Board Policies & Administrative Procedures

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Administrative Procedure Administrative Procedure 414: EMPLOYEE CODE OF CONDUCT

Background

Westwind School Division (WSD) maintains high standards for the conduct of its employees. The manner in which employees carry out their duties reflects upon the Division. Employees are expected to exercise common sense, good judgement and discretion and conduct themselves honestly and with integrity. This procedure is intended to provide employees with direction and standards. Common sense, ethical behaviour, good judgment, acting in good faith and discretion shall prevail in the application of this procedure.

Purpose

The purpose of this administrative procedure is to provide guidelines for the conduct of Westwind School Division (WSD) employees. This administrative procedure applies to all WSD employees. All employees are responsible for knowing, understanding and complying with this administrative regulation. Failure to comply could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Definitions

Bullying: means repeated and hostile or demeaning behaviour by an individual in the school community where the behaviour is intended to cause harm, fear or distress to one or more other individuals in the school community, including psychological harm or harm to an individual’s reputation. Bullying behaviour includes the use of any physical, verbal, electronic, written or other means. 

Confidentiality: means the duty of anyone entrusted with information to keep that information private and only use that information for the purpose in which it was intended, except in those instances required by law where not doing so may endanger students;

Conflict of Interest: means any situation in which the personal interests of an individual or a member of his/her immediate family conflict with his/her responsibilities as an employee, or when there is a reasonable basis for the perception of such conflict.

Discrimination: means any type of behaviour that includes practices or actions, intentional or otherwise that is exclusionary, denies access or differentiates adversely and is based on such aspects as: race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation. 

Harassment: means any behaviour or pattern of repeated behaviour that disparages, humiliates or harms another person, denies an individual’s dignity and respect, and is demeaning or humiliating to another person.

Student(s): means a person who is enrolled in a K-12 school.

Organizational Assets: means all tangible property and equipment and all intangible property (data/information and operational systems) owned by WSD.

Sexual Harassment: means any unwelcome sexual behaviour that adversely affects, or threatens to affect, directly or indirectly, a person’s job security, working conditions or prospects for promotions.

Procedures

  1. All employees will be required to review this Administrative Procedure annually and acknowledge that they agree to abide by the conditions thereof. 
    1. New employees will be required to review this Administrative Procedure as a condition of their employment. 

  2. Employees shall:
    1. Treat students, parents, community members and other WSD employees with dignity, respect and consideration;
    2. Conduct their employment responsibilities in a respectful, honest and diligent manner;
    3. Demonstrate professionalism and mutual respect through teamwork and cooperation;
    4. Protect organizational assets through adherence to expectations around confidentiality and in compliance with FOIP;
    5. Respect the confidentiality of information regarding pupils except in those instances required by law where not doing so may endanger students;
    6. Adhere to their respective collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment;
    7. Adhere to all policies, practices, procedures, and regulations of WSD;

  3. Employees shall not:
    1. engage in discriminatory behaviour;
    2. engage in behaviour that constitutes harassment or sexual harassment;
    3. engage in bullying behaviour;
    4. engage in activities that are deemed to be in a conflict of interest;
    5. engage in behaviour that may compromise WSD’s image or reputation including activities that may disparage, defame, or embarrass the organization;
    6. engage in behaviour that is non-compliant with expectations of confidentiality in WSD, such as breach of confidentiality or misuse of information;
    7. expose or subject any student to sexual contact, activity, behaviour or sexually explicit material;
    8. engage in a relationship with a staff member, parent or community member that adversely affects the school community or workplace;
    9. be under the influence of, or provide others with alcohol, cannabis, cannabis-infused products or illegal drugs while on work premises or performing work-related duties, except when following a WSD authorized medical accommodation;
      1. A work-related duty is defined as any situation in which an adult is interacting with students.
    10. engage in retaliatory behaviour against anyone who uses the policies and procedures of WSD.

  4. Staff Expectations for Online Correspondence/Interactions 
    1. Online/Electronic correspondence between staff members and students must demonstrate professionalism at all times and be related to course work, or school-sanctioned clubs/activities and occur only through division-owned, school-sanctioned channels.
      1. Examples of appropriate communication channels may include but are not limited to, Westwind email accounts, Google Classroom, Team App, Team Snap, Remind 101, Google Classroom, Canvas, SeeSaw and School Messenger.
      2. Electronic communication between a staff member and the student must only take place through communication channels approved by the school principal.
    2. Private, personal electronic messages between a staff member and a student, for any reason other than school-related reasons, are unacceptable.
      1. Staff will not exchange private texts, phone numbers, personal email addresses, videos or photos of a personal nature with students.
    3. Staff will not issue “friend” or “follow” requests to students and will decline similar requests from students on social media platforms.
    4. Social media conversations between a staff member and a parent are subject to the provisions of Administrative Procedure 146: Responsible Use of Electronic Social Media. Please see Administrative Procedure 492 Adult Interactions with Students for additional guidelines surrounding appropriate adult and student interactions.
    5. Employees will not engage electronically in behaviour or comments that would reflect negatively on a school or the Division’s reputation or the reputation of any person employed with or holding elected office with the Division.
    6. Staff are expected to use only their division-assigned westwind.ab.ca email address in all work-related communications.

