2.0 You and Your Job

2.1 Employment

2.1.1 Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

First Environments is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any applicant or employee on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, citizenship, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, or other legally protected status. This policy extends to all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, as well as the use of the Center facilities and participation in all activities sponsored by First Environments.
First Environments also will not discriminate or take adverse action against any individual who is a member or applies to become a member of a uniformed service, performs or applies to perform uniformed service, or has an obligation to perform uniformed service. Employees who perform and return from service in the military will retain certain rights with respect to reinstatement, seniority, layoffs, compensation, or any benefit of employment in accordance with applicable federal or state law.

In order to promote an atmosphere that is free of any form of discrimination, intimidation, or harassment, we depend on you, our employees, to show respect for your co-workers. Helping to create a work environment where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome is an important part of each employee’s job.

2.1.2 Accommodation of Disabilities and Other Medical Conditions

It is our policy to base selection and other employment criteria on job-related reasons and to make reasonable accommodations to assist otherwise qualified disabled applicants and employees in meeting these criteria once we are made aware of their disabilities and provided that the accommodations do not cause an undue hardship for First Environments. For purposes of this policy, “qualified disabled applicants and employees” include applicants and employees who have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and who meet the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of a position desired or held and can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation. We reserve the right to require medical documentation of a disability.

If you have a disability that will require an accommodation to perform an essential function of a job desired or held, it is your responsibility to notify the Executive Director of the disability and of the need for an accommodation. We then can work with you to try to provide a reasonable accommodation, taking into consideration your specific condition and the operational requirements of and financial cost and expense to First Environments, among other factors. Please be aware that although we would like to keep employment opportunities open for qualified individuals, we will not be able to accommodate an applicant or employee who poses a significant risk to the health or safety of himself or herself or others in the workplace (including children and co-workers) if a reasonable accommodation will not eliminate or reduce the risk.

All medical documentation and other information pertaining to disabilities, and any reasonable accommodations proposed or made for an applicant or employee will be maintained confidentially. Of course:

  • Appropriate members of management may be informed regarding any restrictions in work duties or necessary accommodations;
  • First aid and safety personnel may be informed, when appropriate, if a disability might require emergency treatment;
  • Government officials investigating compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act may be provided information in compliance with applicable laws and regulations;
  • We may submit information to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the North Carolina Second Injury Fund, or our workers’ compensation carrier(s) in accordance with applicable workers’ compensation laws; and
  • We may use the information for insurance purposes.

We also may consult with occupational health professionals and other similar agents for purposes of considering possible direct threats to health or safety posed by an individual with a disability and/or possible reasonable accommodations for that individual.

2.1.3 Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment

First Environments prohibits any form of sexual and other unlawful harassment involving any of its employees in the employment relationship. Harassment, retaliation, coercion, interference, or intimidation of an employee due to his or her race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, citizenship, genetic information, protected activity (i.e., opposition to prohibited discrimination), sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, or other legally protected status is strictly forbidden. This policy is part of First Environments’ efforts to maintain a workplace free of harassment for its employees.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment does not require physical contact, but can be any type of unwelcome conduct. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment (either explicitly or implicitly), when submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting the individual, or when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to interfere with an individual’s work performance or to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature do not constitute sexual harassment.

Other Unlawful Harassment

Other unlawful harassment may consist of verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (gender), age, national origin, disability, citizenship, genetic information, protected activity (i.e., opposition to prohibited discrimination), sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, or legally protected status, and has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; has the purpose or effect of interfering unreasonably with an individual’s work; or otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities.

Any act, comment, or behavior that constitutes sexual or other unlawful harassment is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated of any employee, either on or off the Center’s premises. For purposes of this policy, this includes but is not limited to slurs, jokes, or other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct relating to an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, citizenship, genetic information, protected activity (i.e., opposition to prohibited discrimination), sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, or other legally protected status. This prohibition covers not only the relationships between employees of First Environments but also each employee’s relationship with the children or parents of the Center or with the employees of other companies encountered in the course of performing the duties of his or her job.

Reports and Investigations

Employees, without any fear of reprisal, have the responsibility immediately to bring any form of sexual or other unlawful harassment (whether by a co-worker, a parent, or someone else encountered while performing their job duties) to the attention of their supervisor. All supervisors who receive a complaint of sexual or other unlawful harassment should immediately contact the Executive Director. If for some reason an employee does not feel comfortable reporting harassment to his or her supervisor, the employee should report the harassment to another member of management or the Executive Director. Upon receipt of an allegation of harassment, First Environments will promptly begin an investigation into the circumstances of the incident and the alleged harassment. Complaints of harassment should be made in writing and signed by the complainant as soon as possible after being brought to the attention of Executive Director or another member of management. All written complaints must include the name of the alleged harasser and a detail account of the incident(s). Any person, who becomes aware of an incident of sexual or other unlawful harassment, whether by witnessing the incident or being told of it, should report it immediately to the Executive Director.First Environments will keep all information relating to harassment allegations and investigations as confidential as possible under the circumstances.

