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About . Employee Handbook . Conduct + General Expectations 

8. Conduct + General Expectations

All employees, students, and any other person acting on behalf of the College are responsible for acting in an ethical and lawful manner, consistent with the College’s mission, vision and core values.

8.1 Attendance and Punctuality

Regular attendance and punctuality are vital attributes for all employees. It is important for employees to attend work regularly and to arrive at work on time, because failure to do so detrimentally affects employee morale and productivity. Absenteeism or tardiness that is excessive or unauthorized in the judgment of the College is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

The College’s leave of absence policies describe an employee’s responsibilities for reporting absences from work. Departments may also have guidelines for reporting leaves of absence or for calling work if an employee will be late for work. Employees who are unsure of the requirements for reporting a leave of absence or calling their department when they expect to be late for work should ask a supervisor or Human Resources for assistance. If an employee fails to notify the College of his/her absence for three consecutive workdays, it will be considered job abandonment and constitute termination of employment.

If weather conditions require closing our offices, employees will be notified of the closing. Otherwise, we expect that the employee will use good judgment in deciding whether to come to work during extreme weather conditions. Such conditions will be considered in reviewing the employee’s attendance record.

8.2 Drug Free Workplace

To protect the safety of College employees, students, operations, and assets, as well as the communities in which we operate, the use, possession, manufacture, distribution, dispensing or sale of alcohol or controlled substances in the workplace or while conducting business on the College’s behalf is strictly prohibited.

Controlled substances include illegal drugs as well as prescription drugs for which an individual does not have a valid prescription. Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, the College is required to maintain a drug-free environment for its employees. 

Under no circumstances are employees permitted to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs while working, with the exception of proper use of substances legally prescribed to them by a physician.

To ensure a drug and alcohol-free environment, the College will take all necessary actions, which may include the following for violations of this policy:

  • Immediate termination for the unauthorized use, sale, attempted sale, possession, or distribution of alcohol, drugs (with the exception of proper use of substances legally prescribed to an employee by a physician), or paraphernalia associated with such substances, on College premises, while on College business, or while operating a College vehicle or any other violation of this policy.
  • Search of an employee’s desk, locker, and/or other property belonging to the College under that person’s control, by an authorized agent of the College when there is reasonable suspicion. Employees refusing to cooperate in an inspection may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.

Drug and alcohol testing may be required as provided below. At its discretion, the College may require employees to successfully complete a drug or alcohol abuse assistance or rehabilitation program as a condition of continued employment.

In the event that any employee is convicted of a violation of a criminal drug statute in the workplace, the employee must notify the College no later than five days after such conviction.

Employees undergoing prescribed medical treatment with a legal drug or controlled substance that presents a direct threat to the safety of the employee or co-workers must report this fact to his or her supervisor. The College retains the right to change an employee’s job assignment or take other action that is necessary in the College’s discretion while the employee is undergoing such treatment.

Off-the-job illegal drug use or alcohol abuse that could adversely affect an employee’s job performance or that could jeopardize the safety of other employees, the public, or the College or its reputation may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

It is each employee’s responsibility to act in a professional and responsible manner. Alcohol consumption at Institute-hosted or sponsored activities should be limited and carefully controlled.

Drug and Alcohol Testing
The Cleveland Institute of Art may require any employee believed to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol which may be impairing ability to perform job duties to undergo appropriate testing. Such testing will be limited to instances where the College has reasonable suspicion to believe that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An individual who is required to undergo testing will be provided transportation to a local medical facility or laboratory at the expense of the College.

An employee who is injured on the job while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by their physician may not be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Employees may dispute or prove untrue the presumption (or belief) that alcohol or a controlled substance not prescribed by their physician is the proximate cause (main reason) for the work-related injury. The burden of proof is on the employee if they test positive.

If an employee fails or refuses to submit to the testing, they will be considered to have violated the policy and will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment. If an employee tests positive or fails to submit to testing, they may be disqualified for compensation and benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. 

