning keys and entry cards upon termination of employment. 

Use of Company-Owned Vehicles

Employees in designated positions will be authorized and required to drive company vehicles.  We have provided these rules as a guideline to the use of company vehicles. Company vehicles should be used for only company business.  This includes vehicles that may be leased by the company as well as those vehicles that are company owned.  You must operate any company vehicle in a courteous manner in accordance with all laws and regulations.  Texting while driving is a very serious violation. It is seen by law enforcement and insurance companies as distracted driving and is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Receiving a ticket for texting while driving and other serious violations may jeopardize an employee’s job, if they are required to drive a company vehicle.

The following are specific policies related to company-owned vehicles:

  • All company vehicles are monitored by GPS.
  • Schedule all travel to make most efficient use of time and fuel.
  • Observe all traffic signs and laws.
  • Wear seat belts at all times in vehicles.
  • Company-owned vehicles will be driven only as needed for jobs during working hours.
  • Company-owned vehicles will not be driven for private use unless specific arrangements have been made with management.
  • Keep vehicles in a neat, orderly condition.
  • No alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs or chemicals will be aboard a company vehicle at any time.
  • No weapons of any type will be aboard a company vehicle at any time.
  • No driver who has been drinking alcoholic beverages or is under the influence of drugs or chemicals will be allowed to drive a company vehicle.
  • Misuse of company vehicles will be cause for dismissal.
  • Smoking is not allowed in company owned vehicles.
  • You must obtain prior approval from management before carrying any non-employees in a company owned vehicle.
  • Keep management informed of any safety and maintenance issues dealing with company vehicles.
  • Employees operating company vehicles agree to abide by all state laws in regard to mobile phone use. Employees agree to exercise caution and use safety precautions.
  • Employees authorized to operate company vehicles must let management know of any changes in their driving record.
  • Employees must use designated fuel credit cards for refueling company owned vehicles.

In Case of an Accident

Immediately report any accident, theft, or damage involving company property, vehicle or equipment, or customer property to the Asset Manager regardless of the extent or damage or lack of injuries.  Make any reports of accidents to the Asset Manager immediately.  All accidents involving a company vehicle are required to have a police report.  When returning to the facility, make out a full, written report of the accident.  In the event the vehicle must be towed from the scene of the accident, the driver must call the office for assistance. 

It is the policy of Highland Construction to send every employee who is involved as the driver in a car accident in a company vehicle for a drug screen immediately after the accident.

Drivers are responsible for paying any fine having to do with a traffic violation while operating a company vehicle. This includes red light violations. Traffic violations and accidents that occur while driving personal vehicles may hinder you from driving a company vehicle, due to our insurance requirements. 

Personal Automobile Usage

During the course of your employment, you may be requested to use your personal automobile for company business.  The following guidelines apply to the use of personal vehicles for company business:

  • Do not drive your vehicle for company business without the prior approval of your supervisor or the Director of Human Resources.
  • Exercise due diligence to drive safely.
  • Make sure the vehicle meets any company or legal standards for insurance, maintenance and safety.
  • Employees are responsible for any driving infractions or fines that result from their driving and must report them to their supervisor and the Director of Human Resources.
  • Employees are not permitted to operate a personal vehicle for company business when any physical or mental impairment causes the employee to be unable to drive safely. This prohibition includes circumstances in which the employee is temporarily unable to operate a vehicle safely or legally because of illness, medication, or intoxication.
  • Employees using their personal vehicle for company business will receive mileage reimbursement at the per mile rate determined by the company. Employees driving on company business may also request reimbursement for parking fees and tolls incurred. Documentation is required for reimbursement including receipts and mileage logs.
  • Employees must report any accident, theft, or damage of a vehicle immediately to their supervisor and the Director of Human Resources regardless of the extent of damages or personal injuries.
  • Employees operating personal vehicles for company business agree to abide by all state laws in regard to mobile phone uses. Employees agree to exercise caution and safety precautions.
  • Texting while driving is a very serious violation. It is seen by law enforcement and insurance companies as distracted driving and is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Receiving a ticket for texting while driving and other serious violations may jeopardize an employee’s job, if they are required to drive a company vehicle.