Corrective and/or Disciplinary Action

Following First Environments’ investigation, a review of the results of the investigation with the person(s) involved will be conducted and appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action will be taken, which may result in immediate termination of employment for employees who are determined to have engaged in sexual or other unlawful harassment, conduct approaching sexual or other unlawful harassment, or other conduct that violates the Center’s policy. Be advised that disciplinary action, up to and including termination, will be taken against any employee engaging in sexual or other unlawful harassment.

Protection Against Retaliation

First Environments will not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a report of harassment in good faith or who assists in an investigation. Retaliation is a serious violation of this harassment policy and should be reported immediately. Any employee found to have retaliated against another employee in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

2.1.4 Recruitment and Selection of Personnel

No person who serves as a voting member of the Board of Executive Directors of First Environments Parents Organization may be employed by the Center.

2.1.5 Application

A candidate for any position in the Center must file a resume and application in writing. The candidate is responsible for describing their education, experience, interests, and capabilities.

Information regarding candidates may be obtained from references.

A physical examination form, including TB test, signed by a physician will be required. The cost is covered by FEELC.

2.1.6 Hiring Procedures for Teachers, Rotating Teachers, and Administrative Staff

Staff recruitment and employment is the responsibility of the Executive Director.

Position openings may be advertised internally, in local papers, and at local universities and technical institutes. Also, other day care facilities may be notified of openings.

First Environments makes every effort to determine if any employee has a prior conviction or other record of criminal activity that would call into question his or her suitability to care for children. Thus, First Environments conducts a criminal records check on all prospective employees. First Environments requires that all employment offers are contingent on the satisfactory results of a required background check. First Environments will comply with any North Carolina state licensing statute or regulation that exceeds this requirement.

First Environments’ is responsible for submitting the required request forms and authorization and release documents to complete the First Environments’ check and provide them to the appropriate state and federal agency to complete the required records checks. The cost is covered by FEELC.

All applicants must be at least 18 years old, have completed high school or the equivalent, and must be literate.

All offers of employment and continued employment are contingent upon the maintenance of a satisfactory record. Post-employment arrests or convictions for crimes that affect your suitability to care for children or perform your job duties may result in termination of employment.

The top candidate may be asked to volunteer in the Center for a day of observation prior to employment.

The Executive Director, with feedback from the staff, will make the final decision.

The Executive Director will discuss the selection with the President of the Board of Executive Directors for approval.

2.1.7 Employment Eligibility

First Environments, in accordance with federal law, only employs people who are authorized to work in the United States. Each new employee, as a condition of employment, must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and present documentation establishing identity and employment eligibility. Former employees who are rehired must also complete the form if they have not completed an I-9 with the Center within the past 3 years, or if their previous I-9 is no longer available or valid.
First Environments will not unlawfully discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of citizenship or national origin.

2.1.8 Employment Status

For the purposes of this Handbook, “full-time employees” are employees who are scheduled to work at least 30 hours or more per week. Full-time employees are eligible to participate in First Environments’ benefits and leave programs in accordance with the provisions of each benefit and leave plan. “Part-time employees” are employees who are scheduled to work less than 30 hours per week and are not eligible to participate in our Medical and Dental benefits programs.

2.1.9 Temporary / Seasonal Employment

Employees hired for a temporary or seasonal position are not eligible to participate in First Environment’s benefits and leave programs. Should you be offered a full-time position during or concluding your temporary or seasonal position your eligibility for benefits will be after a 90 day orientation period

2.1.10 Time Sheets

Employees are required to clock in and out each workday (no more than 5 min. prior to or 5 min. past your scheduled shift, unless staffing ratios do not permit.) Each pay period covers 2 workweeks. Employees are requested to sign their time sheets.

2.1.11 Transfers

Transfers of staff within the Center can occur at the discretion of the Executive Director. Any staff member has the opportunity to request a transfer within the Center by putting in an application, with the final decision resting with the Executive Director.

2.1.12 Pre-employment Physical

Physical examinations are required for all newly hired (full-time or part-time) employees as a condition of employment. A record of the physical exam must be filed at the Center prior to the first day of employment. A new employee who does not turn in a physical examination report within the first 2 weeks of employment cannot return to work until the medical report is on file.

2.1.13 Attendance and Care

Regular attendance is essential to each classroom and to the success of the Center. It is your responsibility to maintain a satisfactory attendance record. You should be in your classroom and ready to begin work at your scheduled time. If you are unable to report for work, know that you will be late, or know that you must leave early, you must notify In case of an emergency, notify the Center no less than 1 hour before the scheduled change. Please call 541-9452 and leave a message if prior to the Center’s opening.