Employees with questions on this policy or issues related to drug or alcohol use in the workplace should contact the VP of Human Resources + Inclusion.

Employees may also be subject to drug and/or alcohol testing under certain circumstances following a leave of absence in order to be permitted to return to work.

Tampering with, obstructing, falsifying, or altering testing procedures or testing results in any way (including but not limited to the use of an adulterant or substitute specimen) shall be considered a violation of this policy and will result in immediate termination of employment.

8.3 Smoke Free Workplace

The Cleveland Institute of Art is designated a smoke-free workplace. To ensure full compliance with Ohio’s Smoke Free Workplace Act and in the interest of promoting good health, comfort, and safety of our students, employees, and campus visitors, smoking is prohibited on all College property except for designated outdoor areas.

Specifically, the Cleveland Institute of Art:

  • Prohibits smoking in its facilities and areas surrounding entrances and adjacent to buildings at any time;
  • Posts “No Smoking” signs that are readable by a person of normal vision and include the telephone number of the Ohio Department of Health, at every entrance;
  • Ensures that secondhand smoke does not filter into any enclosed space of the College by means of a window, door, or ventilation system; and
  • Prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports violations to the Department of Health.

This prohibition includes College-owned vehicles being driven or parked on College property.

8.4 Workplace Violence; No Weapons Policy

The College prohibits any acts or threats of violence by any current or former employee, contractor, student or visitor against any other employee, contractor, student or visitor, on or off the premises, while they are engaged in business with or on behalf of the College.

To ensure that the objectives of this policy are met, the College will take prompt corrective action, up to and including immediate termination against any employee, or other action appropriate to contractors and visitors, engaging in any threatening behavior or acts of violence.

In the interest of maintaining an environment that is safe and free of violence for its employees, students and visitors, the College prohibits the wearing, transporting, storage, presence, or use of dangerous weapons on College property, regardless of whether or not the person is licensed to carry the weapon.

Any employee who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Any contractor or visitor who violates this policy may be removed from the property and reported to police authorities. In any case, legal action may be taken as appropriate.

“College property” covered by this policy includes all College-owned or leased buildings and surrounding areas, such as sidewalks, walkways, parking lots, and driveways under the College’s ownership or control. Furthermore, this policy applies to all College-owned or leased vehicles and all vehicles that come onto College property.

“Dangerous weapons” include but are not limited to, handguns, firearms, explosives, knives, and other weapons further defined by state statute and/or local ordinance.

8.5 Personal Appearance and Dress

Cleveland Institute of Art requires all employees to present themselves in a manner that projects a professional image and reflects positively on the College. Each employee is expected to demonstrate appropriate personal appearance and hygiene standards. The College requires that dress is appropriate for the employee’s work setting and safe for the particular work environment.  

This policy must be observed during College business activities (eg, scheduled work hours, staff meetings, conferences, etc.).

While employees have the ability to exhibit personal preferences in dress and workplace decor, the overall image is expected to be one of professionalism as appropriate for the particular workplace function. The College reserves the right to restrict dress and workplace decor for legitimate reasons relating to safety, hygiene, professional and appropriate image and/or environmental conditions.

Clothing or accessories that promote alcohol, tobacco products or statements that constitute discrimination, harassment and/or promote workplace violence are prohibited. This includes racial statements or images, sexual innuendos, hateful commentary or any statements that would be viewed as violating the College’s non-discrimination policy.

8.6 Respectful Work Environment

Everyone is entitled to respectful treatment at Cleveland Institute of Art. Being respected means being treated honestly and professionally, with each person’s unique talents and background respected. A respectful workplace is free from bullying, violence, harassment and discrimination. It is a work environment that is a place where everyone can do their best and where people are free to report workplace concerns without fear of retaliation. 