  5. Criminal Misconduct
    1. Employees have a duty to report any new or pending criminal charges and convictions to the Superintendent or designate except where such convictions have been previously pardoned.
      1. Administrators, Supervisors, and Employees must report to the Human Resources Superintendent when they have knowledge or notice that criminal charges have been issued against an employee of the Division.
    2. Conviction of any criminal offence may result in termination of employment with the Division.
    3. Applicants for employment must include a current (within twelve (12) months) Criminal Record Check, Vulnerable Sector Check, and a Child Intervention Record Check. These record checks will be at the expense of the prospective employee.

  6. Employee Professionalism, Ethics, and Contractual Obligations
    1. Employees are expected to use employable time to fulfill employee obligations.
    2. The employee fulfills contractual obligations to the Division until released by mutual consent or according to law.
    3. Employees must not criticize the actions or decisions of the Division in any manner, except through approved channels of communication.
    4. Employees shall understand that use of division technology including Internet access and email is neither private nor confidential and may be tracked. Use of such technology by any individual may be monitored or reviewed by the Division without prior notice.

  7. Reporting Allegations of Misconduct 
    1. If any staff member becomes aware that another staff member may have crossed the acceptable boundaries with student(s), he or she shall report it immediately to a school administrator.
    2. Any employee conduct that is dishonest, illegal, abusive, or detrimental to the interests or reputation of the Division must be reported to that employee’s supervisor immediately who must report it to Human Resources in writing. 
    3. When the safety of any person or the Division’s property is at risk, an employee must report to the supervisor as soon as possible. 
    4. Teachers reporting an allegation against another teacher should so do in compliance with the ATA Code of Professional Conduct. 
    5. The Superintendent of Human Resources shall determine the action to be taken.
    6. The Superintendent's decision regarding the outcome of an investigation will be final.

  8. Protection for Reporting an Allegation of Misconduct
    1. If an allegation is made in good faith, in accordance with division Administrative Procedures, the employee who made the allegation will not be disciplined. He or she will be protected from any form of retaliation related to their employment from either co-workers or superiors regardless of the outcome of the investigation.
    2. An employee who has encountered retaliation from other employees concerning the investigation or report may submit a complaint in writing within six months to the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.
    3. Any employee who reports misconduct that is not in good faith or who retaliates against an employee for making a report of misconduct in good faith shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

  9. Investigation, Staff Discipline, and Appeal Process
    1. In the event that an employee violates Division policy or procedures or exhibits problematic behaviour, in most circumstances the Division will consider progressive discipline.
    2. The Assistant Superintendent (Human Resources) is responsible for the process of compliance of this administrative procedure which includes reviewing complaints and arranging for further action.
    3. A supervisor or administrator who receives a report of noncompliance must submit a written report to the Associate Superintendent (Human Resources) within seven days.
    4. The Assistant Superintendent (Human Resources) or designate shall review any written report to determine compliance with this Administrative Procedure and shall determine any action to be taken in a timely manner.
    5. Breach of this Administrative Procedure may result in findings of guilt which may lead to disciplinary action of the employee, up to and including dismissal of employment.
    6. An employee may appeal the decision or the disciplinary action within 14 days to the Superintendent.
    7. The decision of the Superintendent will be final.
    8. Documentation of any decision will be placed in the employee’s HR file.

  10. Conflict of Interest
    1. Employees must report any conflict of interest to their supervisor.
    2. Employees who engage in personal interests outside of the Division shall not knowingly conduct themselves in a manner which may result in ethical, legal, or financial conflict of interest.

  11. Personal Use of Division Equipment
    1. Staff members wishing to use school equipment for the preparation of lessons, materials, etc. are permitted to take such equipment home provided: 
      1. Equipment is properly signed out;
      2. The Principal approves the out-of-school use;
      3. The equipment is returned promptly to the school to ensure its availability for use during the instructional day; and
      4. The person using the equipment is held liable for costs of repair or replacement required as a result of personal use.

Reference

Section 32, 33, 35, 41, 52, 53, 196, 197, 198, 199, 203, 204, 205, 206, 215, 217, 218, 219, 222, 224, 225, 229 Education Act

Alberta Human Rights Act

Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act

Employment Standards Code

Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canadian Human Rights Act

Criminal Code

Student Record Regulation 97/2019

ATA Code of Professional Conduct

Labour Relations Code

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

 

Approved: February 18, 2021