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EMPLOYEE/INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR HANDBOOK
On behalf of your new colleagues, I welcome you to Bay Realty of Florida and wish you every success here.
We believe that each employee contributes directly to Bay Realty’s growth and success, and we hope you will take pride in being a member of our team.
This Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook was developed to describe some of the expectations of our employees and to outline the policies, programs and benefits available to eligible employees. Employees should familiarize themselves with the content of the Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook as soon as possible, as it should answer many questions related to your employment or association with Bay Realty.
We hope that your experience here will be challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding. Again, welcome!
Richard A Dombrowski
I. Providing General Residential and Commercial Real Estate services.
II. Main Office located @
12000 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Suite 150,
Tampa, FL 33618
III. Founded in 2013, Bay Realty has been operating as a Tampa-based real estate brokerage serving the entire state of Florida. By offering a full range of general real estate services, Bay Realty has found our place amongst the top brokerages in Florida.
IV. Bay Realty is operated as a Limited Liability Company
Bay Realty promotes an entrepreneurial spirit for our agents and employees.
VI. Our goal is sustained growth by providing our customers, employees, independent contractors, and stakeholders with excellent service in an ever-changing market.
PURPOSE OF EMPLOYEE/INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR HANDBOOK
This Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook is designed to acquaint you with Bay Realty and to provide you with information about working conditions, employee benefits and some of the policies, rules and procedures affecting your employment. You should read, understand and follow the policies, rules and procedures described in this Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook. It describes many of your responsibilities as an employee and outlines the programs developed by Bay Realty to benefit you as an employee.
While every attempt has been made to create these policies consistent with federal and state law, if an inconsistency arises, the policy(ies) will be enforced consistent with the applicable law.
No Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook can anticipate every circumstance or question about company policy. Bay Realty has prepared this Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook for informational purposes only. None of the statements, policies, procedures or rules contained in this handbook constitutes a guarantee of employment, a guarantee of any other rights or benefits or a contract of employment, express or implied. Bay Realty reserves the right to revise, change, supplement or eliminate any policies or portion or provisions set forth in this Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook at any time with or without notice, except for the rights of the parties to terminate employment at will, which may be modified only by an express written agreement signed by the employee and the Manager or Broker of Bay Realty. This handbook supersedes all previous handbooks, statements, policies, procedures and rules given to employees, whether verbal or written.
Sections I. II, & III below pertain to paid Employees of Bay Realty. Sections IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, & IX pertain to paid Employees & Independent Contractors.
CONTENT PAGE #
Equal Employment Opportunity
Personnel Data Changes 8
Access to Personnel Files
II. BENEFITS AND LEAVES OF ABSENCE
Employee Benefits 9
Religious Holidays 10
Paid Time Off 10
Sick Leave 11
Jury Duty 11
Witness Duty 11
Medical Leave 12
Military Service Leave 13
Time-keeping System 13
Pay Schedules/Paydays 14
Pay Corrections 14
Salary Basis Policy 15
Business Travel Expenses 15
IV. WORK CONDITIONS AND HOURS
Hours of Operation/Work Schedules/Flextime 16
Rest and Meal Periods 17
Guns and Weapons in the Workplace 17
Workplace Violence Prevention 18
Emergency Closings 18
Visitors in the Workplace 18
V. EMPLOYEE CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE
General Standards of Conduct 19
Attendance and Punctuality 20
Business Ethics and Conduct 20
Drug Free Workplace 21
Drug and Alcohol Testing 21
Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment 22
Hiring Relatives and Personal Relationships in the Workplace 23
Confidential Information/Non-disclosure 23
Conflicts of Interest 24
Customer Service 25
Dress Code/Personal Appearance 25
Computer, E-Mail and Internet Usage 26
Right to Monitor and Consequences 28
Use of Phone and Mail Systems 28
Use of Company Cell Phone While Driving 28
Use of Personal Communication Devices 28
Use of Equipment and Vehicles 29
Outside Employment 29
Disciplinary Procedures/Progressive Discipline 30
Smoke-Free Workplace 30
VI. CAREER DEVELOPMENT
Job and Performance Evaluation 31
VII. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Workplace Monitoring 31
Personal Home Purchase 31
Bulletin Boards 32
Solicitation and Distribution of Literature 32
Problem Solving Process 32
Suggestion Program 33
Laws and Policy 34
Antitrust Compliance Brochure 35
Dealings with Competitors 38
IX. END OF EMPLOYMENT
Employment or Independent Contract Termination 39
Return of Company Property 39
ACKNOWLEDGMENT FORM 40
Your employment with Bay Realty is considered to be “at-will” which means that it is for an unspecified period of time and either you or the company may end the relationship at any time for any reason, with or without notice or cause. Nothing contained in the company’s Employee/Independent Contractor Handbook or in any oral or written statement shall change your employment at-will status or otherwise limit the right to terminate employment at will. Policies set forth in this handbook are not intended to create a contract, nor are they to be construed to constitute contractual obligations of any kind or a contract of employment between Bay Realty and any of its employees. No manager or employee of Bay Realty shall have the authority to enter into an employment agreement--express or implied--with any employee providing for employment other than at-will.
This policy of at-will employment defines the sole and entire relationship between you and Bay Realty as to the duration of your employment and the circumstances under which your employment may be terminated.
With the exception of this employment at-will policy, the terms and conditions of your employment with Bay Realty may be modified, changed or revoked at the sole discretion of the company for any reason at any time. No implied contract concerning any employment-related decision or term or condition of employment can be established by any other statement, conduct, policy, or practice. Examples of the types of terms and conditions of employment that are within the sole discretion of the company include, but are not limited to, the following: promotion, demotion, transfers, hiring decisions, compensation, benefits, qualifications, discipline, layoff or recall, rules, hours and schedules, work assignments, job duties and responsibilities, production standards, subcontracting, reduction, cessation, or expansion of operations, sale, relocation, merger, or consolidation of operations, determinations concerning the use of equipment, methods, or facilities, or any other terms and conditions that the company may determine to be necessary for the safe, efficient, and economic operation of its business.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Bay Realty maintains a continuing policy of nondiscrimination in all employment practices and decisions, ensuring equal employment opportunities for all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or any other protected status. This applies to both Bay Realty employees and applicants for employment with the Company.
In keeping with this policy, Bay Realty does not discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. This nondiscrimination policy extends to all terms, conditions and privileges of employment as well as all employment actions, including but not limited to recruiting, hiring, promotions, compensation, training, benefits and termination of employment.
Bay Realty believes that the work conditions, wages, and benefits it offers to its employees are competitive with those offered by other employers in this area and in this industry. If employees have concerns about work conditions or compensation, they are strongly encouraged to voice these concerns openly and directly to their supervisors.
Our experience has shown that when employees deal openly and directly with supervisors, the work environment can be excellent, communications can be clear, and attitudes can be positive. We believe that Bay Realty amply demonstrates its commitment to employees by responding effectively to employee concerns.
Bay Realty has established certain employment classifications so that employees understand their employment status and benefit eligibility. These classifications have been established in accordance with applicable federal and state law. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to limit or change the Company’s employment at-will policy. All employment with Bay Realty is for an unspecified time and the right to terminate the employment relationship at will, at any time, with or without cause or notice is retained by both the employee and the Company.
1) Every employee is designated as either exempt or non-exempt.
a) Exempt employees are those who are exempt from federal and state overtime laws and generally are paid a fixed amount of compensation that does not vary based on the number of hours worked.
b) Non-exempt employees are those who are entitled to overtime pay in accordance with applicable federal and state overtime provisions. For all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in one week, non-exempt employees will be paid at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay.
2) In addition, every employee will be further classified as either regular full-time, regular part-time, temporary, or contract.
a) Regular full-time employees are those who are not in a temporary status and who are regularly scheduled to work at least 40 (forty) hours per week.
b) Regular part-time employees are those who are not in a temporary status and who are regularly scheduled to work less than 40 (forty) hours per week. Regular part-time employees receive all legally mandated benefits (such as employer-paid social security contributions and workers’ compensation insurance).
c) Temporary employees are those who are hired directly by Bay Realty for a limited time to supplement the work force or to assist in the completion of a specific project. Employment beyond any initially stated period does not in any way constitute or imply a change in employment classification. Temporary employees retain that status, unless and until notified of a change by the Company. Temporary employees may or may not be paid directly by Bay Realty.
d) Contract employees are those who work independently, pay their own taxes, and provide their own workers’ compensation insurance. Proof of such insurance is required before Bay Realty will enter into any working relationship with a contract employee. Contract employees bill the Company for their time and are paid directly through the Company’s Accounting Department.
