Handbook of Employment Policies

Handbook of Employment Policies





REVISED, March, 2005

(Resolution 167-32005)



(Revised March, 2005)



1. Purpose and Scope 1

2.County Organization

and Mutual Responsibilities 1

3.Ethical Standards2

  1. Employment Discrimination

and Sexual Harassment4

  1. Drug-Free Workplace

and Drug/Alcohol Testing 6

6. General Expectations7

7. Scheduled Hours, Overtime, Breaks10

8. Probationary Period11

9. Disciplinary Action11

10.Employee Identification Cards,

Access Cards and Keys13

11. Grievance Procedure14

12.Personnel Records15

13. Transfers and Promotions15

14. Sick Leave15

15. Family and Medical Leave17

16. Funeral Leave18

17. Jury Duty18

18. Unpaid Leaves18

19. Holidays19

20. Vacation 19

21. Fringe Benefits19

22. Employment Termination23

23. Exit Interviews26

24. Employee Assistance Program27

25. Newsletter28


This handbook will serve as a guide and a reference for all classified regular full-time and classified regular part-time employees of Winnebago County whose positions are represented by a collective bargaining unit. Classified regular positions are positions that are listed in the Winnebago County Table of Organization of Classified Positions that is formally approved by the County Board of Supervisors as part of the adoption of the annual County Budget or are adopted as additions to the Table by separate Resolution. This information should increase your understanding of your job and will help assure uniformity concerning policies and procedures throughout the organization.

Certain benefits and information are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Where there is a difference between the provisions of this handbook and the contract concerning your positions, the labor agreement shall govern. This handbook does not constitute an employment contract; however, the information contained within it should be considered work rules.

Contact the Department of Human Resources for further clarification and information.

All references to persons as "he," "him," and/or "his" shall also be read to mean "she," "her," and "hers.”



COUNTY ORGANIZATION. In accordance with Wisconsin Statutes, Winnebago County is managed by a combination of appointed and elected department heads. The appointed department heads report to the County Executive, who is the chief executive officer of the County and who is elected for a four-year term. The elected department heads are the County Clerk, County Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Clerk of Courts, Coroner, Sheriff and District Attorney. Circuit Court judges, who are also elected, serve in a managerial role within their offices. Many department heads are assisted in their managerial role by subordinate supervisors, who are also a part of management. Together, this entire group constitutes "management". The bulk of the labor force is made up of individuals who are represented by separate bargaining units or unions. There are seven bargaining units in Winnebago County representing a wide variety of occupations and individuals. A small number of employees who do not meet the requirements of represented employees due to the professional or confidential nature of their work, are non-represented.

The County Board of Supervisors is the legislative body that sets policy for the County, but is not involved in the day-to-day management of County operations. The County Board of Supervisors performs its legislative role via a group of committees, commissions and boards which specialize in the legislative aspects of various County operations and which are known as committees of jurisdiction.


PERSONNEL POLICIES. Countywide personnel policies are rules and procedures governing employees that are adopted by formal action of the County Board of Supervisors. In addition, the County Executive, by Executive Order, may implement policies affecting the day-to-day personnel administration of the County. Department heads may also implement policies governing the day-to-day personnel administration of their departments. Except as provided by state statutes, executive or departmental policies may not conflict with policies adopted by formal action of the County Board of Supervisors, by order of the County Executive or by bargaining agreements.


MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITIES. Management has the responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for its employees, to recognize the rights and dignity of all employees and to treat all

employees fairly. Subordinate employees have the responsibility to show respect for their supervisors and for obeying their legitimate orders and directions.

Insubordination to a supervisor's orders constitutes grounds for disciplinary action. Insubordination consists of the refusal or failure to carry out a supervisory order or directive in an efficient and conscientious manner. This requirement does not apply to an illegal order or an order that, if carried out, would seriously jeopardize the safety of the employee or others.

In the event that an employee disagrees with or feels aggrieved by any work order, policy, practice or directive, it is the responsibility of the subordinate to carry out the work order or directive issued by his supervisor, follow the policy or practice and to grieve the matter via the established grievance procedure in the respective bargaining agreement at a later time.

In the event of safety concerns, it is incumbent upon every employee to bring such matters to the attention of his supervisor or the Safety Coordinator as soon as reasonably possible. Further, it is incumbent upon every supervisor to investigate, in a timely manner, each safety concern that is brought to his attention, to take corrective action where warranted and to respond timely to the employee who has raised the safety concern.



