Overtime pay for salaried workers, anti-bullying policy and updated dress code among proposed changes to Cuyahoga County’s personnel manual

December 5, 2017 GMT

Overtime pay for salaried workers, anti-bullying policy and updated dress code among proposed changes to Cuyahoga County’s personnel manual

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Overtime pay for salaried employees, an anti-bullying policy and a dress code that establishes skirt lengths are among the proposed changes to Cuyahoga County’s employee handbook.

County Executive Armond Budish presented a draft of a the first third of an updated employee handbook to County Council last week.

The proposed changes address some of employee compensation issues that had not been approved by council and that put him at odds with council, the county prosecutor and the county’s independent internal auditor.

On Friday, Budish apologized for how he handled the issues and accepted the Sept. 29 findings of the county’s internal auditing department, which determined the county had improperly granted $1.7 million in extra pay to salaried employees. He also said his administration would move more quickly to work with council to update the county’s employee-compensation policies to address the issue.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish changes stance and apologizes for ‘defensive’ reaction to overtime issue

Administrators have so far given council 35 pages, or about one third of the handbook. Another third will be submitted by Dec. 15 and the final third by Jan. 15.

The new handbook will replace the current Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual, last updated in 2013.

The draft handbook will undergo many discussions and be subject to revisions before it is approved by council, said spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan.

See the draft below or click here if on a mobile device:

Following are some of the proposed changes:

Provides overtime to salaried employees: “Exempt employees do not receive overtime pay (i.e., time and one-half) but may receive exchange time or, if authorized by the Director of Human Resources, may receive compensation at their regular rates.”

Allows administrators to avoid filling out time sheets: “Chiefs and directors will have the option to attest to working a full payroll period, based on 80 hours, instead of logging their daily time hour-for-hour.”

Creates anti-bullying policy: Bullying is defined as “repeated inappropriate behavior, either direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons toward a co-worker or anyone engaged in county business and/or that could reasonably be expected to impact the workplace.” It includes cyber bullying.

Expands dress code: Establishes guidelines for business-casual clothing. The guidelines call for a dress or skirt to be at knee-length or below, and for loafers or dress shoes to cover all or most of the feet. An employee who is dressed inappropriately may be sent home to change their clothes and may be subject to discipline.

Expands definition of workplace harassment: “Harassment is defined as any unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct that demeans or shows hostility, or aversion, toward an individual, or their relatives, friends or associates, because of their race, color, ancestry, national origin, language, religion, citizenship status, sex, age, marital status, sexual preference or orientation, gender identity/expression, military/veteran status, disability, genetic information, membership in a collective bargaining unit, status with regard to public assistance, and political affiliation, or on the basis of association with an individual that falls into a protected category, which can reasonably be considered to adversely affect the work environment.”

Expands workplace search guidelines: The county may at any time conduct random checks of vehicles, bags, packages and work areas, without notice or cause. County employees may periodically be required to submit to a search using a metal detector.

Expands attendance policies and levels of discipline: Includes description of tardiness, AWOL, time clocks and failure to clock in or out.

Allows telecommuting: Telecommuting will be permitted for some salaried employees.

Gives executive right to waive any provision: “There will not be any provisions waived without permission from the County Executive, or designee.”

Budish’s apology came two days after County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said the Budish administration violated the county governing charter by allowing salaried employees to receive extra pay for time worked beyond 40 hours a week. O’Malley’s position came in response to a request from Internal Auditor Cory Swaisgood to weigh in on the issue.

On Nov. 28, County Council’s 11 members also proposed legislation that would repeal a section in the county’s policy manual that Budish’s top attorney had argued gave him the right to award the extra pay.

Council’s Human Resources Committee is expected to discuss the issue on Tuesday morning.