Employee Handbook

Section 1 – Welcome

1.1 History, Goals & Culture

Congrats and welcome to Blogs for Brands. We’re an agency made up of the best journalists and media artists in the country. We help brands develop awesome content for social media, blogs, video, print, web, and other platforms.

Our writers write for places like Outside, Backpacker and Gear Junkie. They also write for brands. This office is the design, video and support operation. We create the social media, video, email, and blog imagery among other types of content.
The company was started in 2011, and so far it’s done alright. We hope you can help us become the largest network of brand publications in the world.

1.2 Purpose of this Handbook

This handbook has been prepared to inform new employees of the policies and procedures of this company and to establish the company’s expectations. It is not all-inclusive or intended to provide strict interpretations of our policies; rather, it offers an overview of the work environment.

This handbook is not a contract, expressed or implied, guaranteeing employment for any length of time and is not intended to induce an employee to accept employment with the company.

This company reserves the right to unilaterally revise, suspend, revoke, terminate, or change any of its policies, in whole or in part, whether described within this handbook or elsewhere, in its sole discretion. If any discrepancy between this handbook and current company policy arises, conform to current company policy. Every effort will be made to keep you informed of the company’s policies, however we cannot guarantee that notice of revisions will be provided. Feel free to ask questions about any of the information within this handbook.

1.3 At-Will Employment

Employment at Blogs for Brands is at-will. An at-will employment relationship can be terminated at any time, with or without reason or notice by either the employer or the employee. This at-will employment relationship exists regardless of any statements by office personnel to the contrary. Only Yoon Kim is authorized to modify the at-will nature of the employment relationship, and the modification must be in writing.

Section 2 – Workplace Commitments

2.1 Equal Opportunity Employment

This company is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law. This policy applies to all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, including recruitment, hiring, placement, compensation, promotion, discipline and termination.

Whenever possible, the company makes reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities to the extent required by law. Employees who would like to request a reasonable accommodation should contact [enter authorized person’s name].

2.2 Non-Harassment Policy / Non-Discrimination Policy

This company prohibits discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law. Each individual has the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and is free from discriminatory practices, including without limitation harassment. Consistent with its workplace policy of equal employment opportunity, the company prohibits and will not tolerate harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.

Discrimination includes, but is not limited to: making any employment decision or employment-related action on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, disability, national origin, marital or veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.

Harassment is generally defined as unwelcome verbal or non-verbal conduct, based upon a person’s protected characteristic, that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward the person because of the characteristic, and which affects the person’s employment opportunities or benefits, has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the person’s work performance, or has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets; slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation in the workplace of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group based on their protected characteristic.

By this point in life, you should be familiar with what sexual harassment in the workplace is. Simply put–if you’re in doubt if what you’re doing is harassment or discrimination–just don’t do it. If you feels like you’ve been harassed or discriminated against, or witnessed or become aware of discrimination or harassment in violation of these policies, bring the matter to the immediate attention Yoon Kim or Joy Kim so Blogs for Brands can 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.

No employee will be retaliated against for making a complaint in good faith regarding a violation of these policies, or for participating in good faith in an investigation pursuant to these policies. If an employee feels he/she has been retaliated against, the employee should file a complaint using the procedures set forth above.

2.3 Drug-Free / Alcohol-Free Environment

Do not show up to work high or drunk, or you’ll be terminated. Don’t bring drugs (other than for medical issues) or alcohol to work.

Section 3 – Company Policies and Procedures

3.1 Professional Conduct

Employees should be respectful and mindful of each other. General cooperation between coworkers and supervisors is expected. This means:

  • Do not call your boss “dude”
  • Do not argue with your boss
  • Do not argue with each other
  • If there is a problem, do not gossip with other employees. Address Yoon or Joy privately.

Anyone violating these policies may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

3.2 Payday

Paychecks are distributed every 1st and 15th of the month through Direct Deposit. The paycheck will reflect work performed for the previous pay period. Paychecks include salary or wages earned less any deductions. Deductions include but are not limited to federal or state withholding tax, and other withholdings.

If you do not have a bank account or choose to decline direct deposit, your checks will delivered through mail and will be mailed out on the 1st and 15th, and will arrive to you within 5 business days after that. Notify Thomas Mulcahy if a paycheck appears to be inaccurate or misplaced. The company reserves the right to charge a replacement fee for any lost paychecks. Advances on paychecks are not permitted. Information regarding final paychecks can be found under the termination section of this handbook.

Any change in name, address, telephone number, marital status or number of exemptions claimed by an employee must be reported to Thomas Mulcahy or Yoon Kim immediately.

3.3 Company Property

Company property is for company business unless authorized by Yoon Kim. Company property must be used in the manner for which it was intended. Upon termination, employees are required to surrender any company property they possess.