Workplace Violence

It is our policy to expressly prohibit any acts or threats of violence or bullying by any employee or former employee against any other employee in or about the facility or elsewhere at any time.  The company will not condone any acts or threats of violence against any employee, customer, or visitor on the premises at any time or while they are engaged in business with or on behalf of the company, on or off the premises.  Management will take immediate action up to and including termination against any employee who engages in such behavior.  Such action will include notifying law enforcement and prosecuting violators of this policy. 

In addition, employees have a “duty to notify” their supervisors, security personnel, or any member of management of any suspicious workplace activity, situation, or incident that they observe or that they are aware of that involves other employees, former employees, customers, or visitors that appear problematic. 

Sexual & Other Unlawful Harassment

Highland Construction is committed to providing a work environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment.  Highland Construction strongly disapproves of, and will not tolerate, unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment. This policy applies to conduct occurring in the workplace and/or in other settings where Highland Construction employees may be in connection with their work, such as business trips, and business-related parties and social events.  All persons are expected to refrain from engaging in conduct which may be construed as unlawful harassment or sexual harassment.  Likewise, each person is expected to take the necessary steps to prevent and eliminate its occurrence.

This policy prohibits unlawful harassment in any form, including sexual harassment, harassment related to race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, and any other legally protected characteristic.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual acts or favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (i) submission or rejection of such conduct is a term or condition of employment or is a basis for employment decisions, or (ii) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s working conditions or performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive work environment. 

While in some cases individuals may make comments, jokes or personal advances without intending harm, such action can be unwanted, threatening and perceived as harassment.  Stopping harassment in its many forms requires an increased awareness by everyone of the impact that such actions may have on others.  Following is a partial list of unwelcome behavior that may be considered harassment:

  • Verbal conduct such as racial or ethnic epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, slurs, sexual innuendo, sexually suggestive “kidding or teasing,” jokes about gender-specific traits, unwanted sexual overtures or comments, inquiries or discussions concerning one’s sexual experiences, comments on an individual’s body;
  • Visual conduct such as derogatory and/or sexually oriented posters, photography, cartoons, drawings or gestures;
  • Physical conduct such as unwanted touching, hugging, kissing, intentional brushing up against the body of another employee;
  • Threats or demands to submit to sexual requests as a condition of continued employment or to avoid a loss of benefits, or offers of benefits in return for sexual favors; and
  • Retaliation for having reported or threatened to report harassment.

Whenever possible, any person who is experiencing unwelcome conduct of the type generally described above should inform the person engaging in the conduct that it is unwelcome and request that it stop.  The complainant may choose to pursue this option alone, or may ask a supervisor or human resources representative to be present or serve as an intermediary.

In any case, a person who believes that he/she has been harassed by a co-worker, supervisor, customer, vendor or other business visitor, or who has witnessed such harassment, is strongly encouraged to report the facts of the incident or incidents in accordance with the procedure set forth below.  Highland Construction can only resolve matters brought to its attention; accordingly, Highland Construction encourages all persons to come forward with information about allegations of unlawful harassment.  Retaliation for making a complaint or cooperating in an investigation of alleged harassment is strictly prohibited.

Handling a Harassment Complaint

In the event an employee feels any form of harassment has taken place, Highland Construction will make every effort to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.  The following are guidelines for the resolution of these situations. Any employee with a complaint or observation about sex harassment should raise the issue with management so action can be taken.  Employees may bring complaints in any of these ways:

  • Tell your supervisor or manager
  • Tell the human resources manager
  • Tell your department manager
  • Tell any manager in which you have confidence

No one will be punished for bringing an issue to our attention in good faith, even if you do not have all the facts. Violation of the harassment policy is grounds for discipline or discharge.

Alcohol/Drugs

Highland Construction has a strong commitment to its employees to provide a safe and secure workplace and to establish programs promoting high standards of employee health. The purpose of this policy is to state the company’s philosophy with respect to drug and alcohol use and abuse.

