NUCLEUS CODE OF CONDUCT
Nucleus’ Code of Conduct Policy Statement
This Code of Conduct establishes the standards that govern the way we interact with one another, our consumers, our stakeholders and the general public (including but not limited to our funders, suppliers, competitors, media, etc.). Nucleus is committed to conducting its business to the highest standards of ethics, integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism in keeping with the values of the organization, the policy framework and all applicable legislation/regulations.
All employees, students and volunteers with Nucleus must sign and be familiar with this code and are expected and required to assess every decision and conduct all actions in alignment with this Code of Conduct (as well as those of related policies referred to herein).
Purpose of the Code of Conduct Policy
At Nucleus, we all share a commitment to providing the best possible service to our consumers and their families. We take our values of Safety, Quality, Collaboration, Respect, Responsibility and Innovation very seriously because they directly impact the experiences of our consumers, our staff, volunteers, students and contractors.
Our Code of Conduct is based in and demonstrates our values and establishes a common understanding of the standards of professional and ethical conduct expected of all employees, volunteers, board directors, students and contractors. Our commitment to following this Code unites us in our common goal of creating an environment that recognizes the importance of healthy interactions that support teamwork and the unique and valuable contribution of each team member.
Procedure and Application
Nucleus is a values-based organization and conducts itself accordingly. Nucleus’ Code of Conduct is built upon the organization’s values of Safety, Quality, Collaboration, Respect, Responsibility and Innovation to guide our day-to-day actions and decisions.
Nucleus is committed to fostering a healthy and positive environment that respects the personal worth, dignity and diversity of each member of the Nucleus community (includes all employees, consumers, Board Directors, volunteers, students and contractors).
Employees, volunteers, students and contractors are required to understand their unique position of authority and perceived power in their relationship with consumers. Employees, volunteers, students and contractors have a duty of care to consumers and a responsibility to ensure that consumers are treated with dignity and respect in keeping with relevant legislation and the consumer Bill of Rights.
The Code of Conduct
At all times, as a representative of Nucleus, I will:
Operate in compliance with the law, regulations and rules:
- Uphold the values of the organization;
- Perform work within the organization’s policies, procedures, directives and guidelines;
- Abide by the laws of Ontario and Canada and expect no support from Nucleus should I willingly or recklessly contravene such laws;
- Administer with care the funds, resources, supplies and equipment entrusted to me and account for such use of funds, resources, supplies and equipment as per Nucleus policies and procedures;
- Participate in inquiries and investigations as per Nucleus policies as required;
- Keep accurate, timely and complete records;
- Report to management, all known risks that have the potential to negatively impact employees, consumers, stakeholders and the organization as a whole.
Demonstrate personal and professional integrity:
- Act with honesty, fairness, diligence and transparency;
- Discharge all duties with integrity;
- Follow all instructions and directions assigned from a supervisor, and strive towards attaining a high standard of professional responsibility and achievement;
- Take accountability for my actions and follow through on commitments;
- Maintain a standard of care which is in keeping with the policies and procedures of Nucleus, the values of Nucleus and the mission to support people to live independently at home by providing caring and dependable services;
- Treat all people in a manner that maintains dignity and respects their religious beliefs, culture, customs and habits;
- Provide assistance regardless of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, language, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, physical characteristics, philosophy, religion, political opinions or other ground of discrimination prohibited under applicable human rights law;
- Inform Human Resources of any criminal charges or convictions;
- Refrain from consuming alcohol, cannabis or other substances during working hours, on work premises or outside of work in such a manner that can affect work performance or impair conduct or judgement at work; (OHS-2.17 Substance Use policy, OHS-2.18 Smoking policy)
- Communicate in a respectful, responsible and professional tone;
- Manage and protect the Nucleus brand and reputation by communicating on behalf of Nucleus only within the scope of my role, and acting responsibly to distance my personal opinions from my role with Nucleus;
- Identify areas for improvement, raise concerns and report misconduct to my supervisor or a member of the senior management team.