The introductory period is intended to give new employees the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to achieve a satisfactory level of performance and to determine whether the new position meets their expectations. Bay Realty uses this period to evaluate employee capabilities, work habits and overall performance. Either the employee or the Company may terminate the employment relationship during or after the introductory period, with or without notice or cause.
All new and rehired employees will work on an introductory basis for the first 90 calendar days after their date of hire. Any significant absence from work during that period will automatically extend the introductory period by the length of the absence. If Bay Realty determines that the designated introductory period does not allow sufficient time to thoroughly evaluate the employee’s performance, the introductory period may be extended in the company’s sole discretion for a specified period of time.
Upon satisfactory completion of the introductory period, employees enter the “regular” employment classification. However, completion of the introductory period and status as a “regular” employee in no way changes the at-will employment relationship in which both the employee and the company may terminate employment at any time, with or without notice or cause.
Personnel Data Changes
It is the responsibility of each employee to promptly notify Bay Realty of any changes in personnel data. Personal mailing addresses, telephone numbers, number and names of dependents, individuals to be contacted in the event of an emergency, educational accomplishments, and other such status reports should be accurate and current at all times. If any personnel data has changed, notify the Office Manager.
Access to Personnel Files
Bay Realty maintains a personnel file on each employee. The personnel file generally includes the employee’s job application, resume, training records, documentation of performance appraisals, wage and salary information and other employment records.
Personnel files are the property of Bay Realty and employment information contained in the files is considered confidential. Access to the information contained in the company’s personnel files is restricted to those with a need to access such information. Generally, only supervisors, managers and human resource representatives with a legitimate reason to review information in a file are allowed to do so.
With reasonable advance notice, employees may review their own personnel files in the company’s offices and may request copies of documents contained in their file pursuant to applicable state and local laws. Please contact the Office Manager to arrange a mutually convenient time to review your file.
II. BENEFITS AND LEAVES OF ABSENCE
Eligible employees at Bay Realty are provided a wide range of benefits. A number of the programs (such as Social Security, workers' compensation, state disability, and unemployment insurance) cover all employees in the manner prescribed by law.
Benefits eligibility is dependent upon a variety of factors, including employee classification. You will be informed of the programs for which you are eligible.
The following benefit programs are currently available to eligible employees:
Some benefit programs require contributions from the employee. Bay Realty employee benefit programs can be revised or rescinded at any time, to the extent permitted by law.
Bay Realty currently observes the following holidays:
New Year’s Day Thanksgiving Day
Memorial Day Day after Thanksgiving
Labor Day Christmas Day
Independence Day Day after Christmas
Regular full-time and part-time employees are eligible to receive holiday pay immediately upon their date of hire. Holiday pay will be calculated based on the employee’s straight-time pay (as of the date of the holiday) multiplied by the number of hours the employee would otherwise have worked on that day.
Generally, if a holiday falls on a Saturday, Bay Realty will celebrate the holiday on the Friday immediately preceding it. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, Bay Realty will observe the holiday on the following Monday.
If a recognized holiday falls during an eligible employee’s paid absence (such as vacation or sick leave), holiday pay will be provided instead of the paid time off benefit that otherwise would have applied.
If eligible non-exempt employees work on a recognized holiday, they will receive holiday pay in addition to the straight-time wages earned for the hours worked on the holiday.
Paid time off for holidays will not be counted as hours worked for the purposes of determining overtime.
In order to receive holiday pay, employees must work their scheduled day immediately before and immediately after the holiday. If an employee is absent on his or her scheduled day immediately before or immediately after the holiday, he or she will not be paid for the holiday. If an employee is scheduled to work on the holiday and is absent, he or she will not be paid for the holiday.
Bay Realty will attempt to accommodate employee requests to observe religious holidays. Employees may request unpaid time off from work for the observance of religious holidays by notifying his or her immediate supervisor at least ten (10) days in advance of the required time off. Vacation time and personal holidays may be used to receive pay for religious observances. Sick time may not be used for religious observance.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
All regular full-time and part-time employees receive Paid Time Off. Paid Time Off is a time for you to rest, relax, and pursue special interests. PTO is an all purpose time-off policy that may be used for vacation, illness, bereavement, personal business, etc.
Time off for any reason during a working day will count first against your accrued Paid Time Off, as appropriate. Once you have used all of your earned Paid Time Off, additional time off, if approved, will be without pay.
Amount of Paid Time Off
Full-time regular employees are eligible to accrue Paid Time Off for each pay period of service. The PTO accrual rate is based on your length of employment, as follows:
Regular Full-time Employee – Annual PTO Accrual (26 pay periods per year)
Years 1-4 3.2 hours per pay period, up to 83.2 hours per year
Years 5-9 4.62 hours per pay period, up to 120 hours per year
Years 10 and after 6.16 hours per pay period, up to 160 hours per year
Regular Part-time Employees -- Annual PTO Accrual (26 pay periods per year)
Years 1-3 . 77 hours per pay period, up to 20 hours per year
Years 4-9 1.54 hours per pay period, up to 40 hours per year
Years 10 and after 3.08 hours per pay period, up to 80 hours per year
Employees can carry over PTO only to the extent that it doubles the PTO time to which they are entitled. When an employee leaves the company, whether he or she resigns or is terminated, he or she will be paid for any PTO time that has been earned but not used.
Employees can use their PTO time as it is earned, once they have completed their 90-day introductory period. The Office Manager must be notified whenever PTO time is used so that eligible employees who have PTO time available can be properly paid.
Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused accrued PTO from year to year. An employee with more than 40 hours of unused PTO at the end of the current anniversary year will forfeit those hours.
PTO can be used in minimum increments of one hour. Exempt employees may take PTO only in full day increments. Employees who have an unexpected need to be absent from work should notify their direct supervisor before the scheduled start of their workday, if possible. Employees must also notify their direct supervisor on each additional day of unexpected absence.
To schedule planned PTO, employees should request advance approval from their supervisor at least two weeks in advance. Requests for PTO will be reviewed and approved based on a number of factors, including operational requirements and staffing needs.
PTO is paid at the employee’s base pay rate at the time of the absence for the number of hours absent. It does not include overtime or any special forms of compensation such as incentives, commissions, bonuses or shift differentials.
If an employee will not be coming into work because of illness or injury or a medical appointment, he or she must notify his or her supervisor or manager at least one hour prior to the start of his or her shift. If an employee becomes sick during the workday, he or she must notify his or her manager or supervisor before leaving the work site. Failure to notify one’s supervisor or manager as stated herein may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Employees absent more than five (5) consecutive days due to their own illness or injury must apply for a medical leave of absence, if eligible.
Bay Realty reserves the right to require a satisfactory statement of a health care provider whenever an employee misses work due to an illness or injury. The employee may be asked to provide a physician’s statement that verifies that an illness or injury existed, its beginning and ending dates, and the employee’s ability to return to work. When requested, such verifications and releases may be a condition to receiving sick leave benefits and returning to work. Although a physician’s statement normally will not be requested for absences of three working days or less, Bay Realty may request such a statement in situations where it determines that a physician’s statement is warranted.
All regular full-time and regular part-time employees shall be allowed to attend jury duty service in accordance with their legal obligations to do so.
An employee who receives a jury duty summons shall present the summons to his or her supervisor immediately. Employees on jury duty must report to work on days or parts of days when they are not required to serve. If an employee does not return to work immediately after an approved leave for jury duty, Bay Realty will assume that the employee has voluntarily resigned his or her position with Bay Realty.
Jury duty may or may not be paid in compliance with federal and state requirements. If paid, jury duty pay will be calculated on the employee’s base pay rate times the number of hours the employee would otherwise have worked on the day of absence.
Any employee subpoenaed to appear in court as a witness shall be allowed to take time off from work without pay in order to appear. An employee who is required to appear in court must present the subpoena to his or her supervisor as soon as possible. The employee is expected to report for work whenever the court schedule permits. Employees are free to use any available paid leave benefits (such as vacation leave) to receive compensation for the period of the absence due to witness duty.
Bay Realty encourages employees to fulfill their civic responsibilities by participating in elections. Generally, employees are expected to find time to vote either before or after their regular work schedule. However, if employees are unable to vote in an election during their nonworking hours, Bay Realty will grant up to 3 hours of unpaid time off to vote.
Employees should request time off to vote from their supervisor at least two working days prior to the Election Day. Advance notice is required so that the necessary time off can be scheduled at the beginning or end of the work shift; whichever provides the least disruption to the normal work schedule.