The company will not tolerate employees who report for duty while impaired by use of alcoholic beverages or drugs. Being on call after hours is an important part of our service to customers. Employees in certain positions are placed in a call rotation and will be notified when their call begins and ends. Employees who are on call must be alcohol and drug free while they are on call and be ready to report to work immediately.

If Highland Construction has reasonable cause to believe an employee is impaired by illegal drugs or alcohol, the company will test for the presence of the substance by using scientifically approved means. Consistent with this policy, Highland Construction reserves the right to require any employees to present themselves for testing immediately following an employee’s involvement with an accident or incident resulting in injury to any employee or any property while on company premises or while working for the company where there is a reasonable suspicion that the incident was caused by impairment from alcohol or drug use. Any employee who either tests positive or refuses to cooperate with the testing procedures will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

It is the policy of Highland Construction to prohibit the use, sale, dispensing, or possession of illegal drugs, narcotics, and alcoholic beverages on company property or during working hours regardless of whether on company property or not. This prohibition also covers all legal or prescription drugs which may impair an employee’s ability to perform their job or prescribed drugs which are not being used in the manner prescribed or by the person for which they are prescribed. Employees who know or should know that use of a legal prescription could impair their ability to perform their job, should inform their supervisor and/or the Human Resource Department immediately. This information, which will be kept confidential, is necessary to properly assess an employee’s ability to perform their job duties.

For cause testing may be required of current employees in the event of unusual behavior or reasonable suspicion that an injury or accident to include damage to company property in excess of $100 was due to impairment from use of alcohol or drugs, gross negligence or carelessness; disregard for the safety, life or well-being of any employee or business associate, customer request, reporting to or remaining at work in an apparently unfit condition; or any other reason the company deems sufficient. An injury or accident will require drug testing if it requires medical treatment outside the facility beyond basic first aid.

Testing for the presence of alcohol may be conducted using a saliva test, breathalyzer test, blood alcohol test or any other scientifically acceptable testing method. A blood alcohol test may be used to confirm initial screening done by some other testing procedure.

Refusal of an applicant or employee to submit to or cooperate with the administration of an alcohol or drug test or any attempt to invalidate or circumvent an alcohol or drug test will result in no offer of employment being extended in the case of an applicant, or termination in the case of an employee.

The results of drug and alcohol tests will be treated as confidential. All employees are encouraged to approach company management at any time with any questions they may have about the drug and alcohol policy.

Employees may also be requested by management to submit to search of personal property. Employees refusing to allow a search will be terminated.

Violation of the company’s alcohol and drug policy is grounds for immediate discharge.

Section VI – Special Items and Procedures

Visitors

For safety and security reasons, personal visits to our office by relatives, friends, and former employees are not authorized.  Visitors are never allowed on job sites, in the workshop, warehouse, and content packing facility or in company vehicles.

Phone Use

The business telephone lines must remain open for business calls and to service our customers. Employees are not authorized to make or receive any personal calls on the business lines with the exception of emergency calls.  Employees are not allowed to use personal communication devices (cell phones, iPads, etc.), for making/receiving phone calls, emails, texting, and social media, during business hours, with the exception of emergency calls, unless they are on their rest or lunch breaks.

Do not operate cell phones, including texting, while you are operating a vehicle or other company equipment.  Failure to follow this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Employees operating company vehicles or personal vehicles for company business agree to abide by all state laws in regard to mobile phone uses. Employees agree to exercise caution and safety precautions. Receiving a ticket for texting while driving is seen as a serious offence by law enforcement and insurance companies. Receiving a ticket for this or any other serious offense while operating a company vehicle may be grounds for dismissal.  

Highland provides 24-hour emergency service to our clients. Because of this, all employees must be accessible 24 hours a day by phone, either by company cell phone or personal phone. Alert your supervisor if there is a problem or if this creates a hardship.

Communication Systems

Highland Construction is committed to ensuring that its employees utilize its various electronic communication systems in an appropriate manner. These systems include, but are not limited to, e-mail, internet, fax, voice mail, etc., and the following rules apply:

All electronic communication systems should be used primarily for company business. Personal communications must be held to a minimum and at no cost to the company.

The transmission of sexually explicit images, messages, and cartoons as well as the use of ethnic slurs, racial epithets, threats, profane language, or anything that may be construed as harassment by employees is expressly prohibited.