Blogs for Brands and Yoon Kim’s personal logins are for essential job-related functions only. Sharing of sensitive Blogs for Brands/Yoon Kim information will not be tolerated. Improper use, abuse, or unauthorized disclosure of sensitive account information will be subject to disciplinary action and possible litigation.

Company emails and the corresponding conversations are the intellectual property of Blogs for Brands.

3.4 Privacy

Blogs for Brands has the right to access all company property including desks, file cabinets, storage facilities, emails, Dropbox files, shared files, and folders, electronic or otherwise, at any time. All documents, files, voice-mails, and electronic information, including e-mails and other communications, created, received or maintained on or through company property are the property of the company, not the employee.

Section 4 – Employment Classification

This company assigns positions, determines wages and compensates employees for overtime in accordance with state and local laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

4.1 Exempt Employees

Exempt employees are those that are excluded from the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Exempt employees are paid a salary and are expected to work beyond their normal work hours whenever necessary to accomplish the work of the company. Exempt employees are not eligible to receive overtime compensation. Employees should consult with an administrator if they have questions regarding their classification as an exempt employee.

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides narrow provisions for who qualifies for exempt employee status. Consult the Department of Labor’s website for more information.

4.2 Non-Exempt Employees

Non-exempt employees are those eligible for overtime pay of 1.5 times the regular hourly rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 per work week. All overtime must be approved in advance. Employees should consult with an administrator if they have questions regarding their classification as a non-exempt employee.

The Fair Labor Standards Act limits the employers that must pay overtime wages to employees, to those engaged in “interstate commerce” and other particular types of businesses. Companies should consult an attorney if there is a question about an obligation to pay overtime wages. Companies should also consult state and local law regarding broader overtime coverage than is provided under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. For example, some jurisdictions may require companies to pay overtime for all hours work in a day over 8 hours, rather than using the federal standard of paying overtime for all hours worked over 40 hours in a given work week.

4.3 Part Time, Full Time or Temporary Status

Part-time or full-time status depends on the number of hours per week an employee works. Regular employees who work fewer than 40 hours receive part-time classification. Part-time employees are not eligible for employee benefits as described in this handbook. Regular employees who work at least receive full-time classification.

From time to time the company may hire employees for specific projects or periods of time. Temporary employees may work either part-time or full-time, but generally are scheduled to terminate by a certain date. Temporary employees who remain on duty past the scheduled termination remain classified as temporary. Only Yoon Kim may change an employee’s temporary status. Temporary employees are not eligible for employment benefits.

4.4 Internships

All internships are considered either unpaid internships or temporary employment. Internships terminate at the end of the semester. Depending on performance, an offer will be made for full/part-time employment. Internships are not a guarantee of any part time employment after the internship has completed.

Section 5 – Attendance Policies

5.1 General Attendance

Hours may vary depending on work location and job responsibilities. Should an employee have any questions regarding his/her work schedule, contact the supervisor.

The company does not tolerate absenteeism without excuse. Employees who will be late to or absent from work should notify a supervisor in advance through text message or email to Yoon Kim, or as soon as possible in the event of an emergency. Employees who need to leave early, for illness or otherwise, should inform a supervisor before departure. Unauthorized departures or absenteeism may result in disciplinary action.

5.2 Inclement Weather Policy

Blogs for Brands’ inclement weather policy will follow John Brown University’s. If JBU closes because of inclement weather, work from home. In the event of a work-from-home situation, the employee must be available by G-Chat and phone. This does not include individual class cancellation from individual professors.

5.3 Communication while working from home

While working from home, employees must be on Gchat and be available by phone during the assigned work hours to be considered working. Time clocking will be done manually by alerting your supervisor on slack that the shift has begun.

5.4 Tardiness

Be on time and we’ll be good. Text Yoon Kim if you will be late. Repeated tardiness with or without notice may result in disciplinary action.

5.5 Breaks

If your shift is in the middle of lunch or dinner time, grab food but do not clock those hours. If you prefer to bring lunch, that works just as well. Other breaks–take them when you need them–just keep it in reason.

Section 6 – Leave Policies

6.1 Vacation and Breaks

For part time employees and internships, notify Yoon Kim two weeks before leaving for break (Spring Break, Fall Break, Thanksgiving Break Christmas Break, Summer Break, etc.). Let Yoon know of your schedule so he can accommodate work schedule. Full time employees are allowed two weeks of paid vacation per year.

6.2 Sick Days

It happens. Let Yoon know ASAP when you get sick. Abuse of this policy will result in disciplinary action.