If you leave your assigned position during working hours, you must obtain prior approval from the Center. Frequent or repeated incidents of absenteeism, tardiness, failure to report to assigned classroom/location or return from break as scheduled, or departure without prior approval from the Center and will be considered cause for disciplinary action. Failure to call in for three consecutive days to report the absences and to request that.

2.1.14 Open Door Policy

First Environments has an open door policy with respect to employee questions and complaints and wants to assure our employees that their complaints will be considered fairly, in a timely manner, and without reprisal. You are encouraged to discuss matters of concern pertaining to your employment with your supervisor. Your supervisor should be given the courtesy of knowing about any complaint you may have and a chance to help solve it. He or she knows more about you and your job than any other member of management and is in the best position to handle your complaint satisfactorily.

We would like to address all employee complaints informally, and employees and supervisors are expected to make every effort to resolve any problems as they arise. However, in the event you have a complaint that you do not feel comfortable taking to your supervisor (such as an allegation of sexual or other unlawful harassment involving your supervisor), you should go to another member of management. It is our goal for all complaints to be given prompt attention and objective consideration in an atmosphere of mutual assistance.

2.1.15 Drug and Alcohol Policy

It is important to First Environments, our children, parents, visitors, and fellow employees that the Center’s work environment is free from the use of prohibited drugs and alcohol. It is for this reason that First Environments has adopted this drug and alcohol policy.
This policy provides information about prohibited conduct involving drugs and alcohol, the administration of the Center’s substance abuse testing, the consequences of a policy violation, and other important information. This policy applies to all applicants and employees of First Environments, including management.

No part of this policy is intended to affect the Center’s right to manage its workplace or to discipline its employees, nor is it intended to alter the at-will status of employment with First Environments. The Center also reserves the right to turn over any controlled substances found in or on First Environments’ property to the appropriate authorities and to assist in any resulting criminal prosecution.

Prohibited Conduct

First Environments prohibits the use, sale, dispensing, or possession of illegal drugs, narcotics, and alcoholic beverages on company property or during working hours regardless of whether on company property or not. This includes all legal or prescription drugs which may impair an employee’s ability to perform their job or prescribed drugs that are not being used in the manner prescribed or by the person for which they are prescribed. A violation of this policy occurs when any employee reports to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol on the Center’s premises (including the buildings, grounds, parking lots, and vehicles of the Center or any other location where the Center’s business is being carried out).

Drug and Alcohol Testing

If First Environments has a reasonable suspicion that an employee has used prohibited drugs or alcohol in violation of this policy or is under the influence of prohibited drugs or alcohol at the workplace, the employee may be required to submit a urine sample, breath sample, or other sample or specimen for drug and/or alcohol testing immediately upon request by your supervisor or any other member of management.

The decision to test an employee should be based on specific and contemporaneous observations concerning the appearance, behavior, or body odor of the employee, or performance indicators of probable prohibited drug use and/or alcohol misuse. This may include involvement in any unusual circumstance that merits further investigation, violence, conduct exhibiting less than total consciousness or self-control, difficulty in performing normal tasks, and other behavior for which there appears to be no explanation.

Notice and Consent

Prior to drug or alcohol testing conducted under this policy, the individual will be required to sign a written consent form, which will authorize the test to be performed and the urine sample or other sample or specimen to be collected, and will authorize the sample/specimen to be analyzed and the results of the analysis to be communicated to First Environments, any designated representative of First Environments, and any medical review officer retained by First Environments.

An employee who refuses to sign the consent form or to submit to a drug or alcohol test, or who tampers with or attempts to adulterate a test, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Notification of Results

You must comply with the NC Controlled Substances Examination Act which requires that an employee who tests positive be allowed to have a retest of the same sample. This law also requires that you use a certified lab and notify the applicant/employee of their Rights and Responsibilities.

An individual who undergoes a drug or alcohol test conducted pursuant to this policy will be notified in writing by First Environments of the results of any such test if the results are confirmed positive, in which case he or she will be advised what prohibited drug was discovered or what alcohol concentration was indicated. Test results will not be furnished to any other person without the express written consent of the tested employee, except as specified in this policy or as required or permitted by law. First Environments will keep the conducting and results of the testing as confidential as possible under the circumstances.

Consequences of Violations

Any employee who refuses to submit to a drug or alcohol test, has a confirmed positive result in any drug or alcohol test, or otherwise violates this policy or any other policy of First Environments relating to drugs or alcohol, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination from employment.

2.1.16 Job Descriptions

All Center job positions will have a general job description on file. You will receive a copy of your job description during the hiring process and orientation period. You should familiarize yourself with the requirements of your position and the performance requirements for the position. Questions about these requirements should be directed to your supervisor. Job descriptions do not include the full scope of responsibilities, but are merely a general outline.

All teaching staff must have, or complete, the NCECC or its equivalent. All teaching staff must begin work or be enrolled towards a NCECC or its equivalent within six months hire.your absence be recorded as excused will be cause for termination from First Environments.


Last updated: 1/26/2017