Manage conflicts of interest and uphold professional boundaries:
- Understand the consumer’s vulnerability and dependency on the employee, volunteer or delegate to provide assistance, and to act accordingly. This includes being aware of and complying with the Professional Boundaries policy (APM-D5.3 Professional Boundaries policy);
- Never accept gifts (monetary or otherwise) except with authorization and in compliance with Nucleus’ policy;
- Never discuss workplace events, concerns and conflicts with or in front of consumers, their families, caregivers, friends and consumer groups;
- Never discuss personal matters with or in front of consumers, their families, caregivers, friends and consumer groups;
- Act without bias, make decisions that are objective and ethical and are free from either real or perceived conflicts of interest (see conflict of interest policy);
- Report all conflicts of interest and professional boundary violations to management in a timely manner (includes but is not limited to personal relationships, professional relationships, business interactions, etc.);
- Never make private arrangements to provide services not scheduled through Nucleus with consumers, their families, caregivers, and friends;
- Remember that I may be seen as a Nucleus representative at any time, even when off duty and any actions/activities that adversely affect Nucleus, its representatives or consumers, when seen through the eyes of a reasonable observer, are considered a breach of this Code of Conduct.
Protect confidential information:
- Respect the confidentiality of personal and privileged information and only access confidential information for authorized work-related tasks;
- Respect the consumer’s privacy with respect to his or her personal information, image and property including protecting the privacy of the consumer’s personal health information as per Nucleus policies;
- Ensure secure collection, storage and disposal of confidential information regardless of its form;
- Not give out any information to the media or other external parties about Nucleus except with CEO approval as per Nucleus policy (see Media policy);
- Never discuss confidential or consumer information with or in front of anyone that does not have a legitimate work-related reason to know the information, unless specifically authorized to do so;
- Not encourage or pressure others to disclose confidential, sensitive or privileged information;
- Not take improper advantage of any information or documentation I have access to for my own or any other person’s benefit.
Build and maintain healthy environments and interactions:
- Work collaboratively with employees, volunteers and management of Nucleus. This entails taking directions from supervisors/managers and cooperating to achieve the organization’s goals;
- Contribute to a positive and healthy environment for employees, volunteers and consumers by appreciating differences and treating each other with respect;
- Actively promote a culture of safety, wellness and transparency;
- Abide by Nucleus’ dress code, personal hygiene/personal grooming standards and scent-free environment guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals with whom I interact;
- Observe all health and safety policies, regulations and practices and report all safety events, accidents, injuries and unsafe equipment, practices or conditions (refer to Occupational Health and Safety Policy manual);
- Respect and uphold all safety and security protocols and immediately report all unusual activity and/or potential safety risks and security threats.
Complying with the Code of Conduct
Each year employees, volunteers, Board Directors, students and contractors are required to read the code and sign an attestation that they will abide by the code of conduct.
Failure to comply with the code of conduct
Nucleus will investigate all reports of code of conduct violations and determine whether the code has been breached. A violation of any provisions of Nucleus’ code of conduct may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Violations may also impact individual performance assessments.
Acts of retaliation
No one shall be penalized, discharged, suspended, threatened, harassed, transferred to an undesirable assignment or location or discriminated against for communicating information about a suspected breach of the code of conduct that the person reasonably believes is true and is not being reported either for personal gain or for any ulterior motive. Any such act of retaliation by any employee or volunteer will be treated as serious misconduct and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. At the same time, in order to reinforce the integrity of employees and volunteers all reports of incidents that are made maliciously or otherwise not in good faith, will also be treated as serious misconduct warranting discipline, up to and including termination.
Serious acts of misconduct
The following behaviours or actions are considered serious acts of misconduct which may result in termination without progressive discipline:
- Action or speech which is humiliating, abusive, hurtful, rude, neglectful, insubordinate, dishonest, threatening, intimidating, degrading, bullying, exploitive, illegal, profane or racist;
- Personal relationships and sexual activity with consumers, and/or with family members, caregivers or other vulnerable persons to whom is owed a duty of care;
- Being under the influence of alcohol, cannabis or any other legal/illegal drug or substance that inhibits performance of duties (e.g. violation of the Substance Use policy);
- Acceptance of bribes;
- Abuse or intimidation of a consumer or caregiver;
- Violation of the professional boundaries policy;
- Violation of the Nucleus confidentiality policy and agreement;
- Intentional breach of privacy of personal health information
- Disclosing without authorization, directly or indirectly, to any person or organization, the private affairs of Nucleus, including but not limited to personal information or personal health information of consumers, employees or volunteers;
- Violation of the appropriate use of equipment policy and agreement;
- Being in possession of dangerous or unauthorized materials (i.e. weapons or explosives);
- Bringing family, friends, children or unauthorized others that are not employees to work when providing consumer services;
- Misuse of company time for outside interests (i.e. other employment, business, volunteer and other non-work related activities. This includes working for another employer, fundraising, soliciting sales or business leads for your own personal or professional gains);
- Fraudulent documentation or reporting;
- Breach of applicable Ontario or Canadian law;
- Engaging in, or being associated with, any business or activity which is, or may be, in conflict with the interests of Nucleus or which may harm the reputation of Nucleus (including but not limited to criminal, fraudulent or illegal conduct, any impropriety, lack of professional responsibility, lack of integrity or dishonesty).