Users should be aware that all communication software/systems are owned by Highland Construction and the company reserves the right to inspect files at any time to ensure that the system is being appropriately used in accordance with this policy. 

Users should not permit non-employees (other than approved vendors or trainers) access to any electronic communication system.

Failure to follow these rules subjects the employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Personal use by employees of electronic or other high-tech communication resources provided Highland Construction are not private and therefore the company reserves the right to monitor the use of those applicable resources, including but not limited to, telephone, voice mail, e-mail and internet utilities. Inappropriate use of the telephone, fax, mail room service, e-mail or internet services can warrant disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

The company reserves the right to review, audit, intercept, access and disclose all messages created, received, erased or sent over the e-mail system for any purpose.

Some employees may be authorization to take approved pictures and/or images of Highland facilities, employees, and construction sites. Camera authorization is issued to an individual(s) for specific company camera or filming/video equipment and such authorization is not to be shared, transferred or otherwise loaned to any other unauthorized personnel. Highland Construction expects all employees to take this policy seriously. Employee’s failure to adhere to these guidelines is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.   All employees are expected to report any situations or incidents on Company property, without fear of reprisal, which could compromise the safety or security of Highland Construction employees, visitors or customers to the Human Resources Department and/or management. All information will be maintained confidentially.

Disclosure of Business Information

It is the Company’s policy to identify and protect from unauthorized disclosure of any and all confidential information and trade secrets.

The purpose of this policy is to protect the company’s interest regarding certain information by taking steps to safeguard it and prevent its unauthorized disclosure both within and outside of the Company.

Employees are prohibited from attempting to obtain confidential information for which they have not received authorization.  Employees violating this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination, and may be subject to legal action.

“Trade secrets” are to be defined consistent with the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) and NCGS 66-152 including information which:

  • derives independent economic value from not being generally known;
  • is not readily ascertainable through proper means by competitors; and
  • is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

“Confidential information” includes any information particular to the Company which is not readily ascertainable to the public, the disclosure of which could be harmful to the Company such as:

  • Official confidential personnel files
  • Computer process safeguards
  • Computer programs and codes
  • Customer Lists
  • Customer preferences
  • Company trade secrets

(Any employee who is unsure whether or not information is considered as confidential or a trade secret should ask their supervisor or any member of management for clarification.)

 All employees must take reasonable steps to safeguard the confidentiality and prevent the unauthorized disclosure of any information defined by this policy. Such steps will include, but are not limited to:

  • clearly labeling such information as “Confidential” or “Trade Secret”, as appropriate;
  • discarding in an appropriate manner, including shredding, any such information which is no longer needed;
  • ensuring proper security safeguards for databases, software or any other computer-based information;
  • utilizing locked storage cabinets, sign-out sheets and authorized access lists; and
  • discussing appropriate security measures with subordinates.

The unauthorized disclosure of any information or data defined by this policy to competitors, clients, future employers or others who are not authorized to have access to such will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, and may be subject to legal action.  It is the responsibility of each employee to ensure that appropriate security is being taken to protect the Company’s confidential information and trade secrets. Nothing in the policy is intended to restrict an employee’s right of free speech as granted by the National Labor Relations Act or any other rights protected by federal or state law.

Confidentiality

Our company is engaged in a service to clients that requires confidentiality of information be maintained.  This includes client lists and insurance information, mortgage information, and other private customer information.  Therefore, it is our policy that the internal business affairs of the organization, particularly confidential information, trade secrets, forms, policies, and customer information, represent assets that each employee has a continuing obligation to protect.

No employee will store information outside of the company either in written or electronic form about any matter pertaining to the conduct of the company’s business, which may compromise the client or the company to outsiders. Any employee who compromises information may be subject to dismissal.

The company requires all employees to sign an employment agreement which contain confidentiality statement as a condition of employment, due to the possibility of being privy to information that is confidential and/or intended for the company use only. You will be asked to read and sign this employment agreement. All employees are required to maintain such information in strict confidence. This policy benefits you, as an employee, by protecting the interests of the company in the safeguard of confidential, unique and valuable information from competitors or others.

