We're happy to welcome you to The Watco Companies. Thank you for joining us! We believe that you will find your association with The Watco Companies to be a mutually beneficial and pleasant one.
You have joined an organization that takes pride in their reputation for providing quality transportation products and services at an affordable price, while making adequate returns on its operations. Credit for this goes to every one of our employees, the dedication of our customers and the leadership of our managers and shareholders. We hope you, too, will find satisfaction and take pride in your work here.
Purpose of the Employee Handbook
This Handbook has been prepared for informational purposes to describe basic information about the history, philosophy, benefits, employment practices and policies of The Watco Companies (also referred to as the Company). It is not designed to provide specific practices or policies for every situation. Questions concerning specific practices, policies, revisions or how general rules apply should be discussed with your supervisor. No statement or promise by a supervisor, manager, or other employee of The Watco Companies may be interpreted as a change in policy nor will it constitute an agreement with an employee.
None of the information in this Handbook is intended to create or imply a contract of employment or a contract to provide any benefit. Neither the existence of this Handbook, nor anything herein, expressed or implied, creates a right to employment nor a requirement that the employment be terminated only "for cause." Employment with The Watco Companies is "at will," and may be terminated by you or by The Watco Companies, for any reason, with or without cause and with or without notice.
The Watco Companies' policies, benefits and rules can and do change from time to time as business needs, employment legislation and economic conditions dictate. Every effort will be made to keep you informed of changes through suitable lines of communication. However, The Watco Companies retain the right to delete, suspend, revise or discontinue any policies, procedures, or benefits in whole or in part, at any time, with or without notice.
You are responsible for reading and understanding the information in this Handbook. If you are unclear or desire further clarification on any information, please discuss the matter with your supervisor.
Unless otherwise stated, the provisions of this Handbook apply to all employees of The Watco Companies. For employees covered by a separate labor contract, the terms of the labor contract are intended to control where direct conflict exists.
This Handbook supersedes all other previous Handbooks for The Watco Companies as of January, 2000.
Employment Opportunity Statement
It is the policy and intent of The Watco Companies to provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability or veteran status. This policy applies to all areas of employment including recruitment, hiring, development, promotion, transfer, termination, layoff, compensation benefits, and all other conditions and privileges of employment in accordance with applicable local, state and federal laws.
Implicit in this policy is the commitment of The Watco Companies to maintain a work environment that is safe, productive and free of harassment, including sexual harassment. In keeping with this commitment, we will not tolerate harassment of Company employees by anyone, including any supervisor, manager, co-worker, vendor, client, contractor, customer or other regular visitor of the Company.
Sexual harassment is defined as follows:
"Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment 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 a basis for employment decision affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Supervisors and management are primarily responsible for seeing that The Watco Companies' equal employment opportunity policies are implemented, but all employees share in the responsibility for assuring that, by their personal actions, the policies are effective and apply uniformly to everyone. Any employee, including management, involved in discriminatory practices will be subject to discharge.
An employee who feels that he/she has been subjected to or has witnessed harassment, including sexual harassment, should immediately report the incident following the rules of Dispute Resolution.
The Company will investigate all complaints of harassment thoroughly and promptly. If an investigation confirms that a violation of this policy has occurred, the Company will take appropriate, corrective action including discipline up to and including immediate termination of employment.
As Part of the Team
As a member of The Watco Companies' team, you will be expected to do your job well, and to contribute your talents and energies to improve the environment and quality of the Company, as well as the Company's products/services. You, as an employee of The Watco Companies, are an important part of this organization.
Your supervisor is very important to your welfare and progress at The Watco Companies. Your day-to-day contact with your supervisor gives you a chance to receive guidance and counsel regarding your assignments and the progress you make on your job.
Get to know your supervisor, and when you need help or have questions, concerns, problems or suggestions, contact your supervisor first. If your supervisor cannot help you or answer your question, you will be referred to someone who can.
At The Watco Companies, we always put safety first. We believe it is our duty to provide our employees with as safe a workplace as possible. For your protection we have an in-house safety program. We also have a Drug and Alcohol Policy, because you have a right to know you can depend on your co-workers.
Watco Companies Goals
Watco Companies will provide the best transportation related services to our customers in the most profitable manner possible over the long term. We will provide an environment that allows our companies and our people to improve and grow, passing on to future generations a company with an outstanding reputation for customer service, profitability and quality.
At the time you are hired, you are classified as a full-time, part-time, or temporary employee for purposes of salary administration and eligibility for employee benefits. You are also told whether you are classified as "salaried exempt", "salaried nonexempt", or "hourly" (nonexempt) as defined by applicable wage and hour laws. The policies and provisions of this handbook are intended for the nonexempt classification and will not be applied to exempt employees in conflict with federal and state laws. If you are unsure about the classification of your position, ask your supervisor for clarification.
During the first ninety (90) calendar days of continuous employment with The Watco Companies, all new employees are considered to be in an Introductory Period. At the Company's discretion, this introductory period may be extended as the need arises.
Employment with The Watco Companies is "at will" and may be terminated at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause by either you or the Company. Nothing in the Introductory Period Statement constitutes or may be construed as an agreement for continued employment or termination only "for cause".
Your Personnel File
Keeping your personnel records current can be important to you with regard to pay, deductions, benefits, communications, and other matters. If you have a change in any of the following items, please notify your supervisor as soon as possible.
Coverage or benefits that you or your family may receive under The Watco Companies' benefits package could be negatively affected if the information in your personnel file is incorrect.
All employees of The Watco Companies are expected to present themselves in a manner that will produce a positive response from both co-workers and, most importantly, our customers.
Employees who perform work other than office-related activities should check with their supervisor to determine safety requirements regarding clothing, footwear, beards, mustaches, etc.
As an employee of The Watco Companies, you are required to adhere to certain rules of conduct necessary for the Company's operations. As in any organization, a code of conduct is necessary to establish and maintain a productive and respectful working atmosphere. Any employee conduct which interferes with the effective operation of the Company's business, is prohibited. The performance standards listed below, and others which may be established from time to time, are not all-inclusive. Rather, they are published to provide a general understanding of what the Company considers to be unacceptable conduct and are examples of the types of misconduct for which employees may be disciplined or dismissed. The Company may impose disciplinary action in those instances where management decides it is appropriate. The Company retains the right to determine what discipline will be imposed in each individual situation. Violations of any of the following performance standards may result in disciplinary action and/or immediate discharge:
Failure to observe working hours reduces productivity and places an unfair burden on fellow employees. You are required to report to work whenever scheduled, and to be at your workstation with all tools and necessary equipment ready at your scheduled start time and again after any break.
If, for some unavoidable reason, it is necessary for you to arrive late, be absent from work, or leave early because of an illness or emergency, you are required to contact your supervisor as far in advance as possible. In the event of an emergency, you are required to contact your supervisor as soon as practicable. Failure to provide proper notification of an absence (excused or unexcused), late arrival or early departure from work may result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. All tardiness, absences, and early departures will become part of the your record whether excused or unexcused. Employees with the highest incidence of absenteeism will be addressed first.
If any employee is absent for three or more consecutive days for illness or injury, a physician's statement is required verifying the expected beginning and ending dates. Before returning to work from a sick leave absence of three or more consecutive days, a physician's statement is required verifying that the employee may safely return to work. Concern for safety or health may prompt the company to require a physician’s statement for return to work at other times also.
Any employee who is absent three (3) consecutive workdays without reporting their absence, will be considered to have resigned his/her position with the Company. A physician’s statement does not relieve you of the responsibility to report your absence. Any employee who fails to report for duty after a leave of absence or release to return to work will be considered to have resigned his/her position with the Company. Failure to attend scheduled rehabilitation and/or medical sessions will be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Messages left with co-workers or other employees, or messages left on answering machines do not constitute proper notification.
It is hoped that the relationship between you and Watco Companies will be a rewarding one. It is recognized, however, that circumstances may change, or other opportunities may arise which require consideration of employment termination.
Involuntary Separation – An involuntary separation is a termination which has been initiated by the Company.
Voluntary Separation – A voluntary separation occurs when you resign your position, are absent from work three (3) consecutive unreported days, or fail to return from a leave of absence on it’s expiration date. Voluntary separation is an important decision which deserves your consideration of many factors. You are encouraged to talk over such a decision with your supervisor or Human Resources.
Except where prohibited by law, employment will be terminated if any employee performs no work for the Company for any reason for six (6) months.
Your particular hours of work and the scheduling of rest periods and meal periods will be determined and assigned by your immediate supervisor.
You are responsible for maintaining accurate and complete records of hours worked.
All Company employees are paid by check on a bi-weekly basis. If a regularly scheduled payday is a holiday, every effort will be made to have checks available on the preceding workday. All required deductions, such as federal, state and local taxes, and all authorized voluntary deductions, will be withheld automatically from your paychecks.
Funds you owe to the Company may be deducted from current wages according to the terms and conditions agreed upon at the time of your advance or loan from the Company.
Please review your paycheck for errors. If you find a mistake, report it to your supervisor immediately. Your supervisor will assist you in taking the steps necessary to correct the error.