The goal is to have a work environment that reflects and values the best in everyone, where people treat each other respectfully and professionally, and where individual differences are valued. Any unprofessional or inappropriate behavior, even if not illegal, interferes with that goal and will not be tolerated. This policy applies in the workplace and to outside activities and interactions that can affect the workplace, such as work events, other CIA sponsored activities, and off-the-clock casual interactions with other employees.

8.7 Non-Discrimination

Cleveland Institute of Art prohibits all forms of illegal discrimination against applicants, employees, contractors, volunteers, trustees or anyone doing business with CIA. Discrimination laws prohibit discrimination based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, race, color, religion, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, military status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. 

8.8 Anti-Harassment

Harassment is prohibited. Harassment is unwelcome conduct toward an individual that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. While it is not easy to define precisely what harassment is, harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. 

Examples of harassment that may violate the law and will violate this policy include:

  • Oral or written communications that contain offensive name-calling, jokes, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threats. This includes comments or jokes that are distasteful or targeted at individuals or groups based on personal traits such as age, disability, marital status, national origin, race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  • Nonverbal conduct, such as staring, leering, and giving inappropriate gifts.
  • Physical conduct, such as assault or unwanted touching.
  • Visual images, such as offensive pictures, cartoons, drawings, or gestures.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of harassment that is based on a person’s gender or that involves a request or demand for sexual favors by someone in authority, where the demand is tied to hiring, promotion, termination, or any other condition of employment. Although having a consensual romantic relationship with another CIA employee is not harassment, harassment may occur if either person in the relationship engages in workplace conduct that is inappropriate or unwelcome. 

We recognize that personal relationships sometimes exist between employees that are, or have the potential of becoming, romantic in nature Should two employees who work together or supervise each other enter into a personal, non-work related relationship, or establish a romantic relationship, the College will make reasonable efforts to assign job duties so as to minimize problems of supervision, safety, security, or morale. If the College is not able to provide a workable solution, the President of the College and/or Human Resources may offer one of the employees the opportunity to transfer to another open position for which the employee is qualified, and, if no open positions for which the employee is qualified are available, will determine if termination of employment is appropriate. 

Every employee has a role to play in achieving a respectful workplace. A respectful workplace requires the participation of all employees. Remember: 

  • Cleveland Institute of Art expects respectful and professional behavior at all times, no matter the situation. Be sensitive to how others may perceive your actions and remember that your actions reflect on you
  • and Cleveland Institute of Art.
  • This Policy applies to activities and interactions outside of work that can affect the workplace, including business entertainment, team building outings, conferences, and other meetings and activities relating to Cleveland Institute of Art business. Venues and activities where Cleveland Institute of Art business is conducted should be professional, appropriate, and consistent with Cleveland Institute of Art’s values and reputation.
  • We are all human, and sometimes we make mistakes. In some cases, a person may make a comment or do something that was not intended to offend, but it has that effect. Treating each other with respect means being honest and open enough to let a colleague know if you have been hurt or offended. Respect also means that if a colleague tells you that you have done something to offend, you should respond in a respectful fashion and treat that colleague respectfully in the future. That type of respectful dialogue may address many situations, but if you need help dealing with inappropriate workplace behavior, you should contact Cleveland Institute of Art’s Human Resources Office for assistance.

How to Report a Violation
Most reports of suspected violations of this Policy are made to Cleveland Institute of Art’s Human Resources Office. If you feel you are the recipient of, or witness to, behaviors that are in violation of this policy, or if you become aware of an incident of harassment, discrimination or a hostile work environment, whether by witnessing the incident or being told of it, please contact Human Resources, your direct supervisor, a manager or a Vice President.

Investigation and Response
For any report or complaint of discrimination, harassment, or other violation of this Policy, Cleveland Institute of Art will review the concerns and conduct an investigation. When Cleveland Institute of Art becomes aware of a report or incident, it is obligated by law to investigate and, if warranted, take prompt and appropriate remedial action. In appropriate cases, Cleveland Institute of Art may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination, against those violating this Policy. 