Medical Leave (Non – FMLA) Policy
All regular full-time employees who have completed their introductory periods are eligible to take an unpaid medical leave of absence for up to thirty (30) days, at the discretion of Bay Realty. A request for a medical leave of absence must be submitted on a Leave of Absence Request form. All requests for a medical leave of absence must be accompanied by a statement from the employee’s health care provider indicating the need for the medical leave and the expected return to work date. All medical leaves of absence must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor or manager. Medical leaves for more than thirty (30) days may be granted at the sole discretion of the company.
A request for a medical leave of absence will be considered on the basis of the employee’s length of service, performance, responsibility level, the reason for the leave, whether other individuals are already out on leave, and the expected impact of the leave on the company’s operations.
The period of time during which an employee is on a medical leave of absence is unpaid and will not be considered time worked for purposes of determining eligibility for, or the amount of, certain benefits, such as vacation and sick time. When an employee returns from a leave of absence, the eligibility and accrual dates for such benefits will be adjusted forward to reflect the period of the leave. If a paid holiday falls during the period an employee is on a leave of absence, the employee will not be eligible for the holiday pay.
Except as required by law, Bay Realty cannot guarantee an employee’s position will be open when he or she returns from the leave of absence. If an employee’s former position is unavailable when he or she is ready to return to work from an approved leave, reasonable efforts will be made to place the employee is a comparable position for which he or she is qualified. An employee who does not accept the position offered will be considered to have voluntarily terminated his or her employment with Bay Realty, effective the day such refusal is made.
If an employee does not return to work immediately after an approved medical leave or fails to contact the company to request an extension of the leave, Bay Realty will assume that the employee has voluntarily resigned his or her position with the company. Employees who resign in this manner are not eligible for rehire.
Military Service Leave
A military leave of absence will be granted to employees who are absent from work because of service in the U.S. uniformed services in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Advance notice of military service is required, unless military necessity prevents such notice, or it is otherwise impossible or unreasonable.
Employees will receive partial pay for two-week training assignments and shorter absences. Upon presentation of satisfactory military pay verification data, employees will be paid the difference between their normal base compensation and the pay (excluding expense pay) received while on military duty.
Continuation of health insurance benefits is available as required by USERRA based on the length of the leave and subject to the terms, conditions and limitations of the applicable plans for which the employee is otherwise eligible.
Vacation, sick leave, and holiday benefits will continue to accrue during a military leave of absence of no more than 2 weeks.
Employees on military leave for up to 30 days are required to return to work for the first regularly scheduled shift after the end of service, allowing reasonable travel time. Employees on longer military leave must apply for reinstatement in accordance with USERRA and all applicable state laws.
Employees returning from military leave will be placed in the position they would have attained had they remained continuously employed or a comparable one depending on the length of military service in accordance with USERRA. They will be treated as though they were continuously employed for purposes of determining benefits based on length of service.
Accurately recording time worked is the responsibility of every non-exempt employee. Federal and state laws require Bay Realty to keep an accurate record of time worked in order to calculate employee pay and benefits. Time worked is all the time actually spent on the job performing assigned duties.
Non-exempt employees should accurately record the time they begin and end their work, as well as the beginning and ending time of each meal period. They should also record the beginning and ending time of any split shift or departure from work for personal reasons. Overtime work must always be approved before it is performed.
Altering, falsifying, tampering with time records, or recording time on another employee's time record may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Non-exempt employees should report to work no more than 5 minutes prior to their scheduled starting time nor stay more than 5 minutes after their scheduled stop time without express, prior authorization from their supervisor.
It is each employee’s responsibility to sign his or her time record to certify the accuracy of all time recorded. Your supervisor will review and then initial the time record before submitting it for payroll processing. In addition, if corrections or modifications are made to the time record, both the employee and the supervisor must verify the accuracy of the changes by initialing the time record.
All employees are paid biweekly on every other Friday. Each paycheck will include earnings for all work performed through the end of the previous payroll period.
In the event that a regularly scheduled payday falls on a day off such as a weekend or holiday, employees will receive pay on the last day of work before the regularly scheduled payday.
If a regular payday falls during an employee’s vacation, the employee’s paycheck will be available upon his or her return from vacation.
Employees may have pay directly deposited into their bank accounts if they provide advance written authorization to Bay Realty. Employees will receive an itemized statement of wages when the Company makes direct deposits.
Bay Realty takes all reasonable steps to ensure that employees receive the correct amount of pay in each paycheck and that employees are paid promptly on the scheduled payday.
In the unlikely event that there is an error in the amount of pay, the employee should promptly bring the discrepancy to the attention of their supervisor so that corrections can be made as quickly as possible.
When operating requirements or other needs cannot be met during regular working hours, employees may be scheduled to work overtime hours. When possible, advance notification of these mandatory assignments will be provided. All overtime work must receive a supervisor’s prior authorization. Overtime assignments will be distributed as equitably as practical to all employees qualified to perform the required work.
Overtime compensation is paid to all non-exempt employees in accordance with federal and state wage and hour restrictions. Overtime pay is based on actual hours worked. Time off for sick leave, vacation leave, holiday, or any leave of absence will not be considered hours worked for purposes of performing overtime calculations.
Failure to work scheduled overtime or overtime worked without prior authorization from the supervisor may result in disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination of employment.
Salary Basis Policy
Employees classified as exempt, salaried employees will receive a set salary which is intended to compensate for any and all hours worked. The salary will be established at the time of hire or when you become classified as an exempt employee. The salary will be a predetermined amount that will not be subject to deductions for variations in the quantity or quality of the work you perform.
To the extent permitted by federal and state law, your salary may be subject to certain deductions, such as:
Full day absences for personal reasons;
Full day absences for sickness or disability, where you have exhausted or have not yet accrued enough leave time;
Full week disciplinary suspensions for infractions of written company policies and procedures;
To offset amounts received as payment for jury and witness fees or military pay;
Family and Medical Leave absences (either full or partial day absences);
The first or last week of employment in the event you work less than a full week;
Employee portions of health, dental, life insurance premiums or other such benefits;
State, federal and local taxes;
Contributions to a 401(k) or other savings or pension plan.
Your salary will not be reduced for any of the following reasons:
Partial day absences for personal reasons, sickness or disability;
Absences for jury duty, attendance as a witness or military leave in any week in which you performed any work;
Any other deductions prohibited by state or federal law.
Note: If you believe you have been subject to any improper deductions from your salary, you should immediately report the matter to your supervisor or the Office Manager. Every report will be fully investigated, and corrective action will be taken where appropriate. In addition, we will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals who report alleged violations of this salary basis policy or who cooperate in the investigation of such reports. If it is determined that an improper deduction was made, you will be promptly reimbursed for the improper deduction.
Business Travel Expenses
Bay Realty will reimburse employees for reasonable business travel expenses incurred while on assignments away from the normal work location. All business travel must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor or manager.
Employees whose travel plans have been approved are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.
When approved, the actual costs of travel, meals, lodging, and other expenses directly related to accomplishing business travel objectives will be reimbursed by Bay Realty. Employees are expected to limit expenses to reasonable amounts.
Expenses that generally will be reimbursed include the following:
Airfare or train fare for travel in coach or economy class or the lowest available fare.
Car rental fees, only for compact or mid-sized cars.
Fares for shuttle or airport bus service, where available; costs of public transportation for other ground travel.
Taxi fares, only when there is no less expensive alternative.
Cost of standard accommodations in low to mid-priced hotels, motels, or similar lodgings.
Cost of meals, no more lavish than would be eaten at the employee’s own expense.
Tips not exceeding 20% of the total cost of a meal or 10% of a taxi fare.
Charges for telephone calls, fax, and similar services required for business purposes.
Employees who are involved in an accident while traveling on business must promptly report the incident to their immediate supervisor. Vehicles owned, leased, or rented by Bay Realty may not be used for personal use without prior approval.
When travel is completed, employees should submit completed travel expense reports within 7 days. Reports should be accompanied by receipts for all individual expenses.
Employees should contact their supervisor for guidance and assistance on procedures related to travel arrangements, expense reports, reimbursement for specific expenses, or any other business travel issues.
Abuse of this business travel expenses policy, including falsifying expense reports to reflect costs not incurred by the employee, can be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
IV. WORK CONDITIONS & HOURS
Hours of operation/Work Schedules/Flextime
The normal work schedule for all employees is 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Supervisors will advise employees of the times their schedules will normally begin and end. Staffing needs and operational demands may necessitate variations in starting and ending times, as well as variations in the total hours that may be scheduled each day and week.
Flexible scheduling, or flextime, is available in some cases to allow employees to vary their starting and ending times each day within established limits. Flextime may be possible depending upon staffing needs, operational considerations, the employee's performance, and the nature of the job. At no time is flextime guaranteed and once granted, the Company may change or revoke an employee’s flextime schedule at its sole discretion. Employees interested in flextime should consult their supervisor to get additional information.
Rest and Meal Periods
Each workday, full-time non-exempt employees are provided with two rest periods of 15 minutes in length. To the extent possible, rest periods will be provided in the middle of work periods. Since this time is counted and paid as time worked, employees must not be absent from their workstations beyond the allotted rest period time.
All full-time, non-exempt employees who are scheduled to work more than five (5) hours in a workday are also provided with one meal period of 30 minutes in length. Supervisors will schedule meal periods to accommodate the Company’s operating requirements. Employees will be relieved of all active responsibilities and restrictions during meal periods and will not be compensated for that time. If for any reason an employee does not take the applicable meal and rest periods, the employee must notify his or her supervisor immediately.
To assist in providing a safe and healthful work environment for employees, customers, and visitors, Bay Realty has established a workplace safety program. This program is a top priority for Bay Realty. The Office Manager has responsibility for implementing, administering, monitoring, and evaluating the safety program. Its success depends on the alertness and personal commitment of all.
Bay Realty provides information to employees about workplace safety and health issues through regular internal communication channels such as supervisor-employee meetings, bulletin board postings, memos, or other written communications.
Some of the best safety improvement ideas come from employees. Those with ideas, concerns, or suggestions for improved safety in the workplace are encouraged to raise them with their supervisor, or manager. Reports and concerns about workplace safety issues may be made anonymously if the employee wishes. All reports can be made without fear of reprisal.
Each employee is expected to obey safety rules and to exercise caution in all work activities. Employees must immediately report any unsafe condition to the appropriate supervisor. Employees who violate safety standards, who cause hazardous or dangerous situations, or who fail to report or, where appropriate, remedy such situations, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
In the case of accidents that result in injury, regardless of how insignificant the injury may appear, employees should immediately notify the Office Manager or the appropriate supervisor. Such reports are necessary to comply with laws and initiate insurance and workers’ compensation benefits procedures.
Guns and Weapons in the Workplace
Bay Realty strictly prohibits employees from bringing any guns, licensed or unlicensed, knives, or other weapons onto any company premises or into any company facility.
In order to promote a safe, productive, and efficient workplace, Bay Realty reserves the right to inspect any articles and property in an employee’s possession or on an employee’s person, to detect guns or other weapons. Bay Realty also reserves the right to inspect lockers, desks, company vehicles, personal vehicles on company property, packages, lunch boxes, backpacks, purses, containers, articles of clothing, and other objects brought onto company property that might conceal guns or other weapons.
Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Workplace Violence Prevention
Bay Realty strives to maintain a productive work environment free of violence and the threat of violence. We are committed to the safety of our employees, vendors, customers and visitors.
Bay Realty does not tolerate any type of workplace violence committed by or against employees. Any threats or acts of violence against an employee, vendor customer, visitor or property will not be tolerated. Any employee who threatens violence or acts in a violent manner while on company premises or during working hours will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Where appropriate, Bay Realty will report violent incidents to local law enforcement authorities.
A violent act or threat of violence is defined as any direct or indirect action or behavior that could be interpreted, in light of known facts, circumstances and information, by a reasonable person, as indicating the potential for or intent to harm, endanger or inflict pain or injury on any person or property.
At times, emergencies such as severe weather, fires, or power failures, can disrupt company operations. In extreme cases, these circumstances may require the closing of our work facility. Employees may call the office manager for details concerning emergency closings.
When the decision to close is made AFTER the workday has begun, employees will receive official notification from their immediate supervisor. In these situations, time off from scheduled work will be paid to exempt employees and only the hours worked will be paid to non-exempt employees. When the decision to close is made BEFORE the workday has begun, time off from scheduled work will be unpaid (non-exempt employees only). However, with supervisory approval, employees may use available paid leave time, such as unused vacation or personal days.
Salaried employees who are scheduled to work will be paid for their entire shift, whether they are on site when the facility closes, or the facility closes before their shift begins. When emergency conditions exist, essential employees who are scheduled to work but are unable to report to work must call their supervisor or manager to report their absence.
Visitors in the Workplace
To provide for the safety and security of employees and the facilities at Bay Realty, only authorized visitors are allowed in the workplace. Employees are responsible for the conduct and safety of their visitors. If an unauthorized individual is observed on Bay Realty premises, employees should immediately notify their supervisor or, if necessary, direct the individual to the Office Manager.
V. EMPLOYEE Conduct and DISCIPLINE
General Standards of Conduct
General standards of conduct exist to ensure orderly operation and provide the best possible work environment. Failure to abide by these rules may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Bay Realty’s standards include the following:
Always strive for professional excellence
Understand and support Bay Realty’s mission and overall direction
Provide superior service to all customers and employees
Be flexible, innovative, and responsive to change
Manage human and financial resources wisely
Be a team player; help others succeed
Encourage open communication throughout the company
Treat all individuals with dignity and respect
Take pride in Bay Realty and your role in our collective success
Some examples of infractions that may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination are listed below. This is list not all-inclusive, and other conduct not listed below may also result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Dishonesty, theft, or embezzlement
Falsification of documents (e.g., employment applications, time sheets)
Referring business to a direct competitor of Bay Realty
Disclosing confidential information to a competitor
Holding a second job which is in conflict with position at Bay Realty
Unauthorized possession of Company records
Refusal to perform work as required, or any other act perceived as insubordination
Use of profanity
Use or distribution of illegal substances
Unauthorized consumption of alcohol on Company premises or during working hours
Conduct that may cause injury to persons or damage to property
Sleeping on the job
Smoking in any Company facility
Unauthorized presence on Company premises while off duty
Misuse of Company facilities, equipment, or other property
Attendance and Punctuality
Employees are expected to be at work when scheduled and to arrive on time. All employees are required to be prepared to start their assigned tasks at the beginning of their scheduled work shifts. Employees are also required to return on time from their scheduled meal periods and breaks.
In those rare instances when you cannot avoid being late to work or are unable to work as scheduled, you must notify your supervisor as soon as possible (for absences, preferably at least one hour prior to the start of your shift). If you become sick during the workday, you must notify your supervisor before leaving the work site. Failure to notify your supervisor may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Bay Realty reserves the right to require a statement by a health care provider whenever an employee misses work due to an illness or injury. Such verification may be a condition of returning to work. Although a physician’s statement normally will not be requested for absences of three (3) working days or less, Bay Realty may request such a statement in situations where it determines that a physician’s statement is warranted.
Failure to show up for work along with failure to notify your supervisor will result in an absence being classified as a “No Call/No Show.” Any “No Call/No Show” is a serious violation of company attendance guidelines and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Poor attendance and excessive tardiness are disruptive to Bay Realty business operations. Excessive absenteeism and/or tardiness may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Business Ethics and Conduct
The successful business operation and reputation of Bay Realty is built upon the principles of fair dealing and ethical conduct of our employees. Our reputation for integrity and excellence requires careful observance of the spirit and letter of all applicable laws and regulations, as well as a scrupulous regard for the highest standards of conduct and personal integrity.
The continued success of Bay Realty is dependent upon our customers' trust and we are dedicated to preserving that trust. Employees owe a duty to Bay Realty, its customers, and shareholders to act in a way that will merit the continued trust and confidence of the public.
Bay Realty will comply with all applicable laws and regulations and expects its directors, officers, and employees to conduct business in accordance with the letter, spirit, and intent of all relevant laws and to refrain from any illegal, dishonest, or unethical conduct.
In general, the use of good judgment, based on high ethical principles, will guide you with respect to lines of acceptable conduct. If a situation arises where it is difficult to determine the proper course of action, the matter should be discussed openly with your immediate supervisor and, if necessary, with the Office Manager for advice and consultation.
Compliance with this policy of business ethics and conduct is the responsibility of every Bay Realty employee. Disregarding or failing to comply with this standard of business ethics and conduct could lead to disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination of employment.
Drug Free Workplace
Bay Realty strives to maintain a workplace free of drugs and alcohol and to discourage drug and alcohol abuse by its employees. Misuse of alcohol or drugs by employees can impair the ability of employees to perform their duties, as well as adversely affect our customers and customers' confidence in our company.
Employees are prohibited from using or being under the influence of alcohol while performing company business for Bay Realty, while operating a motor vehicle in the course of business or for any job-related purpose, or while on company premises or a worksite.
Bay Realty employees are prohibited from using or being under the influence of illegal drugs while performing company business or while on a company facility or worksite. You may not use, manufacture, distribute, purchase, transfer or possess an illegal drug while in Bay Realty facilities, while operating a motor vehicle for any job-related purpose or while on the job, or while performing company business. This policy does not prohibit the proper use of medication under the direction of a physician; however, misuse of such medications is prohibited.
Employees who violate this policy may be disciplined or terminated, even for a first offense. Violations include refusal to consent to and comply with testing and search procedures as described.
Bay Realty may conduct searches for illegal drugs or alcohol on company facilities or worksites without prior notice to employees. Such searches may be conducted at any time. Employees are expected to cooperate fully.
Searches of employees and their personal property may be conducted when there is reasonable suspicion to believe that the employee has violated this policy or when circumstances or workplace conditions justify such a search. Personal property may include, but is not limited to, purses, boxes, briefcases, as well as any Bay Realty property that is provided for employees' personal use, such as desks, lockers, and files.
An employee's consent to a search is required as a condition of employment and the employee's refusal to consent may result in disciplinary action, including termination.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Bay Realty may require a blood test, urinalysis, hair test or other drug or alcohol screening of employees suspected of using or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol or where other circumstances or workplace conditions justify such testing. The refusal to consent to testing may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Bay Realty will require drug testing and/or alcohol testing:
After a conditional job offer has been extended;
When a reasonable suspicion exists that any employee has alcohol, illegal drug, or intoxicant within his or her system. Reasonable suspicion means suspicion based on appearance, speech, attitude, mood, breath odor of the employee;
When an accident occurs;
When required by state or federal law.
Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment
Bay Realty is committed to providing a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive, including sexual harassment. Actions, words, jokes or comments based on an individual’s sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability or other legally protected characteristic will not be tolerated.
Harassment is unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment that interferes with work performance. Examples of harassment include verbal (such as jokes, slurs, insults, epithets, or teasing), graphic (such as offensive postures, symbols, cartoons, drawings, computer displays or e-mail) or physical (such as touching, gestures, physically threatening another person, blocking someone’s way, etc.) conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversions toward an individual because of any protected characteristic. Such conduct constitutes harassment when: (1) it has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment; or (2) it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance; or (3) it is otherwise adversely affecting an individual’s employment.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes many forms of unacceptable behavior and includes harassment by a person of the same sex as the victim. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
Unwanted sexual advances;
Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors;
Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances;
Visual conduct that includes leering, making sexual gestures or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, calendars or posters;
Inappropriate or excessive touching or hugging;
Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic commentaries about an individual’s body or desired sexual activities and sexually degrading words used to describe an individual.
Unwelcome sexual advances (either verbal or physical), requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; (2) submission or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for making employment decisions; or (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
If you experience or witness sexual or other unlawful harassment in the workplace, report it immediately to your supervisor. If the supervisor is unavailable or you do not feel comfortable contacting that person, you should immediately contact the Office Manager or any other member of management. You can raise concerns and report harassing conduct without fear of reprisal or retaliation.
The company will investigate all allegations of harassment promptly and discreetly. To the extent possible, your confidentiality and that of any witnesses and the alleged harasser will be protected against unnecessary disclosure. When the investigation is completed, you will be informed of the outcome of the investigation. Anyone, regardless of position or title, found through investigation to have engaged in improper harassment will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
Bay Realty prohibits any form of retaliation for reporting in good faith any incidents of harassment in violation of this policy, pursuing any such claim or cooperating in the investigation of such reports.
Hiring Relatives and Personal Relationships in the Workplace
The employment of relatives or individuals involved in a dating relationship in the same area of an organization may cause serious conflicts and problems with favoritism and employee morale. In addition to claims of partiality in treatment at work, personal conflicts from outside the work environment can be carried over into day-to-day working relationships.
For purposes of this policy, a relative is any person who is related by blood or marriage, or whose relationship with the employee is similar to that of persons who are related by blood or marriage. A dating relationship is defined as a relationship that may be reasonably expected to lead to the formation of a consensual “romantic” or sexual relationship. This policy applies to all employees without regard to the gender or sexual orientation of the individuals involved.
Relatives of current employees may not occupy a position that will be working directly for or supervising their relative. Individuals involved in a dating relationship with a current employee may also not occupy a position that will be working directly for or supervising the employee with whom they are involved in a dating relationship. Bay Realty also reserves the right to take prompt action if an actual or potential conflict of interest arises involving relatives or individuals involved in a dating relationship who occupy positions at any level (higher or lower) in the same line of authority that may affect the review of employment decisions.
If a relative relationship or dating relationship is established after employment between employees who are in a reporting situation described above, it is the responsibility and obligation of the supervisor involved in the relationship to disclose the existence of the relationship to management. The individuals concerned will be given the opportunity to decide who is to be transferred to another available position. If that decision is not made within 30 calendar days, management will decide who is to be transferred or, if necessary, terminated from employment.
In other cases where a conflict or the potential for conflict arises because of the relationship between employees, even if there is no line of authority or reporting involved, the employees may be separated by reassignment or terminated from employment.
All Bay Realty records and information about Bay Realty, its employees, customers, suppliers and vendors are to be kept confidential and divulged only to individuals within the company with both a need to receive and authorization to receive the information.
All records and files maintained by the company are confidential and remain the property of the company. No Bay Realty records, files or Bay Realty-related information may be removed from Bay Realty’s premises or disclosed to any outside party without the express permission from Bay Realty. Confidential information regarding Bay Realty includes, but is not limited to, financial records, business, marketing, and strategic plans, and payroll records regarding current and former employees, the identity of, contact information for, and any other account information on customers, vendors and suppliers, inventions, programs, trade secrets, formulas, techniques and processes, and any other documents or information regarding the company’s operations, procedures or practices. Additionally, the contents of Bay Realty’s records or information otherwise obtained in regard to business may not be disclosed to anyone, except where required for a business purpose.
Employees must not disclose any confidential information to any unauthorized person inside or outside the company. Employees who are unsure about the confidential nature of specific information must ask their supervisor or the Office Manager for clarification. The company reserves the right to avail itself of all legal or equitable remedies to prevent impermissible use of confidential information or to recover damages incurred as a result of the impermissible use of confidential information. In addition, employees will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment for revealing information of a confidential nature. Employees may be required to enter into written confidentiality agreements confirming their understanding of the company’s confidentiality policies.
The protection of confidential business information and trade secrets is vital to the interests and the success of Bay Realty. Such confidential information includes, but is not limited to, the following examples:
computer programs and codes
new materials research
pending projects and proposals
research and development strategies
Employees who improperly use or disclose trade secrets or confidential business information will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and legal action, even if they do not actually benefit from the disclosed information.
Conflict of Interest
Bay Realty’s continued success depends upon the undivided loyalty of its employees throughout their employment. To maintain its reputation and the relationships it has developed with outside companies and individuals, Bay Realty requires the following commitments from all of its employees.
Every Bay Realty employee has a legal and ethical responsibility to promote Bay Realty’s best interests. No employee may engage in any conduct or activity that is inconsistent with Bay Realty’s best interests or that in any fashion disrupts, undermines, or impairs Bay Realty’s relationships with any customer or prospective customer or any outside organization, person or entity with which Bay Realty has or proposes to enter into an arrangement, agreement, or contractual relationship of any kind.
Bay Realty requires the complete commitment of all full-time employees. Such employees may not engage in any outside activity or accept work in any outside position that either interferes with their ability to devote their full and best efforts to Bay Realty or raises an actual or potential conflict of interest or the possible appearance of a conflict of interest. Employees who have any questions whatsoever regarding this policy or the potential impact of outside activities on their position with Bay Realty should contact the Office Manager before accepting any outside position or engaging in any such activity.
Transactions with outside firms must be conducted within a framework established and controlled by the executive level of Bay Realty. Business dealings with outside firms should not result in unusual gains for those firms. Unusual gain refers to bribes, product bonuses, special fringe benefits, unusual price breaks, and other windfalls designed to ultimately benefit either the employer, the employee or both. Promotional plans that could be interpreted to involve unusual gain require specific executive-level approval.
Customers are among our organization’s most valuable assets. Every employee represents Bay Realty to our customers and the public. The way we do our jobs presents an image of our entire organization. Customers judge all of us by how they are treated with each employee contact. Therefore, one of our first business priorities is to assist any customer or potential customer. Nothing is more important than being courteous, friendly, helpful, and prompt in the attention you give to customers.
Bay Realty will provide customer relations and services training to all employees with extensive customer contact. Our personal contact with the public, our manners on the telephone, and the communications we send to customers are a reflection not only of ourselves, but also of the professionalism of Bay Realty. Positive customer relations not only enhance the public’s perception or image of Bay Realty, but also pay off in greater customer loyalty and increased sales and profit.
Dress Code/Personal Appearance
Bay Realty wishes to maintain a professional atmosphere in order to welcome our shareholders, customers, vendors and other visitors into our business. For this reason, we have adopted a Business Casual dress code. You are expected to dress and groom in accordance with accepted social and business standards, particularly if your job involves dealing with customers or visitors in person.
Listed below are guidelines to help you determine what may or may not be appropriate to wear to work:
Acceptable attire: slacks, khakis, skirts or dresses, nice jeans, shirts with collars, sports shirts, blouses, turtlenecks, sweaters, loafers, tennis shoes or sandals.
Unacceptable attire: Sweatpants, sweatshirts, workout attire (including sports jerseys and bicycle shorts), cutoffs or shorts, halter or tank tops, dresses or skirts that are excessively short; and sheer clothing or clothing that is revealing, distracting, or provocative.
A well-groomed, clean appearance is also expected in order to maintain a professional and efficient workplace. Consider the following grooming and hygiene guidelines when determining what is appropriate for work:
Clean, trimmed and properly groomed hair (including facial hair for males).
Makeup and jewelry should be tasteful and not excessive.
Avoid excessive use of perfume, cologne or other scented products.
Tattoos or jewelry that could be construed as offensive or contributes to a hostile work environment must be covered or removed.In addition, any adornment that would diminish your role or effectiveness with the company is not permitted.
Employees should use their own common sense regarding what is acceptable work attire and if in doubt, should consult with their supervisor or the Office Manager. If at any time your manager feels your attire/appearance is not appropriate for work, you may be asked to leave your workplace until you are properly attired. You will not be paid for the time you are off the job for this purpose.
Computer, Email and Internet Usage
Bay Realty recognizes that use of the Internet has many benefits for Bay Realty and its employees. The Internet and e-mail make communication more efficient and effective. Therefore, employees are encouraged to use the Internet appropriately. Unacceptable usage of the Internet can place Bay Realty and others at risk. This policy discusses acceptable usage of the Internet.
The following guidelines have been established for using the Internet and e-mail in an appropriate, ethical and professional manner.
All Internet data and e-mails that are composed, transmitted or received via the Company’s computer communications systems is considered to be part of the official records of Bay Realty, and as such, is subject to disclosure to law enforcement and third parties. Employees should always ensure that the business information contained in Internet e-mail messages and other transmissions is accurate, appropriate, ethical and lawful.
Bay Realty Internet and e-mail access may not be used for transmitting, retrieving or storing of any communications of a defamatory, discriminatory or harassing nature or materials that are obscene or X-rated. No messages with derogatory or inflammatory remarks about an individual's race, age, disability, religion, national origin, physical attributes or sexual preference shall be transmitted. Harassment of any kind is strictly prohibited. Disparaging, abusive, profane, or offensive language; materials that would adversely or negatively reflect upon Bay Realty or be contrary to Bay Realty best interests; and any illegal activities -- including piracy, cracking, extortion, blackmail, copyright infringement, and unauthorized access to any computers on the Internet or e-mail -- are forbidden.
Copyrighted materials belonging to entities other than Bay Realty may not be transmitted by employees on the company's network. All employees obtaining access to other companies' or individual's materials must respect all copyrights and may not copy, retrieve, modify or forward copyrighted materials, except with permission or as a single copy to reference only. If you find something on the Internet that may be interesting to others, do not copy it to a network drive. Instead, give the URL (uniform resource locator or "address") to the person who may be interested in the information and have that person look at it on his/her own.
Do not use the system in a way that disrupts its use by others. This includes excessive dial-in usage, sending or receiving many large files and "spamming" (sending e-mail messages to thousands of users.) The Internet is full of useful programs that can be downloaded, but some of them may contain computer viruses that can extensively damage our computers. Be sure to virus-check downloaded files immediately. Instructions on how to check for viruses are available through the IT Department. Also, many browser add-on packages (called "plug-ins") are available to download. There is no guarantee that such will be compatible with other programs on the network and such may cause problems; therefore, please refrain from downloading such plug-ins.
Each employee is responsible for the content of all text, audio or images that he/she places or sends over the company's Internet and e-mail system. No e-mail or other electronic communications may be sent which hides the identity of the sender or represents the sender as someone else. Also, be aware that Bay Realty’s name is attached to all messages so use discretion in formulating messages.
E-mail is not guaranteed to be private or confidential. All electronic communications are Bay Realty property. Therefore, Bay Realty reserves the right to examine, monitor and regulate e-mail messages, directories and files, as well as Internet usage. Also, the Internet is not secure so don't assume that others cannot read -- or possibly alter -- your messages.
Internal and external e-mail messages are considered business records and may be subject to discovery in the event of litigation. Be aware of this possibility when sending e-mail within and outside the Company.
The following behaviors are examples of actions and activities that are prohibited and can result in disciplinary action:
Sending or posting discriminatory, harassing or threatening messages or images
Using the organization’s time and resources for personal gain
Stealing, using or disclosing some else’s code or password without authorization
Copying, pirating or downloading software and electronic files without permission
Sending or posting confidential material, trade secrets or proprietary information outside of the organization
Violating copyright law
Failing to observe licensing agreements
Engaging in unauthorized transactions that may incur a cost to the organization or initiate unwanted Internet services or transmissions
Sending or posting messages or material that could damage the organization’s image or reputation
Participating in the viewing or exchange of pornography or obscene materials
Sending or posting messages that defame or slander other individuals
Attempting to break into the computer system of another organization or person
Refusing to cooperate with a security investigation
Sending or posting chain letters, solicitations or advertisements not related to business purposes or activities
Using the Internet for political causes or activities, religious activities or any sort of gambling
Jeopardizing the security of the organization’s electronic communications systems
Sending or posting messages that disparage another organization’s products or services
Passing off personal views as representing those of the organization
Sending anonymous e-mail messages
Engaging in any other illegal activities
Right to Monitor and Consequences
All company-supplied technology, including computer systems and company-related work records, belong to Bay Realty and not the employee. Bay Realty routinely monitors usage patterns for its e-mail and Internet communications. Although encouraged to explore the vast resources available on the Internet, employees should use discretion in the sites that are accessed. Since all the computer systems and software, as well as the e-mail and Internet connection, are Bay Realty -owned, all company policies are in effect at all times. Any employee who abuses the privilege of Bay Realty facilitated access to e-mail or the Internet, may be denied access to the Internet and, if appropriate, be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Use of Phone and Mail Systems
Personal use of the telephone for long-distance and toll calls is not permitted. Employees should practice discretion when making local personal calls and may be required to reimburse Bay Realty for any charges resulting from their personal use of the telephone. Personal cell phones may only be used during employee breaks and meal periods and must be turned off or on vibrate so as not to disturb others in the workplace.
The mail system is reserved for business purposes only. You are not permitted to use Company-paid postage for personal correspondence. Employees should refrain from sending or receiving personal mail at the workplace. All mail delivered to the company is presumed to be related to company business. Mail sent to you at the company will be opened by the office and routed to your department. If you do not wish to have your correspondence handled in this manner, please have it delivered to your home.
To ensure effective telephone communications, employees should always use the approved greeting and speak in a courteous and professional manner. Please confirm information received from the caller, and hang up only after the caller has done so.
Use of Company Cell Phone While Driving
Employees must adhere to all federal, state, or local rules and regulations regarding the use of cell phones while driving. The use of a cell phone while driving may present a hazard to the driver, other employees and the general public. Therefore, employees should not use handheld cell phones for business purposes while driving. In the case where an employee needs to make a business call while driving, he/she should locate a lawfully designated area to park and make the call. This policy is meant to ensure the safe operation of company vehicles and the operation of private vehicles while an employee is on work time and conducting business. Violation of this policy may subject an employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Use of Personal Communication Devices
The use of personal communication devices shall be limited in the workplace to alleviate distractions and the disruption of regular work routines. Personal communication devices are defined as, but not limited to, cellular or two-way phones, and audible pagers. Personal communication devices are prohibited from use during work hours and in work areas, unless the company has provided such device(s) to the employee for business use only. Any employee carrying a non-company issued personal communication devices with an audible alarm or ring must ensure the sound is turned off during work hours and in work areas. Employees must not take, return, or receive calls on personally owned communication devices during work hours or in work areas.
Limited and temporary exceptions to this policy permitting the use of personally owned communications devices for ongoing personal emergency situations (such as the imminent birth of a child) may be made. Please contact supervisor to make arrangements for the use of personal communication devices at such times. Violation(s) of this policy may be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.
Use of Equipment
Equipment and vehicles essential in accomplishing job duties are expensive and may be difficult to replace. When using company property, employees are expected exercise due care, perform required maintenance and follow all operating instructions, safety standards and guidelines.
If any equipment, machines or tools appear to be or become damaged, defective or in need of repair, do not use the item and contact your supervisor immediately. Prompt reporting of damages, defects and the need for repairs could prevent deterioration of equipment and possible injury to employees or others. Your supervisor can answer any questions about your responsibility for maintenance and care of equipment or vehicles used on the job.
The improper, careless, negligent, destructive or unsafe use or operation of equipment can result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
The nature of Bay Realty’s business requires the complete commitment of all regular full-time employees. Employment outside may interfere with an employee’s efficiency, productivity, and availability to Bay Realty and is therefore discouraged.
If a regular full-time employee desires additional employment outside Bay Realty, the employee must obtain written approval from his or her supervisor or manager to commence or continue such other employment. Approval can be withheld if the outside employment is deemed to conflict with the employee’s responsibilities to Bay Realty or with Bay Realty’s scheduling requirements, or if the outside employment impairs or interferes in any way with the employee’s ability to perform all of his or her duties for Bay Realty.
If outside employment is initially approved but it is later determined that the outside employment conflicts with the employee’s responsibilities to Bay Realty or with Bay Realty’s scheduling requirements or impairs or interferes in any way with the employee’s ability to perform all of his or her duties for Bay Realty, the employee may be required to cease the outside employment as a condition of continued employment with Bay Realty.
If a regular full-time employee is transferred or promoted after getting approval for outside employment, the employee must get approval from his or her new supervisor or manager to continue the outside employment. In addition, if there is any change in the outside employment after approval for it has been given, such as hours, duties, location, or employer, the employee must inform his or her supervisor or manager and get new written approval.
Any violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Disciplinary Procedures/Progressive Discipline
Bay Realty makes every attempt to ensure that disciplinary actions are prompt, uniform, and impartial. The major purpose of any disciplinary action is to correct the problem, prevent recurrence, and prepare the employee for satisfactory service in the future.
Although employment with the company is based on mutual consent and both the employee and the company have the right to terminate employment at will, with or without cause or advance notice, the company may use progressive discipline at its discretion. Progressive discipline, however, in no way limits or changes the employment at-will relationship and both the employee and the company may end the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice or cause.
Disciplinary action may call for any of the following four steps: verbal warning, written warning or termination of employment, depending on the severity of the problem and the number of occurrences. There may be circumstances when one or more steps are bypassed.
Progressive discipline means that, with respect to most disciplinary problems, these steps will normally be followed: a first offense may call for a verbal warning; the next offense may be followed by a written warning; another offense may lead to termination of employment.
The Company recognizes that there are certain types of employee problems that are serious enough to justify termination of employment, without going through the usual progressive discipline steps.
While it is impossible to list every type of behavior that may be deemed a serious offense, examples of problems that may result in immediate termination of employment, include theft, insubordination, failure to follow safety rules, and harassment. However, the problems listed are not all necessarily serious offenses, but may be examples of unsatisfactory conduct that will trigger progressive discipline.
By using progressive discipline, we hope that most employee problems can be corrected at an early stage, benefiting both the employee and the Company.
In keeping with Bay Realty intent to provide a safe and healthful work environment, smoking is prohibited throughout the workplace.
This policy applies equally to all employees, customers, and visitors.
VI. Career Development
Job and Performance Evaluation
Supervisors and employees are strongly encouraged to discuss job performance and goals on an informal, day-to-day basis. A formal written performance evaluation will typically be conducted at the end of an employee's initial period of hire, known as the introductory period. Additional formal performance evaluations are conducted to provide both supervisors and employees the opportunity to discuss job tasks, identify and correct weaknesses, encourage and recognize strengths, and discuss positive, purposeful approaches for meeting goals.
Performance evaluations are scheduled approximately every 12 months, coinciding generally with the anniversary of the employee's original date of hire. Merit based pay adjustments may be awarded in conjunction with superior employee performance documented by the performance evaluation process.
VII. Additional Information
Workplace monitoring may be conducted by Bay Realty to ensure quality control, employee safety, security, and customer satisfaction.
Employees who regularly communicate with customers may have their telephone conversations monitored or recorded. Telephone monitoring is used to identify and correct performance problems through targeted training.
Improved job performance enhances our customers' image of Bay Realty as well as their satisfaction with our service.
Computers furnished to employees are the property of Bay Realty. As such, computer usage and files may be monitored or accessed.
Bay Realty may conduct video surveillance of non-private workplace areas. Video monitoring is used to identify safety concerns, maintain quality control, detect theft and misconduct, and discourage or prevent acts of harassment and workplace violence.
Because Bay Realty is sensitive to the legitimate privacy rights of employees, every effort will be made to guarantee that workplace monitoring is done in an ethical and respectful manner.
Personal Home Purchase
To promote home ownership and sales, each sales counselor will be allowed one personal home purchase or sale that will be free of commission split to Bay Realty every two years. The MLS fee, transaction fee, and E&O contribution will still apply.
Bulletin boards contain important company information and policies such as employment law posters. Management must approve all postings on the bulletin boards. Please see the Office Manager to obtain approval for bulletin board posting.
Solicitation and Distribution of Literature
Solicitation and distribution of literature in the workplace can be disruptive and interfere with work. To avoid disruption to and interference with Bay Realty’s operations, the following rules regarding solicitation and distribution of literature have been established and will be strictly enforced:
1. Non-employees may not solicit or distribute literature on Bay Realty premises at any time for any purpose.
2. Employees may not solicit or distribute literature during working time for any purpose. (Working time does not include lunch periods, work breaks or any other periods in which employees are not on duty.)
3. Employees may not distribute literature at any time in working areas.
4. Employees may not use Company equipment or systems, including but not limited to computers, e-mail, telephones, voicemail, copiers, and fax machines to prepare, send or receive solicitation or literature.
5. Employees may not post any literature, articles or solicitations on company bulletin boards without prior express approval of management.
Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Problem Solving Process
Bay Realty strives to be attentive and responsive to its employees' concerns. We will try to resolve specific work-related problems or complaints that employees may have. Management’s goal is to maintain a harmonious, productive work relationship with each employee.
Employees will not be penalized or retaliated against for bringing their work-related problems or complaints to management’s attention. Employees must not abuse the problem-notification process by raising issues in bad faith or solely for the purpose of delay or harassment, or by repeatedly raising issues that a reasonable person would judge to have no merit.
Implementation of the resolution does not limit the right of the Company to impose any disciplinary action that is not in retaliation for filing a complaint. Problems or complaints regarding any other form of harassment will be handled in accordance with the Company’s Harassment policy.
If an employee has a work-related problem or complaint, he or she should promptly discuss it with his or her supervisor. If the employee is not comfortable discussing the problem or complaint with his or her supervisor, the employee may discuss the situation with another supervisor in the same department or go directly to the department manager.
As employees of Bay Realty, you have the opportunity to contribute to our future success and growth by submitting suggestions for practical work-improvement or cost-savings ideas.
A suggestion is an idea that will benefit Bay Realty by solving a problem, reducing costs, improving operations or procedures, enhancing customer service, eliminating waste or spoilage, or making Bay Realty a better or safer place to work. Statements of problems without accompanying solutions, or recommendations concerning co-workers and management are not appropriate suggestions.
All suggestions must be submitted on a suggestion form and should contain a description of the problem or condition to be improved, a detailed explanation of the solution or improvement, and the reasons why it should be implemented. If you have questions or need advice about your idea, contact your supervisor for help.
Special recognition may be given to employees who submit a suggestion that is implemented.
Laws and Policy
Congress passed the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, in 1890 as a "comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade." In 1914, Congress passed two additional antitrust laws: the Federal Trade Commission Act, which created the FTC, and the Clayton Act. With some revisions, these are the three core federal antitrust laws still in effect today.
The antitrust laws proscribe unlawful mergers and business practices in general terms, leaving courts to decide which ones are illegal based on the facts of each case. Courts have applied the antitrust laws to changing markets, from a time of horse and buggies to the present digital age. Yet for over 100 years, the antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.
Here is an overview of the three core federal antitrust laws.
The Sherman Act outlaws "every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade," and any "monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize." Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws. On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal. These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are "per se" violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed.
The penalties for violating the Sherman Act can be severe. Although most enforcement actions are civil, the Sherman Act is also a criminal law, and individuals and businesses that violate it may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Criminal prosecutions are typically limited to intentional and clear violations such as when competitors fix prices or rig bids. The Sherman Act imposes criminal penalties of up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual, along with up to 10 years in prison. Under federal law, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts or twice the money lost by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is over $100 million.
The Federal Trade Commission Act bans "unfair methods of competition" and "unfair or deceptive acts or practices." The Supreme Court has said that all violations of the Sherman Act also violate the FTC Act. Thus, although the FTC does not technically enforce the Sherman Act, it can bring cases under the FTC Act against the same kinds of activities that violate the Sherman Act. The FTC Act also reaches other practices that harm competition, but that may not fit neatly into categories of conduct formally prohibited by the Sherman Act. Only the FTC brings cases under the FTC Act.
The Clayton Act addresses specific practices that the Sherman Act does not clearly prohibit, such as mergers and interlocking directorates (that is, the same person making business decisions for competing companies). Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect "may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly." As amended by the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, the Clayton Act also bans certain discriminatory prices, services, and allowances in dealings between merchants. The Clayton Act was amended again in 1976 by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act to require companies planning large mergers or acquisitions to notify the government of their plans in advance. The Clayton Act also authorizes private parties to sue for triple damages when they have been harmed by conduct that violates either the Sherman or Clayton Act and to obtain a court order prohibiting the anticompetitive practice in the future.
In addition to these federal statutes, most states have antitrust laws that are enforced by state attorneys general or private plaintiffs. Many of these statutes are based on the federal antitrust laws.
YOU SAID WHAT?
An Antitrust Compliance Brochure
This brochure has been prepared by the Risk Management Committee of the National Association of REALTORS® to supplement the REALTOR® association’s long standing antitrust compliance program. Its purpose is to assist members in applying these principles in their individual offices when confronting issues raised by the presence of new business models offered by competitors.
Real estate is and always has been a very competitive business. The multitude of firms that are active in the business in most markets, the entrepreneurial spirit that is a trademark of the salespeople who make up the bulk of the industry, and the relatively easy entry into the real estate business combine to insure competition. Over the years the real estate business has benefited from that aspect by seeing the different possible business models employed by competitors. Successful innovations take root and spread among the industry. Less successful ones fall by the wayside.
Our industry finds itself in another period where new business models are being introduced. That increases challenges and competition, just as new models have in the past. The law and our Code of Ethics serve to assure that consumers have the complete and accurate information they need to make their marketplace decisions. In the end, consumers decide which business methods will prevail and survive and which will fail. That, of course, is the heart of the REALTOR® association’s antitrust compliance program.
One of the bedrock principles of antitrust compliance is that neither associations nor their members collectively set the price of services provided by real estate professionals. That is a decision that is made independently by each firm. The firm’s sales associates must take care to present pricing policies to prospective clients in a manner that is consistent with the fact that the fees or prices are independently established. This means they should never respond to a question about fees by suggesting that all competitors in the market follow the same pricing practices or to a policy of the local board or association of REALTORSÒ that supposedly prohibits or discourages price competition.
Never say things that could be understood to suggest a conspiracy or falsely disparage a competitor:
This is the rate every firm charges.
I’d like to lower the commission, but no one else in the MLS will show your house unless the commission is X%.
I have to charge you this rate because this is the rate the Board of REALTORS® set for all real estate agents.
Before you decide to list with XYZ Realty you should know that because they are “discount” brokers, members of the association won’t show their listings.
Focus on the positive aspects of doing business with you and the services which distinguish your firm:
I have a marketing program that gets results. Let me explain my sixty-day marketing plan and all it includes.
Our company has been in business for Y years and has serviced thousands of clients with the highest professionalism. We choose to charge X% and our clients have chosen to pay X% because of the service provided.
Yes, our company charges a commission of A% and company 2 charges a commission of B%, but at the same time you are comparing commission rates, Mr. Seller, be sure to compare services, in order to get an apples-to-apples analysis.
I appreciate your comments, my interest is in helping you meet your goals by getting you the best price, in the quickest amount of time, with the least amount of problems. Let me show you how I do it.
I am proud of my company’s reputation for professionalism and getting things done. Let me show you some of our sales (or whatever) statistics that prove we do what we say.
Additionally, the obligations of a member of the REALTOR® association impose a higher standard with regard to the statements made about competitors. Article 15 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics states,
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses, or their business practices.
The National Association’s Professional Standards Committee has said the Article logically flows from the REALTORÒ’s duty established in Article 12 “to present a true picture in … representations.” This includes comparisons with competitors, and comments or opinions offered about other real estate professionals. While the Article is not intended to limit or inhibit the free flow of the commercial and comparative information that is often of value to potential users of the many and varied services that REALTORSÒ provide, it does require a good faith effort to ensure that statements and representation are truthful and accurate.
The path to managing this risk is really consistent with the philosophy of the REALTORÒ organization. By focusing on the positive and presenting it honestly, the potential risks posed by the antitrust laws will be minimized and you will not only have avoided that legal and ethical liability, but you will probably elevate yourself and your firm in the eyes of the most important audience, the people who are going to be selecting you to represent them in the sale or purchase of their home.
Excerpts from Antitrust and Real Estate for REALTORSÒ and REALTOR-ASSOCIATEÒs (5th ed.) and Professionalism in Real Estate (2003).
Avoiding Antitrust Risk (a REALTOR Magazine Toolkit)
Antitrust and the Real Estate Brokerage Firm (The Letter of The Law)
REALTORÒ Code of Ethics
© 2003 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSÒ
Dealing with Competitors
In order to compete in modern markets, competitors sometimes need to collaborate. Competitive forces are driving firms toward complex collaborations to achieve goals such as expanding into foreign markets, funding expensive innovation efforts, and lowering production and other costs.
In today's marketplace, competitors interact in many ways, through trade associations, professional groups, joint ventures, standard-setting organizations, and other industry groups. Such dealings often are not only competitively benign but procompetitive. But there are antitrust risks when competitors interact to such a degree that they are no longer acting independently, or when collaborating gives competitors the ability to wield market power together.
For the most blatant agreements not to compete, such as price fixing, big rigging, and market division, the rules are clear. The courts decided many years ago that these practices are so inherently harmful to consumers that they are always illegal, so-called per se violations. For other dealings among competitors, the rules are not as clear-cut and often require fact-intensive inquiry into the purpose and effect of the collaboration, including any business justifications. Enforcers must ask: what is the purpose and effect of dealings among competitors? Do they restrict competition or promote efficiency?
These Fact Sheets provide more detail about the types of dealings with competitors that may result in an antitrust investigation. For further guidance, read Antitrust Guidelines for Collaborations Among Competitors. (http://www.ftc.gov/os/2000/04/ftcdojguidelines.pdf)
VIII. END OF EMPLOYMENT
Employment and/or Independent Contract Termination
Termination of employment is an inevitable part within any organization, and many of the reasons for termination are routine. Below are examples of some of the most common circumstances under which employment is terminated:
Resignation – voluntary employment termination initiated by an employee.
Discharge – involuntary employment termination initiated by the organization.
Layoff – involuntary employment termination initiated by the organization for Non disciplinary reasons.
Retirement – voluntary employment termination initiated by the employee meeting age, length of service, and any other criteria for retirement from the organization.
Termination of Independent Contractor Agreement – voluntary or involuntary termination of Independent Contractor Agreement will be addressed per the terms of that Agreement
Bay Realty will generally schedule exit interviews at the time of a voluntary termination. The exit interview will afford an opportunity to discuss such issues as employee benefits, conversion privileges, repayment of outstanding debts to Bay Realty, or return of Bay Realty-owned property. Suggestions, complaints, and questions can also be voiced.
Return of Company Property
Employees are responsible for all Bay Realty property, materials, files, keys, equipment, tools or other property issued to them or in their possession or control.
All Bay Realty property must be returned by employees on or before their last day of work. Where permitted by applicable laws, Bay Realty may withhold from the employee’s check or final paycheck the cost of any items that are not returned when required. Bay Realty may also take all action deemed appropriate to recover or protect its property.
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Bay Realty of Florida
12000 N Dale Mabry Hwy Suite 150
Tampa, FL 33618
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