Reporting Breaches of the Code of Conduct
Employees, volunteers, students and contractors are obliged to contribute to an environment which prevents misconduct and promotes the implementation of appropriate behaviour as defined in this Code of Conduct. As a result, all individuals subject to this policy have an obligation to and are required to report violations or suspected violations of the Code of Conduct, including unethical or illegal conduct.
Reporting Conduct violations not characterized as a Serious Act of Misconduct:
An employee or volunteer who witnesses or develops concerns or suspicions regarding a breach of the Code of Conduct that is not a serious act of misconduct is encouraged to address such concerns or suspicions by following the process described in Steps 1 to 3 of the Resolution Process.
Reporting Serious Acts of Misconduct:
Where an employee or volunteer develops concerns or suspicions regarding a breach that is a serious act of misconduct by a fellow employee or volunteer, he/she is required to report such concerns to his/her immediate supervisor or to Human Resources by following the steps 4 and 5 in the Resolution Process.
If the closest supervisor/manager is suspected of involvement, the case must be taken to the next management level. This reporting process provides the employee or volunteer with different reporting channels should he/she not wish to report a breach to a direct supervisor/manager. The different channels are: supervisor level, management level, director level, Human Resources, CEO and Board of Directors.
A reported concern will be handled fairly with respect to any individual named, taking into account the seriousness of the issue raised, the credibility of the information or allegations, and the prospects of an effective investigation.
All reported concerns will be treated as confidential to the fullest extent permitted by law. Persons are encouraged to give their names with any information they communicate, as this will usually assist in the investigation of the matter disclosed. However, consideration will also be given to information reported anonymously. Generally, information communicated will only be disclosed to those persons who have a need to know in order to properly respond to the reported concerns.
Roles and Accountabilities
Employee, Volunteer, Student or Contractor Accountabilities:
It is the responsibility of each person to:
- Read, acknowledge/sign and uphold the Nucleus Code of Conduct;
- Ensure that his/her behaviour consistently complies with the Nucleus Code of Conduct;
- Contribute to an environment which prevents misconduct and promotes the implementation of appropriate behaviour as defined in this Code of Conduct;
- Speak to colleagues when their behaviour is inconsistent with the Nucleus Code of Conduct and make efforts to address issues identified directly with the person involved, in a confidential, positive and professional manner;
- Be accountable for stages 1, 2 and 3 of the Resolution Process (Appendix B) and report continued inappropriate behaviours to their supervisor or the next management level.
- Report all concerns or suspicions regarding a breach that is a serious act of misconduct (outlined in section 3.3.4.) in a timely manner via the available reporting protocols (section 3.4.2). Additional requirements may exist within other policies (such as conduct dealing with fraud, abuse, violence in the workplace, privacy breach and substance use etc.) to guide appropriate actions as required.
Managers at all levels have additional responsibilities to support and develop systems which maintain a healthy and positive environment that respects the personal worth, dignity and diversity of each member of the Nucleus community.
It is the responsibility of supervisors, managers, directors and the CEO to:
- Ensure that each individual under his/her direction/supervision upholds the Nucleus Code of Conduct.
- Be alert to and either take action to address or report to another manager conduct observed that violates the code of conduct.
- Investigate reports of violations of the Nucleus Code of Conduct, document and initiate appropriate action within one week. Appropriate action may include referral to counselling (external if available), coaching and mediation.
- Contact the Human Resources Manager when inappropriate behaviour persists and progressive disciplinary action is required.
- Be accountable for stages 4 and 5 of the Resolution Process.
Reviewed November 2018