After a report or complaint is made, Cleveland Institute of Art will research the issue further, determine a response to the complaint, and follow up with the party making the complaint in a timely manner on Cleveland Institute of Art’s intended response and course of action. To respect the privacy and confidentiality of all people involved, Cleveland Institute of Art may not share specific details of the discipline or other action taken, and will use all reasonable efforts to honor requests for anonymity and make sure the person making the complaint feels safe during work-time until the complaint is resolved.

Management Responsibility
Every supervisor and manager is responsible for ensuring that Cleveland Institute of Art provides a respectful workplace. This includes ensuring that complaints of discrimination, harassment, or inappropriate or unprofessional behavior are handled properly and effectively, in partnership with Human Resources. 

Retaliation is Prohibited
Making a good faith report on inappropriate behavior in the Cleveland Institute of Art workplace will not jeopardize that person’s job, role or standing.

Student Complaints
Students may express concerns against the actions of other students, faculty or staff by following the complaint procedure for non-academic grievances, as outlined in the CIA Student Handbook or by contacting the Dean of Student Affairs. Employees are required to cooperate in any investigation, as requested. 

8.9 Consensual Relationships

It is expected that the College’s environment be one of integrity, safety, and professionalism, and one in which our students’ performance is judged fairly and objectively. CIA recognizes that employees may develop personal relationships in the course of their employment. In an effort to prevent misunderstandings, favoritism, claims of sexual harassment, or morale problems, administrators and any employees who supervise others are not permitted to date or engage in sexual relationships with subordinate employees. Employees are prohibited from dating, pursuing, or engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with students, unless the relationship predates the participants’ employee or student status. Violation of this policy is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 

All employees have a duty to disclose any romantic relationship that may exist in violation of this policy to the VP of Human Resources + Inclusion.

8.10 Discipline Policy

To ensure safe and orderly operations and provide the best possible work environment, The Cleveland Institute of Art expects all employees to follow standards of conduct that will protect the interests and safety of all employees, students, visitors, and contractors.

When deemed appropriate, Cleveland Institute of Art uses a process of “progressive discipline” to try to correct disciplinary offenses, such as poor work performance or some types of misconduct, to encourage employees to become more productive workers and to conform their behavior to standards and expectations. Discipline may be progressive in nature, beginning with a verbal warning, then a written warning, and progressing to a final written warning and/or suspension and discharge. Employees must understand that discipline may not include all of these steps and that an employee can be discharged for the first offense of a very serious nature. In the case of poor job performance, an employee may be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Cleveland Institute of Art reserves the right to determine the appropriate level of discipline for any inappropriate conduct.

The College reserves the right to skip any of the foregoing disciplinary steps. Under certain circumstances, employees may be subject to immediate termination and legal action.

The following are examples of conduct violations that may lead to corrective action, up to and including termination:

  • Theft, destruction, defacement, or misuse of College property or another person’s physical property.
  • Falsification or alteration of any College record or report.
  • Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs; possession, distribution, sale, transfer, or use of alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace or while on duty.
  • Unauthorized use of College property.
  • Fighting, assaulting, threatening, or intimidating a College employee student, visitor, or contractor.
  • Insubordination, use of abusive language, or other disrespectful conduct toward fellow employees, students, visitors, or contractors.
  • Any type of harassment.
  • Possession of dangerous or unauthorized materials, such as explosives, firearms, or other weapons in the workplace.
  • Gambling on College property.
  • Violation of non-solicitation policy.
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness, or any absence without giving proper notice.
  • Disclosing confidential information without written authorization.
  • Non-compliance with College policies and procedures.

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive, but merely to provide examples of unacceptable conduct. Some of these rules of conduct are explained in more detail in the sections that follow.

8.11 Whistleblower

A whistleblower as defined by this policy is an employee of the Cleveland Institute of Art who reports an activity that they consider to be illegal or dishonest to one or more of the parties specified in this policy. The whistleblower is not responsible for investigating the activity or for determining fault or corrective measures. Appropriate officials of the College are charged with these responsibilities.