Should an occasion arise in which you are unsure of your obligations under this policy, it is your responsibility to consult with your supervisor or the Director of Human Resources. Failure to comply with this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Solicitation and Distribution

Solicitation and distribution of literature by non-employees on company property is prohibited. Solicitation by employees on company property during working time is prohibited. Working time is the time an employee is expected to be performing her/his job duties and does not include break periods, meal times or other periods when employees are properly not engaged in performing their work. Distribution of literature by employees on company property in non-working areas during working time, as defined above, is prohibited. Distribution of literature by employees on company property in working areas is also prohibited.

Outside Employment

All employees, including part time employees, must obtain prior approval from management before undertaking any outside employment or other work activity.  We require that any outside work activities you undertake should not compete or conflict with the company’s interests.  Performing outside work for Highland Construction’s customers is strictly prohibited. 

All outside employment will be handled on a case-by-case basis.  We urge you to consider carefully the demands that additional work activity will create.  Outside employment will not be considered an excuse for poor job performance, absenteeism, tardiness, leaving early, refusal to travel, or refusal to work overtime or different hours. 

Tobacco or Electronic Cigarettes

The company strives to provide a healthy environment for all employees. Therefore, we do not allow any form of tobacco, smokeless tobacco, or electronic cigarettes to be consumed inside of our facilities or on any grounds of the offices, warehouses or Showroom.   Employees may smoke during their breaks in an area away from the offices, warehouses or Showroom.   Employees are required to dispose of cigarette butts, wrappers and / or packaging and all other related trash. These products are never allowed in any client’s home or on their property (inside or outside) or in any company vehicle. 

Social Media Policy

Our company is committed to maintaining a good relationship with employees, customers, and the community. While Highland has no intentions of controlling employees’ actions outside of work, it is important that employees practice caution and use discretion when posting content on the Internet, and especially on social media that could affect business operations or reputation. Do not post any information regarding clients, vendors, sub-contractors, or employees of Highland including names, addresses, comments, or photos. Do not post photos of yourself wearing Highland work apparel or use the Highland logo or photos of company property including vehicles. Do not post on social media during normal business hours or while working for the company after hours. Designated staff will maintain Highland’s communications through advertising, company website, and social media.

Employment of Relatives

Relatives of current employees will be considered for employment provided they possess the required qualifications of employment. 

Training and Education

The company encourages all employees to be more effective on the job and increase their career potential within the company. When the company pays for training and development for an employee, the company may require the employee to continue their employment for a certain length of time or reimburse the company for the training expense. Your supervisor will discuss this with you before the expense is incurred.

Dress Code

As an employee of our company, we expect you to present a clean and professional appearance when you represent us when you are in the office, in the field, or representing the company at any time.  This includes non-work time if wearing company apparel.  If you have been provided with company apparel or a uniform, you are expected to wear it while working. You are expected to clean and maintain the apparel or uniforms provided to you.  Employees will be expected to pay for the replacement of lost or damaged company apparel or uniforms. Company apparel is to be returned if you leave the company or the cost will be deducted from your final paycheck.

Employees should be well groomed. The company does not object to an employee having mustaches, beards, or piercings, subject to management approval.   What is allowed at the time of hire may differ during your employment depending on new requirements of your job and you could be asked to alter your appearance to meet the needs of your position.

Should you alter your appearance by adding a beard, piercing or something else that would affect you from doing your job you will be notified and asked to return to a condition that meets the job requirements.  If you do not meet the standards of this dress code policy, management will take corrective action that may include being sent away from work.  You will not be paid for any time you miss because of failure to comply with this policy.

Fragrances in the Workplace

Employee are discouraged from wearing heavy perfume or cologne to work or have other heavily fragranced products at work. The company recognizes that employees and visitors to our offices may have sensitive and/or allergic reactions to various fragrant products. Personal fragrant products (perfume, cologne, lotions, powders, and other similar products that are perceptible to others should not be permitted in the workplace. Any employee with a concern about scents or odors should contact his or her manager or the Human Resources Department.