From time to time the workload will necessitate working beyond regular work hours. When this happens, you will be given as much notice as possible. Assignments will be made in a fair and reasonable manner to accommodate both the Company and the employee needs. Factors considered in offering overtime work include, but are not limited to, qualifications and quality of work.
Any hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per week must be approved in advance by your supervisor.
"Nonexempt" employees are paid in accordance with the requirements of federal and/or state laws.
Watco Companies has a Performance Incentive Plan that allows you to earn income over and above your normal wages, based upon your performance of defined objectives.
Regular full-time employees with 180 days of active service are eligible for the plan. Please consult your supervisor for complete information regarding this plan.
The Company recognizes the importance of vacation time in providing employees the opportunity for rest, recreation and personal activities. Therefore, the Company grants annual, paid vacations to its regular full-time employees based on the employee's length of service (as determined by the employee's hire date) and according to the following schedule:
Only regular full-time employees are eligible for vacation. Part-time and temporary employees are not eligible for vacation.
Every effort will be made to grant regular full-time employees the vacation dates they request. However, in order to ensure efficient and safe operations, all vacations are subject to Company approval. If a conflict arises due to more than one employee requesting the same time off, seniority will be the determining factor for all vacations submitted by December 31st. After December 31st the first employee submitting the request will have preference. Vacations must be requested 7 days in advance.
Vacation time off is paid at the employee's base rate at the time the vacation is taken. It does not include overtime or any special forms of compensation. Company holidays that fall during an employee's vacation do not count as vacation time.
The Company recognizes seven (7) paid holidays. The days on which the holidays are celebrated are determined by the Company's local operation.
To be eligible for holiday pay, employees are required to have been on the active payroll with at least (30) days of service, and must have worked both the last scheduled workday before the holiday and the first scheduled workday after the holiday, unless the employee is on a paid absence.
Watco Companies will return an employee who is on disability leave to their former position or to a similar position when the employee returns from a disability leave of absence within thirty (30) days. If the employee’s disability continues beyond thirty (30) days, the Company will attempt to return the employee to a similar open position. However, the Company’s need to fill a position may override it’s ability to hold a position open until an employee returns from extended disability leave and therefore cannot assure that it will be able to return an employee to any position after the extended disability leave is over. Disability leaves shall be subject to the ADA and FMLA when applicable. The Company retains the discretion to determine the similarity of available positions and the employee’s qualifications.
In the event of the death of an employee’s immediate family member (spouse, children, stepchildren, mother, father, mother- or father-in-law, step-parents, brother, sister, brother- or sister-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren) you should notify your supervisor as soon as possible.
For eligible regular full-time employees, the Company will provide leave, with pay, for a period of up to three (3) regularly scheduled workdays in the event of the death of an employee’s spouse, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, step-parent or step-children. For eligible regular full-time employees, the Company will provide leave, with pay for a period of up to one (1) day in the event of the death of the employee’s in-laws, and grandparents. Pay will be reduced by one day if funeral falls on a scheduled non-working day. No payment will be made if the event falls during vacation or leave of absence.
You may be required to provide evidence of a death or your relationship to the deceased before any leave time is paid.
Regular full-time employees who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard may take the necessary time off without pay to fulfill this obligation, and will retain all of their legal rights for continued employment under existing laws.
You are expected to notify your supervisor as soon as you are aware of the dates you will be on duty so that arrangements can be made for replacement during this absence.
All employees are eligible for unpaid family and medical leave in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Please consult postings at your site or your supervisor for further information. Generally when practicable a 30 day prior written notice is required.
An unpaid leave may be requested by any employee employed for at least 12 weeks for any of the following reasons:
The Company is interested in the health and well-being of both you and your family. A major medical and dental program is available for all eligible regular full-time employees and the employee's dependents. Coverage will constitute a payroll deduction. Company funded life insurance is available for all eligible regular full-time employees and their families. For more detailed information on the group health insurance, dental insurance and life insurance benefits available, refer to the Summary Plan Descriptions available through your supervisor.
Employees become eligible for the benefits described above following completion of the 90 day Introductory Period at which time payroll deductions will begin.
Regular full-time employees who are at least 18 years of age are eligible to participate in the Company’s 401(k) retirement plan upon completion of one year of continuous service with the Company.
The plan has two (2) periods of open enrollment – January 1st and July 1st.
Your 401 (k) benefit will be explained to you at the enrollment period in which you become eligible.
Watco Companies believes in enhancing the long term personal growth of it’s employees. In keeping with that philosophy we provide financial reimbursement for certain types of continuing education. Contact your supervisor for full details of this program.
Watco Companies has an employee loan program designed to help employees in times of financial distress. This is available to employees employed for at least one year, with regular attendance, and not involved in a safety accident or incident. For further information contact your supervisor.