Examples of illegal or dishonest activities are violations of federal, state or local laws; fraudulent financial reporting.

If an employee has knowledge of or a concern of illegal or dishonest fraudulent activity, the individual is to contact their immediate supervisor or the VP of Human Resources + Inclusion. Employees should exercise sound judgment to avoid baseless allegations. If an employee intentionally files a false report of wrongdoing, that employee may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

Whistleblower protections are provided in two important areas—confidentiality and against retaliation. Insofar as possible, the confidentiality of the whistleblower will be maintained. However, identity may have to be disclosed to conduct a thorough investigation, to comply with the law, and/or to provide accused individuals their legal rights of defense. The College will not retaliate against a whistleblower. This includes, but is not limited to, protection from retaliation in the form of an adverse employment action such as termination, compensation decreases, or poor work assignments, and threats of physical harm. Any whistleblower who believes they are being retaliated against must contact the VP of Human Resources + Inclusion immediately. The right of a whistleblower for protection against retaliation does not include immunity for any personal wrongdoing that is alleged and investigated.

All reports of illegal and dishonest activities will be promptly submitted to the VP of Human Resources + Inclusion who is responsible for investigating and coordinating corrective action. Employees with any questions regarding this policy should contact the VP of Human Resources + Inclusion.

8.12 Confidentiality

All individuals serving as employees or in any non-compensated position (volunteer, intern, etc.) of Cleveland Institute of Art have an ethical and legal responsibility to protect confidential information of the College, its employees and its students, during and after his/her service with the College. Such confidential information includes, for example, information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), financial data, employee, student or alumni information, recruiting procedures, operating procedures, or any other proprietary information acquired through service with the College. 

This information is protected by state and federal privacy laws and must be kept strictly confidential. It is not to be disclosed outside the College and cannot be used except as necessary in the normal course of business. Questions regarding the nature and scope of disclosure of confidential information should be directed to Human Resources. As a condition of employment or a volunteer relationship with Cleveland Institute of Art, individuals are required to acknowledge this obligation by signing a “Confidentiality Agreement.” Violation of this Policy and/or this Agreement will result in discipline, up to and including termination, as well as other possible legal action.

8.13 Non-Retaliation

Cleveland Institute of Art strictly prohibits retaliation against any member of its community for reporting or inquiring in good faith about what the member believes to be wrongful or unlawful activity, or for participating in an investigation or proceeding related to such activity. The College considers such reporting, inquiring, or participating to be protected activities in which all members of the CIA community may freely engage.

8.14 Disability Accommodations 

The College will reasonably accommodate applicants or employees with disabilities, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act or applicable state law, who are otherwise qualified to safely perform the essential functions of their position, unless such accommodation would create an undue hardship or pose a direct threat to the health and/or safety of the individual or others that cannot be mitigated with reasonable accommodation.

Any applicant or employee who requires an accommodation to participate in the application and/or hiring process, to perform the essential functions of his or her position, or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment should contact the Human Resources Office to request an accommodation.

After receiving the request, Human Resources will engage in an interactive dialogue with the employee to evaluate whether there are any reasonable accommodations available. The College may require medical verification of both the alleged disability and the need for accommodation. 

8.15 Religious Accommodations

The College will reasonably accommodate an applicant’s or employee’s sincerely-held religious belief(s) if the accommodation would resolve a conflict between the individual’s religious belief(s) or practices and a work requirement, unless doing so would create an undue burden on the College. To request a religious accommodation, the applicant or employee should contact the Human Resources Office and identify the: 

  • religious belief or practice, 
  • work requirement with which the religious belief or practice conflicts, 
  • requested accommodation, and 
  • how the accommodation will help to resolve the conflict between the religious belief or practice and the work requirement. 

After receiving the request, Human Resources will engage in an interactive dialogue with the employee to evaluate whether there are any reasonable accommodations available.