General Work Rules

Rules are not created to restrict the rights of any individual, but to protect the many privileges enjoyed by all the members of our organization.  The rules outlined in this section are not all-inclusive, and like all the company guidelines, are subject to change based on business needs.  However, they are representative of the types of conduct that cannot be permitted in any efficient and harmonious business organization.  The list is provided as an example only.  As a general guide, the following list describes conduct that is not permitted at the company and will lead to corrective action up to and including termination:

  1. Falsification of employment application, time records, or other company documents.
  2. Insubordination—refusal to work or perform a reasonable assignment.
  3. Abusive, threatening, profane, coercive, or harassing language or conduct to or in the presence of a supervisor, co-worker, customer, or visitor.
  4. Fighting
  5. Indecent, lewd, or offensive sexually suggestive behavior.
  6. Taking, selling, distributing, or possessing drugs, narcotics or alcoholic beverages while on company business or on company property at any time.  Being under the influence of such substances while in the performance of one’s duties and while being on call.
  7. Deliberate damage, abuse, or destruction of company property, customer’s property or the property of another employee.
  8. Theft or misappropriation of company, customer or co-worker property or proprietary information. 
  9. Willful violation or disregard of safety rules.
  10. Negligence in the performance of duties resulting in damaged equipment, personal injury or injury to others.
  11. The use of company equipment, material, or time for personal work without permission.
  12. Obtaining or attempting to obtain authorization of any kind of absence under false pretenses.
  13. Unauthorized leaving of the facility during working time.
  14. Failure to report a personal injury on the day it occurs to the supervisor.
  15. Disregard of established availability for work guidelines, or failure to provide proper notice or to obtain authorization as appropriate for absences.
  16. Habitually reporting late to work.
  17. Being absent from work three consecutive scheduled workdays without notifying the supervisor.
  18. Inefficiency or lack of application to your job.
  19. Failure to receive authorization from the supervisor prior to working overtime.
  20. Abuse of lunch or break periods.
  21. Possessing a weapon and/or objects used for injuring and intimidating while on company or client property and/or on company business.
  22. Failure to maintain confidentiality regarding company business, participants or customers who receive our services.
  23. Failure to report for work at the end of a leave of absence.  
  24. Unapproved outside jobs.
  25. Receiving gifts or items of any type from customers.
  26. Taking for personal use any property removed or salvaged from any jobsites.

Our employee behavior policy is necessary for the efficient operation of the company and for the protection of the rights and safety of all employees.  Behavior that enhances and maintains the image of the company, develops and maintains healthy relationships with customers and fellow employees or contributes to efficient operations is the norm for the company. 

Disciplinary Procedures

It is the policy of the company that all employees are expected to comply with the company’s standards of behavior and performance and that any noncompliance with these standards must be corrected. 

The following is the sequence of disciplinary action the company has established to ensure fair, equitable and uniform handling of employee misconduct.  These are only guidelines.  Discipline may begin at any step, depending on the seriousness of the offense. 

Verbal Warning—Your supervisor will meet with you to discuss the nature of the issue.  Your supervisor will discuss ways to correct the behavior.  A memo will be prepared regarding the issue.   

  1. Written Warning—In the event further action is required, your supervisor will issue a written reprimand to you.  You will be warned that a third occurrence will result in more severe disciplinary action. 
  2. Suspension—If there are additional occurrences, a written record will be prepared.  You will be suspended for a time to be determined based on the circumstances. 
  3. Termination—This step will be used when warnings have not been heeded or inexcusable misconduct.  Discharge can be for any reason not prohibited by law. 

The progressive disciplinary policy will be applied to an employee who experiences a series of problems involving performance or behavior.  Under normal circumstances, the company endorses a policy of progressive discipline in which it attempts to provide employees with notice of deficiencies and an opportunity to improve.  It does, however, retain the right to administer discipline in any manner it sees fit.  This policy does not modify the status of employees as employees-at-will or in any way restrict the company’s right to bypass the disciplinary procedures suggested. 