It is the goal of the Watco Companies to provide a safe, healthy and productive workplace for all of our employees and visitors. A violation of the Company’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy will result in disciplinary action ranging from a warning, probation, suspension or immediate termination of employment.
All Company employees are subject to random drug testing. Employees whose names are drawn for random drug testing will be notified by their supervisor and provided with the information and paperwork required. Random testing is in addition to any customer, state or federal required testing.
The Company also requires drug and alcohol testing in any of the following circumstances:
Each employee of the Company will:
The Company reserves the right to carry out searches of individual employees and their personal effects when employees are on Company premises or in any Company vehicle, while employees are on duty, or while employees are at a job site of a customer. Personal effects of employees include, but are not limited to, personal vehicles, baggage, lockers, tool boxes, lunch pails, coolers, briefcases, and desks.
Searches by the Company may be initiated without prior notice and conducted at times and locations as deemed appropriate by the Company.
Employees have the right to refuse being searched or having their personal effects searched or to cooperate in the requested tests; however, refusal to allow such searches or to cooperate in such lawfully permitted tests by any employee will be cause for disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination.
The Company has the right and the responsibility to insure that all employees comply with all safety and health rules. It is the responsibility of the employee to become familiar with all safety rules and regulations and to perform their work in accordance with those rules and regulations.
Employees are required to attend scheduled safety meetings and required training sessions.
When performing work in industrial plants, employees are required to practice the safety rules set forth by The Watco Companies in addition to contractor safety rules and special instructions set forth by the plant administration.
The Company’s rules regarding safety and health are basically common sense, requiring conduct and practices acceptable to an industrial environment. When these rules of conduct and practices are violated, the Company reserves the right to apply disciplinary action up to and including termination.
When an employee experiences a work-related injury or illness, he/she should immediately notify their supervisor, regardless of how minor the injury or illness.
We are all responsible for creating a safe and productive work environment. Therefore, all employees have a responsibility to notify their supervisor when they observe unsafe working habits or situations where there is a potential safety risks.
No unauthorized distribution or circulation of printed materials will be permitted by employees during working time or in working areas. Solicitation of employees on working time by other employees is also prohibited.
"Working time" refers to that portion of any workday during which an employee is supposed to be performing actual job duties; it does not include other duty-free periods of time.
Solicitation and distribution by non-employees on Company property is strictly prohibited.
Watco Companies understands that personal problems such as alcohol, drug abuse, physical/emotional illness, family/marital conflict, financial and legal stress can create difficulties on the job as well as cause hardship at home. Therefore, we offer confidential assessment, evaluation, short term counseling and referral service to all employees and family members through the Employee Assistance Plan. Please contact your supervisor or Human Resources for further information. Participation in our employee assistance plan does not excuse employees from complying with normal Company policies or from meeting normal job requirements during or after receiving assistance. Nor will participation in our employee assistance plan prevent the Company from taking disciplinary action against any employee for performance problems that occur before or after the employee’s seeking assistance through the program.
It is the policy of Watco Companies that employees should always be able to address their workplace concerns to supervision and management informally. However, when necessary, an employee has an opportunity to present their work-related complaints and to appeal management decisions through a dispute resolution procedure. The Company will attempt to resolve promptly all disputes that are appropriate for handling under this policy.
Appropriate disputes are defined as;
If you feel you have a problem, you should follow the procedure outlined below:
Final decisions on disputes will not be precedent setting or binding on future disputes unless they are officially stated as Company policy. This policy does not alter the employment-at-will relationship in any way.
You are encouraged to consult with your supervisor, manager, or Human Resource department on a less formal basis regarding employee complaints or disputes. You will not be penalized for the proper use of the dispute resolution procedure. However, it is not considered proper use if you raise complaints in bad faith or solely for the purposes of delay or harassment or repeatedly raise meritless disputes.
Tardiness - being one (1) minute late (but less than two (2) hours late) reporting to your work area.
Absence is defined as any unpaid leave of two (2) hours or more with the exception of military leave or FMLA leave.
Leaving early - leaving your work area one (1) minute before but less than two (2) hours before the end of your scheduled work period.
Involuntary Separation - An involuntary separation is a termination which has been initiated by the Company.
Voluntary Separation - A voluntary separation occurs when you resign your position, are absent from work three (3) consecutive unreported days, or fail to return from a leave of absence on it’s expiration date.
Salaried exempt - an employee who is not covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Such an employee is not entitled to overtime.
Non-exempt - an employee who is covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Often referred to as an hourly wage position.
Salaried non-exempt - an employee receiving salaried pay and covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This employee must report hours worked.