Utilities Kingston Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct identifies and establishes expectations for every employee to ensure we maintain the organization's good reputation as well as maintaining the respect of our co-workers, customers and stakeholders.

We are each expected to meet the requirements of this Code and to also use our own sense of good judgment in situations that may not be covered in this Code. If ever in doubt on how to handle a situation, contact your Manager or Leader for guidance.

Our Values

How we behave toward co-workers and those outside of Utilities Kingston tells a great deal about the values of our company. It is important that we build and maintain relationships with co-workers based on trust, honesty and mutual respect and that we behave professionally and respectfully towards fellow employees, stakeholders and the general public.

Working with employees throughout the organization we have clarified the things that we can do that will demonstrate our values.

  • Honest: To be honest means that we clearly identify the problem, tell the truth, take responsibility for our actions and use resources (time, money, tools, and equipment) wisely.
  • Motivated: To be motivated means that we have a positive attitude, demonstrate a willingness to learn, offer constructive suggestions, recognize accomplishments, and give and share credit where credit is due.
  • Respectful: To be respectful means that we listen to others, have a right to have our ideas heard, recognize that we each have a valued role in the organization. share our knowledge and expertise, demonstrate professionalism, are courteous and considerate, and maintain confidentiality.
  • Reliable: To be reliable means that we use our time efficiently, are dependable, make sure the job gets done, offer solutions to the problems that we identify, and perform quality work that meets expectations.


Professional Behaviour

It is important that our actions represent professional behaviour during working hours and at anytime that we are in a Utilities Kingston uniform or utilizing a Utilities Kingston vehicle.


Work Performance

As employees, we take accountability for our work and for our results. We are committed to giving our full effort in everything we do. We recognize that we must continue to seek new ways to be more effective and efficient. We expect our supervisors to set clear expectations and to provide appropriate support and timely feedback on how we have done. We expect a work environment in which suggestions for improvement are welcomed and implemented where appropriate.


Conflicts of Interest

We avoid any situation where our personal interest interferes in any way or even appears to interfere with the interests of Utilities Kingston or of the making of decisions with honesty and integrity.

There are three broad guidelines for avoiding conflicts of interest:

  • Any business decision is to be based on merit and made strictly in the best interests of the corporation;
  • No personal benefits, whether direct or indirect are to be derived for ourselves, family members or friends as a result of reaching business decisions and
  • We are to avoid any situation that may create a conflict of interest between our personal interests and those of Utilities Kingston.


Outside Activities

Employees have a right to personal freedom outside of working hours; however, employees should take care to ensure that activities outside of work do not conflict with corporate activities. Some examples include:

  • Employees should not act as directors, officers or employees of any organization that supplies goods or services to Utilities Kingston.
  • That we do not engage in non-Utilities Kingston work activities on company time.
  • That we do not use Utilities Kingston tools or equipment to complete work for others unless you have been specifically authorized to do so.
  • That we do not promote any non-Utilities Kingston product or service on company time.

Employees who perform volunteer activities are required to inform their Manager of such affiliation if the work involves time away from their position with Utilities Kingston


Treatment of Others

We treat customers, clients, suppliers, and colleagues with dignity and respect. We do not tolerate personal harassment, including behaviour that demeans, threatens, or humiliates a person or group of people. We do not tolerate sexual or racial harassment or discrimination. We do not tolerate inappropriate comments with respect to race, religion, sexual orientation or gender, even if not directed at a particular employee.


Criminal and Other Charges

If you are convicted of a violation of Canadian laws, regulations or statutes and a conviction could affect your ability to carry out the duties of your position, you must inform your Manager immediately. Similarly, if you are charged with such a violation and the charge itself affects your ability to carry out the duties of your position (e.g. your drivers' license was suspended and you drive as part of your job) you must inform your Manager immediately.


Gifts, Hospitality or Other Benefits

During the period of vendor selection, no gifts, hospitality or other benefits should be accepted. Once the vendor selection process is complete, gifts hospitality and benefits offered as result of your employment can be accepted if:

  • The offering is considered a 'normal' expression of courtesy (e.g., a lunch during a meeting). Your supervisor must be advised if you have received a gift with a value of greater than $50 (excluding meals) and,
  • There is no suspicion that the offering has been made to influence your judgment or how you would perform your job.

If the gift or hospitality will result in an absence from work, a request for absence must be submitted. In some cases, you may be requested to take the time as vacation.

If you believe a gift is not appropriate and you are unable to decline it, inform your immediate supervisor. If you are in doubt about a gift, contact your immediate supervisor.

Before approaching suppliers for donations or prizes for Utilities Kingston sponsored social events, you should consult with the President and CEO.

In reviewing this Code of Conduct, you are reminded that the corporation reserves the right to vary, revoke or amend any of its terms as is required by the needs of the business. This Code constitutes a term of your employment contract.


Progressive Discipline

Utilities Kingston is responsible for establishing reasonable rules and regulations governing the conduct of its employees and has the right to take disciplinary action if the rules are broken.

Progressive discipline provides employees with an appropriate opportunity to correct undesirable conduct and performance through the disciplinary process. A penalty for misconduct or unsatisfactory performance will be determined based on the seriousness of the Behaviour that led to the discipline, as well as the employee's prior disciplinary record. Increasingly severe measures will be imposed where an employee fails to correct a problem after being given a reasonable opportunity to do so. The guiding principle is to use the least severe disciplinary action that will correct the undesirable situation and also maintain a working relationship that meets the employer's standards of conduct and performance. Serious misconduct, however, may result in dismissal without prior discipline.

There are four main types of disciplinary action that may be taken by management. These include:

  • Verbal warning
  • Written warning
  • Suspension without pay
  • Dismissal

Prior to imposing any disciplinary action, managers should consult with the Vice President or Human Resources.

The manager has the option of informally advising/counseling the employee about the inappropriate conduct. The intent is therefore to bring the problem to the employee's attention before it becomes necessary to take any of the formal disciplinary steps outlined above. Any discipline will be documented and placed in the employee's personnel file; both the employee and the Union will be advised when a document is placed on the personnel file.

The list below provides examples of conduct that may be subject to progressive discipline. As judgment is required in undertaking disciplinary actions, the lists are provided as examples only and disciplinary actions are not limited only to the items indicated. The disciplinary action in a particular case may vary depending on the facts and circumstances. As well, in cases of serious or cumulative misconduct, any of the levels of disciplinary actions may be skipped.

The progressive discipline process does not apply to probationary employees.

Examples of Group One Behaviours
First occurrence - Verbal warning

  • Absence from duty without advising the supervisor.
  • Unauthorized leaving of the designated work area at any time without permission from the supervisor.
  • Repeated late arrival.
  • Failure to take the most effective route between work locations.
  • Creating unsanitary or unsafe conditions in the workplace.
  • Failure to immediately report any personal injury or equipment damage.
  • Violation of the smoking policy (No smoking in any company building or vehicle).
  • Unacceptable quality or quantity of work.
  • Insubordinate behaviour.
  • Inappropriate or unprofessional comments to customers.

Examples of Group Two Behaviours
First occurrence - Written warning

  • Wilful disregard for work procedures or safety rules.
  • Reporting to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Using abusive or threatening language.

Examples of Group Three Behaviours
First occurrence - Suspension without pay or dismissal

  • Providing false information with respect to WSIB claims, sick leave, submission of travel expense, overtime or incident investigations.
  • Theft.
  • Borrowing or other use of equipment or property without proper authorization.
  • Damage or wilful destruction of property belonging to the corporation, employees or customers.
  • Physical violence toward another individual.
  • Harassment of another employee