Separation of Employment

Separation of employment can occur for different reasons. Employment may end as a result of resignation, retirement, end of temporary assignment, reduction in workforce or termination. When an employee separates from Highland Construction, her or his supervisor may contact Human Resources to schedule an exit interview, typically to take place on the employee’s last work day. As stated above there are several types of separation. They are:

Resignation

Resignation is a voluntary act initiated by the employee to end employment with Highland Construction. The employee must provide a minimum of two (2) weeks notice prior to resignation. If an employee does not provide advance notice or fails to actually work the remaining two (2) weeks, he/she will be ineligible for rehire and will not receive accrued benefits.

Retirement

Employees who wish to retire are required to notify their Department Head and the Human Resources Department in writing at least one (1) month before the planned retirement date.

Job Abandonment

Employees who fail to report to work or contact their supervisor for two (2) consecutive work days shall be considered to have abandoned the job without notice, effective at the end of their normal shift on the second day. The supervisor shall notify the Human Resources Department at the expiration of the second work day and initiate the paperwork to terminate the employee. Employees who are separated due to job abandonment are ineligible to receive accrued benefits and are ineligible for rehire.

Termination

Employees are employed on an at-will basis, and the company retains the right to terminate an employee at any time.

Reduction in Workforce

An employee may be laid off because of changes in duties, organizational changes, lack of funds or lack of work. Employees who are laid off may not appeal the layoff decision through the company appeals process.

Release

Release is the end of temporary or seasonal employment.

Automatic Termination

If an employee has not returned to full-duty status from an authorized Leave of Absence(s) at the end of one (1) year, employment will be automatically terminated. An employee will be considered unable to return to work if he or she cannot perform the essential functions of the job in full capacity, with or without reasonable accommodation. Under no circumstances may an employee be absent from work for more than one (1) consecutive year, unless on Military Leave or with approval of the Human Resources Manager.

Out-Processing

Return of Property

The separating employee must return all company property at the time of separation, including but not limited to; uniforms, cell phones, keys, PC’s and identification cards. Failure to return some items may result in deductions from the final paycheck. An employee will be required to sign the Wage Deduction Authorization form to deduct the costs of certain items from the final paycheck.

Exit Interview

The separating employee shall contact the Human Resources Department as soon as notice is given to schedule an exit interview. The interview will be on the employee’s last day of work or other day, as mutually agreed upon.

PTO Leave

Accrued Paid Time Off leave will be paid in the last paycheck. Employees who fail to give a two (2) week notice or are terminated for job abandonment and/or misconduct forfeits accrued sick/vacation leave.

Health Insurance

Health insurance terminates on the last day of employment, unless the employee requests immediate termination of benefits. Information for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continued coverage will be provided. Employees will be required to pay their share of the dependent health and dental premiums through the end of the month.

Rehire

Former employees who leave Highland Construction in good standing and are classified as eligible for rehire may be considered for employment. An application must be submitted to the Human Resources Department, and the applicant must meet all minimum qualifications and requirements of the position, including any qualifying exam, when required.

Supervisors must obtain approval from the Human Resource Manager or designee prior to rehiring a former employee. Rehired employees begin benefits just as any other new employee. Previous tenure will not be considered in calculating longevity, leave accruals or any other benefits.

Bar From Employment

An employee who is terminated for violating policy or who resigned in lieu of termination from employment due to a policy violation will be ineligible for rehire.

Conclusion

This handbook provides general guidelines of the employment policies and practices that will affect you and your job.  Please take the time to review it so you are familiar with what you can expect from us and what we can expect from you.  Of course, the policies and procedures contained in this handbook are subject to change from time to time. A current employee handbook will be given to each employee when hired and stored on the shared drive online. A printed copy may be requested at any time from Human Resources.  As changes are made, you will be provided with updated pages that will keep this handbook current.

We have established policies and procedures that are responsive to the needs of both you and the company.  They are designed to provide a work place environment which fosters individual employee productivity and which provides for maximum employee growth and personal achievement.

However, as stated earlier, none of our personnel programs, policies, or practices is to be viewed as creating any promises or any contractual rights to employment or to the benefits of employment.  Rather, they are guidelines that are subject to change by the company in its discretion.  It is our hope that each of our employees will find the company to be a fulfilling place to work.  Nevertheless, employment with the company is not guaranteed.  This means that either you or the company may terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason.