Code of Conduct Policies

Employee Standards of Conduct

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Code of Conduct

Employee standards of conduct

The standards of conduct section in your employee handbook outline the expectations that all employees are expected to follow while working for your company. It's important to be clear on your company's standards of conduct. These rules and policies clarify what's expected. All parts of the organization must apply these standards consistently

  • Non-Harassment Policy / Non-Discrimination Policy
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Workplace Violence Policy
  • Punctuality and Attendance Policy
  • Personal and Company-Owned Communication Devices Policy
  • Inspections Policy
  • Conflict of Interest and Business Ethics
  • Health and Safety Policy

Non-Harassment Policy / Non-Discrimination Policy

The non-harassment and non-discrimination policies are arguably one of the most important parts of the employee handbook. It needs to be crystal clear, and explicit, and permeate the entire organization from the top down. A consistent focus on organization-wide buy-in, along with taking harassment claims seriously will go a long way to keep your company out of trouble.

[Company name] believes that each of us should be able to work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment. To this end, the company prohibits and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment. This policy applies equally to any form of discrimination or harassment based on any legally protected status under local, state, and/or federal law, including but not limited to sex, race, color, religion, disability, pregnancy, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Harassment is verbal or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate or coerce. It includes verbal taunting (including racial and ethnic slurs) which impairs an employee’s ability to perform their job. Harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • Verbal conduct such as threats, epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs
  • Visual conduct such as derogatory posters, photographs, cartoons, drawings, images, or gestures
  • Physical conduct such as assault, unwanted touching, or blocking normal movement
  • Verbal conduct such as threats, epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs
  • Visual conduct such as derogatory posters, photographs, cartoons, drawings, or gestures; physical conduct such as assault, unwanted touching, or blocking normal movement.

If you feel that you have been subjected to conduct that violates this policy, you should immediately report the matter to your supervisor. If you are unable for any reason to contact this person, or if you have not received a satisfactory response, please contact the next level manager or the Human Resources Manager. Employees are permitted to report the matter directly to Human Resources if preferred.

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Sexual Harassment Policy

Similar to the other anti-harassment policies, this policy is foundational for promoting a no-tolerance stance on sexual harassment. Some states have sexual harassment training requirements. You can learn more about this in our state-by-state guide.

“Sexual Harassment” is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions; (b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or sexually offensive work environment.

Examples of sexual harassment can include but are not limited to asking for sexual favors in exchange for work benefits, the posting of sexually graphic materials, jokes, stories, comments, or innuendoes of a sexual nature, making sexual gestures or expressions, unwanted touching of a person’s clothing or hair, whistling or “catcalls”, staring at someone, or blocking or impeding a person’s path. It is the responsibility of the employee who is subjected to harassment or who witnesses a case of unlawful harassment to report such an incident directly to their supervisor or, if that is not appropriate, to the Human Resources Manager.


Any company employee who feels that they have been harassed or discriminated against, or has witnessed or become aware of discrimination or harassment in violation of these policies, should bring the matter to the immediate attention of their supervisor or the Human Resources Manager. The company will promptly investigate all allegations of discrimination and harassment, and take action as appropriate based on the outcome of the investigation. An investigation and its results will be treated as confidential to the extent feasible, and the company will take appropriate action based on the outcome of the investigation.

There will be no reprisal or retaliation against anyone who reports such an incident as it is unlawful to retaliate against anyone for filing a complaint or for cooperating in an investigation of a harassment complaint. No disciplinary action will be taken without a thorough investigation of the facts, which shall include gathering statements from all parties and witnesses involved.


Employees, contractors, and temporary workers are responsible for complying with this policy by reporting all instances of alleged harassment and cooperating in any investigation of the alleged harassment.

Supervisors and managers are responsible for implementing this policy in their departments, keeping the workplace free from any form of harassment, ensuring that all associates, contractors, and temporary workers understand this policy, taking harassment complaints seriously, and notifying Human Resources immediately about any complaints of sexual or other forms of harassment.

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Workplace Violence Policy

Workplace violence is surprisingly common. Set the standard early with a strong workplace violence policy.