PURPOSE. Democratic government requires that employees remain independent, impartial and responsible to the people they serve. It is important that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government.


CONFLICT OF INTEREST. No County employee shall use his office or position for personal financial gain or the financial gain of his family. No employee shall handle work-related matters involving current or former family members or close friends without advance approval of his department head. No employee shall engage in his own business activity, accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment, business activity or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties or would impair his independence of judgment or action in the performance of his official duties. No employee shall use or disclose privileged, confidential or secret information gained in the course of business or by reason of his official position or activities.


POLITICAL ACTIVITY. No employee is precluded from engaging in political activity provided that such activity does not interfere with normal work performance, is not conducted during normal working hours and does not involve the use of County equipment, property or office space. Employees are specifically prohibited from directly or indirectly coercing any person to or discouraging any person from contributing monetary or other types of assistance to any political candidate, party or purpose.


NEPOTISM. No person in a supervisory position shall appoint to a position funded by his budget or operating under his direct or indirect supervision a person who is a relative to him or a person considered to be a "significant other". For purposes of definition under this provision, a relative includes his spouse or any one of the following: parent, child, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, niece, nephew or any of the same relatives of his spouse. A person considered to be a "significant other" would include a person with whom the supervisor cohabits or with whom he maintains an intimate relationship.

In the event that during the course of employment, a supervisor and subordinate become spouses or develop a "significant other" relationship, one of the parties must either transfer to a position in another department/division or terminate employment within six months of the marriage or the beginning of the "significant other" relationship.

In the case of a supervisor becoming a relative of a subordinate as the result of a marriage within his family, the relationship must be reported to the supervisor's supervisor and the Director of Human Resources or their designees within thirty days of the marriage. The individual's department head and the Director of Human Resources or their designees may meet with the supervisor and subordinate to determine an appropriate employment continuation arrangement.

This policy does not exist for the purpose of depriving any citizen of an equal opportunity for County employment. It has been established solely to eliminate the possibility of preferential treatment given in favor of relatives or to subject the County to possible legal liability.

When an applicant is a relative, “significant other” or friend of a staff person involved in the selection process, the relationship must be revealed by the staff person during the interview and to higher authority in advance of the final selection process, and the staff person is not to participate in the final selection decision without approval from the Director of Human Resources.


GIFTS AND GRATUITIES. No County employee shall solicit or accept for himself or another person any gift, gratuity, favor, service or promise of future employment, entertainment, loan or any other thing of substantial monetary value from a person who has or is seeking contractual or other business activities from the County or which are regulated by the County. This does not include acceptance of loans from banks or other financial institutions on customary terms of financing for personal use (such as home mortgage loans) and the acceptance of unsolicited advertising or promotional materials, such as pens and calendars, and acceptance of an award for meritorious public or personal contributions or achievements.


FUND RAISING DRIVES. No employee or group of employees shall solicit, within any County property, funds or other things of value from firms, persons or corporations or other organizations without first obtaining a written permit from the Committee(s) of the County Board of Supervisors having jurisdiction over the facility in which the solicitation is to occur, over the department employing the persons conducting the solicitation and over the department having employees or members of the public being solicited.

Committee of jurisdiction approval shall not be required for the annual United Way campaign.

The rights of employees to contribute or to not contribute to any solicitation shall be protected. No employee shall enjoy any privilege or suffer any adverse consequences as the result of any contribution decision.



PURPOSE. The purpose of this chapter is to identify the policies of Winnebago County regarding the prohibition of employment discrimination and sexual harassment and to outline established procedures that are intended to eliminate discrimination in the workplace.


POLICY. It is the policy of Winnebago County to prohibit any form of discrimination in employment on the basis of protected class as defined in state or federal law and to take such action as may be necessary to enforce such prohibition by means of education efforts and, where warranted, disciplinary actions. At the time of this printing, discrimination in employment on the following bases is forbidden by state and/or federal law and Winnebago County policy: age, creed, color, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, arrest record, conviction record, genetic testing, honesty testing, membership in the National Guard, state defense force or any Reserve component of the military forces of the United States or Wisconsin, pregnancy or childbirth and use or nonuse of lawful products off the employer’s premises during non-work hours. In addition, harassment of an employee on any of these bases is also prohibited.


SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

1.Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;

2.Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual;

3.Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Sexual harassment on the job is prohibited whether it is initiated by a supervisor, co worker, subordinate, client, customer, vendor or elected official.


REPORTING RESPONSIBILITY. Any employee who experiences sexual harassment or other discrimination on the job is to report the harassment or other discrimination as soon as possible to a professional staff member of the Department of Human Resources, who will initiate an investigation as soon as reasonably possible. Immediate supervisors or department heads who become aware of any incident of sexual harassment or other discrimination within their department are to report such incidents to the Department of Human Resources as soon as possible. In the event that the harassment or other discrimination involves any employee of the Department of Human Resources, the harassment or other discrimination is to be reported as soon as possible to the County Executive’s Office.

Employees should feel free to report harassment or other discrimination. Any employee who retaliates against an employee who reports harassment or other discrimination, or who cooperates with an investigation into such matters, will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.


DISCIPLINARY ACTION. Any employee who engages in sexual harassment or other discrimination on the job shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge. Failure on the part of supervisors to report known or reported incidents of sexual harassment or other discrimination to the Department of Human Resources on a timely basis may result in disciplinary action being taken against them.

Persons knowingly making false claims of sexual harassment or other discrimination will be subject to disciplinary action.



PURPOSE. This chapter sets forth the policy of Winnebago County regarding its commitment to maintaining a drug-free workplace in conformance with federal law.


POLICY. It is the policy of Winnebago County to provide a drug free workplace for all of its employees. Winnebago County prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of controlled substances on County premises as set forth in PL 100-690, Title V, Subtitle D, 41 USC 701 et. seq.

Any employee found to be in violation of the drug free workplace policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

As required by the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, employees who are convicted of an illegal drug charge are required to report, in writing, such a conviction to their supervisor within five days.


PRE-EMPLOYMENT DRUG TESTING. All regular full-time and part-time employees, and full-time and part-time temporary and seasonal employees, will be required to undergo drug testing prior to beginning employment with Winnebago County. In addition, any break in service of more than one month such as with a temporary employee, seasonal employee or employee on a lay-off status may result in that employee having to pass a drug test prior to returning to work. Individuals whose test returns a positive result will not be allowed to begin employment and will not be considered further for employment.

Drug testing is accomplished via a urine sample at a certified drug testing facility. The cost of the test is paid by the County.


REASONABLE SUSPICION AND RANDOM TESTING. In the event a reasonable suspicion exists as to an employee being under the influence of any drug, including alcohol, during duty hours to the extent that his ability to perform his duties may appear to be impaired, his supervisor may conduct an investigation which may result in the employee being directed to immediately leave his work and the work site. In some cases, an employee may be required to undergo a drug test or an alcohol test as a condition for returning to work. In the event that a supervisor believes a subordinate is impaired by use of any drug or alcohol, the supervisor must contact a Human Resources professional staff member before taking action.

Some union or association contracts require random drug testing due to the nature of the work performed by covered employees. These tests will be performed in accordance with the bargaining agreement or policy in place that governs these actions.


FEDERAL DRIVER’S LICENSING REQUIREMENTS. Under Federal DOT regulations, persons required to possess a Commercial Drivers’ License, or persons required to work in a safety-sensitive position, are required to submit to pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and random drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment. Further information regarding the specifics of these procedures can be obtained from the Department of Human Resources and are part of an official policy covering these drivers.



PURPOSE. This chapter sets forth a definition of the employment relationship that exists between Winnebago County and all of its regular employees and outlines other basic conditions of employment not set forth elsewhere in this manual or the applicable union or association contract.


PUBLIC SERVICE MISSION. Each employee of Winnebago County, as a public servant, is expected to deal with the public at all times in a prompt, polite and helpful manner. Fulfillment of this requirement may result in occasional personal inconvenience.


DRESS AND GROOMING. All employees are to dress and are to be groomed appropriately for the job in accordance with department requirements and health and safety standards. Employees’ clothes or uniforms shall be neatly pressed and clean. Employees should avoid clothing, hairstyles or jewelry that may detract from or interfere with the performance of their work or which might detract from the public service mission or image of Winnebago County. In the event of any question regarding the appropriateness of any particular style of clothing or grooming, the department head shall make the final determination.


CASUAL CLOTHING. For office wear, casual clothing consists of less formal wear than business suits. It does not include T-shirts, tank tops, sweat shirts, sports jerseys, sweat pants, denim jeans of any type, shorts, leggings or jogging suits.

Persons assigned to field inspection work may wear casual clothing, as defined above, on days involving field inspections.