It is [Company name]’s policy that any threats, threatening language, or any other acts of aggression or violence made toward or by any company employee will not be tolerated. Violations of this policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination of employment.

Employees have a duty to warn their supervisors, security personnel, or human resources representatives of any suspicious behavior, situations, or incidents that they observe or are aware of that involve other employees, former employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, or other parties. These situations include, for example, threats or acts of violence, aggressive behavior, offensive acts, threatening or offensive comments or remarks, or similar behavior. Employee reports made according to this policy will be held in confidence to the maximum possible extent. The company will not permit any form of retaliation against any employee for filing a report under this policy.

[Company name] will promptly and thoroughly investigate all reports of threats of violence or incidents of actual violence and suspicious individuals or activities. The identity of the individual making a report will be protected as much as possible. To maintain workplace safety and the integrity of its investigation, the company may suspend employees suspected of workplace violence or threats of violence, either with or without pay, pending investigation.

Anyone found to be responsible for threats of or actual violence or other conduct that violates these guidelines will be subject to prompt disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

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Punctuality and Attendance Policy

This policy is a must for almost all companies. If an employee doesn't show up for work, your clearly defined “no call, no show” policy will provide the company with a clear plan for how to address the issue. It's also helpful to establish your company norms around attendance, lateness, etc.

Scheduled hours may vary depending on work location and job responsibilities. Supervisors will provide employees with their work schedules. Should an employee have any questions regarding their work schedule, the employee should contact the supervisor. The company does not tolerate absenteeism without an excuse. Employees who will be late to or absent from work should notify a supervisor in advance, or as soon as practicable in the event of an emergency. Employees who need to leave early, for illness or otherwise, should inform a supervisor before departure. Unauthorized departures may result in disciplinary action.

Employees are expected to arrive on time and ready for work. An employee who arrives after their scheduled arrival time is considered tardy. The company recognizes that situations arise which hinder punctuality; regardless, excessive tardiness is prohibited and may be subject to disciplinary action.

An employee who fails to report for their scheduled workday and has not notified their supervisor of their tardiness or absence within the first two hours of their scheduled shift will be considered a No Call No Show (NCNS). Two consecutive NCNSs are considered job abandonment and will be designated as a voluntary resignation of employment. In the case of job abandonment, the employee’s final date of employment for purposes of payroll and welfare benefits will be their last day worked.

We do recognize that there are times when absences and tardiness cannot be avoided. In such cases, you are expected to notify your supervisor as early as possible, but no later than the start of your workday. Asking another employee, friend, or relative to give this notice is improper and constitutes grounds for disciplinary action, unless unavoidable. Please call, stating the nature of your absence and its expected duration, every day that you are absent.

The company reserves the right to require reasonable proof of illness or temporary disability. Excessive absences or tardiness will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

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Personal and Company-Owned Communication Devices Policy

There are a couple of benefits to having a policy that sets expectations around devices, connecting to the company networks, and communications. An important callout here is that it's important to set expectations around the privacy of employee communication as they relate to work. Your employees should be aware that company emails and other communications may not be private.

The purpose of this policy is to define standards, procedures, and restrictions for end-users who have legitimate business uses for connecting a personally-owned mobile device to the company’s corporate network. This mobile device policy applies, but is not limited, to all devices and accompanying media that fit the following classifications:

  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Portable media devices
  • Portable gaming devices
  • Laptop/notebook computers
  • Any mobile device capable of storing corporate data and connecting to a network

The policy applies to any hardware and related software that is not corporately owned or supplied but could be used to access corporate resources. That is, devices that employees have purchased for personal use but also wish to use in the business environment. The overriding goal of this policy is to protect the integrity of the confidential client and business data that resides within the company’s technology infrastructure. This policy intends to prevent this data from being deliberately or inadvertently stored insecurely on a mobile device or carried over an insecure network where it could potentially be accessed by unsanctioned resources. A breach of this type could result in loss of information, damage to critical applications, loss of revenue, and damage to the company’s public image. Therefore, all users employing a mobile device connected to the company’s corporate network, and/or capable of backing up, storing, or otherwise accessing corporate data of any type, must adhere to company-defined processes for doing so. For approval and further information, contact your supervisor.

Company-Provided Portable Communication Devices (PCDs), including cell phones, tablets, and computers, should be used primarily for business purposes. Employees have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding the use of such devices, and all use is subject to monitoring, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. This includes, as permitted by law, the right to monitor personal communications as necessary. Some employees may be authorized to use their PCD for business purposes. These employees should work with the IT department to configure their PCD for business use. Communications sent via a personal PCD also may be subject to monitoring if sent through the company's networks, and the PCD must be provided for inspection and review upon request. When sending a text message or using a PCD for business purposes, whether it is a company-provided or personal device, employees must comply with applicable company guidelines, including policies on sexual harassment, discrimination, conduct, confidentiality, equipment use, and operation of vehicles.

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Inspections Policy

Although an inspection policy doesn't give you a license to break any state laws (for example, searching an employee's car at work may be problematic), an inspection policy helps provide the framework for keeping your workplace safe, and free of weapons, drugs, or other prohibited items.

[COMPANY NAME] wishes to maintain a work environment that is free of illegal drugs, alcohol, firearms, explosives, or other improper materials. To this end, [COMPANY NAME] prohibits the control, possession, transfer, sale, or use of such materials on its premises. The company may require employees while on company or client property, to agree to the inspection of their persons, personal possessions, property, and work areas including vehicles, desks, cabinets, workstations, packages, handbags, briefcases, and other personal possessions or places of concealment, as well as a personal email sent to the company or its clients. The cooperation of all employees is required to successfully administer this policy. Desks, lockers, and other storage devices may be provided for the convenience of employees but remain the sole property of the employer. Accordingly, any authorized agent or representative of the employer can inspect them, as well as any articles found within them, at any time, either with or without prior notice. Employees are expected to cooperate in the conduct of any search or inspection.

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Conflict of Interest and Business Ethics

A solid ethics and conflict of interest policy in your handbook should prompt your employees to raise potentially harmful with the company before they occur. A general ethics policy also helps establish what's expected from your team.

All active employees must notify the company before they take outside employment so that the company will have reasonable notice to decide whether it sees, at that time, any conflict of interest. An employee may hold a job with another organization as long as they satisfactorily perform their job responsibilities with the company, including scheduling requirements, and that the position is approved in advance. Employees should consider the impact that outside employment may have on their health and physical endurance and safety. All employees will be judged by the same performance standards and will be subject to the employer's scheduling demands, regardless of any existing outside work requirements. The company retains the right to prohibit second jobs if it considers them to be a safety exposure.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the company's reputation is not compromised. The fundamental principle guiding this policy is that no employee should have, or appear to have, personal interests or relationships that actually or potentially conflict with the best interests of the company.

Employees have an obligation to conduct business within guidelines that prohibit actual or potential conflicts of interest. Employees can seek further clarification on issues related to the subject of acceptable standards of operation. Situations that would constitute a conflict in most cases include but are not limited to:

  • Transactions with outside firms that are not conducted within a framework established or controlled by the executive level of the organization.
  • Bribes, bonuses, fringe benefits, unusual price breaks, or excess volumes are designed to benefit another company, an employee, a relative, or an acquaintance.
  • Holding an interest in, or being employed by, any company that competes with [Company name].

No "presumption of guilt" is created by the mere existence of a relationship with outside personnel. However, if an employee has any influence on transactions involving purchases, contracts, or leases, they must disclose to an officer of the organization as soon as possible the existence of any actual or potential conflict of interest so that safeguards can be established to protect all parties. A conflict of interest would also exist when a member of an employee's immediate family is involved in situations such as those above.

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Health and Safety Policy

Health and safety policies vary widely based on the industry you're working in. A health and safety policy in an office will vary greatly from a manufacturer. They're an important part of any employee handbook and should be a part of every company's culture. A key element of a Health and safety policy is reporting. Make sure you state clearly that employees have a duty to report unsafe conditions, damaged equipment, etc.

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