6.3 Holidays

The company observes the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day

6.4 Leave of Absence

If you’re going on break and you want to work during the break or the following semester, let Yoon know ASAP. A pre-approved leave of absence does not guarantee employment upon return, but it is better than quitting and reapplying later.

Section 7 – Work Performance

7.1 Expectations

We have a saying at Blogs for Brands “Move Fast, Break Things.” Ok, that was actually Mark Zuckerberg.

You were brought on because we believe you are top talent. We expect top talent to be able to perform at 90% quality while moving at 110% speed. While speed is definitely more important that perfection in our line of work, we are expecting you to produce quality work at speed. Buckle up and get ready to meet some deadlines.

And yes, chronic slow performance can result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

7.2 Reviews

The first performance review will be held approximately 60 days after employment (9 weeks). The second performance review will be held at 90 days. The goal of a performance review is to identify areas where an employee excels and areas that need improvement. The company uses performance reviews as a tool to determine pay increases, promotions and/or terminations.
Performance reviews are based on merit, achievement and other factors may include but are not limited to:

  • Attitude
  • Speed/Quality of work
  • Teamwork and cooperation
  • Attendance and punctuality

A performance review does not guarantee a pay increase or promotion. Written performance evaluations may be made at any time to advise employees of unacceptable performance. Evaluations or any subsequent change in employment status, position or pay does not alter the employee’s at will-relationship with the company. Forward any questions about performance expectation or evaluation to the supervisor conducting the evaluation.

7.3 Insubordination

Employees are expected to take instruction from supervisors or other persons of authority. Failure to comply with instructions or unreasonably delaying compliance is considered insubordination. Acts of insubordination are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

If an employee disagrees with a supervisor, the employee should first try to mediate the situation by explaining their position. If possible, a compromise might be met and accusations of insubordination avoided.

Section 8 – Discipline Policy

8.1 Grounds for Disciplinary Action

The company reserves the right to discipline and/or terminate any employee who violates company polices, practices or rules of conduct. Poor performance and misconduct are also grounds for discipline or termination. The following actions are unacceptable and considered grounds for disciplinary action. This list is not comprehensive; rather, it is meant merely as an example of the types of conduct that this company does not tolerate. These actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Lying
  • Disparaging or disrespecting supervisors and/or co-workers
  • Insubordination or refusal to comply with directives
  • Failing to adequately perform job responsibilities
  • Excessive or unexcused absenteeism or tardiness
  • Disclosing confidential or proprietary company information without permission
  • Engaging in acts of discrimination or harassment in the workplace
  • Possessing, distributing or being under the influence of illicit controlled substances
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol at work, on company premises, or while engaged in company business
  • Unauthorized use of company property, equipment, devices or assets
  • Damage, destruction, or theft of company property, equipment, devices or assets
  • Removing company property without prior authorization or disseminating company information without authorization
  • Falsification, misrepresentation or omission of information, documents or records
  • Illegal or violent activity
  • Falsifying injury reports or reasons for leave
  • Possessing unauthorized weapons on premises
  • Disregard for safety and security procedures
  • Any other action or conduct that is inconsistent with company policies, procedures, standards or expectations

This list exhibits the types of actions or events that are subject to disciplinary action. It is not intended to indicate every act that could lead to disciplinary action. The company reserves the right to determine the severity and extent of any disciplinary action based on the circumstances of each case.

8.2 Procedures

Disciplinary action is any one of a number of options used to correct unacceptable behavior or actions. Discipline may take the form of oral warnings, written warnings, probation, suspension, demotion, discharge, removal or some other disciplinary action, in no particular order. The course of action will be determined by the company at its sole discretion as it deems appropriate.

8.3 Termination

Employment with the company is on an at-will basis and may be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily at any time.
Upon termination, an employee is required:

  • To continue to work until the last scheduled day of employment;
  • To turn in all reports and paperwork required to be completed by the employee when due and no later than the last day of work;
  • To return all files, documents, equipment, keys, access cards, software, or other property belonging to the company that are in the employee’s possession, custody or control, and turn in all passwords to his/her supervisor;
  • To participate in an exit interview as requested by Yoon Kim

Section 9 – Termination

9.1 Voluntary Termination

The company recognizes that personal situations may arise which require a voluntary termination of employment. Should this occur, the company requests that the employee provide two weeks advance notice in writing. This request does not alter an employee’s at-will relationship with the company.

All rights and privileges of employment with the company terminate upon the date of separation. As further discussed in Section 8.3, terminating employees are required to return all company property assigned to them. Failure to do so may result in the withholding of their final paycheck.

9.2 Final Paycheck

Employees who terminate employment with the company will be given their final paycheck within 10 days. Should the employee be unable to personally retrieve their paycheck, it will be mailed to the address on file.

9.3 Exit Interview

The company may request an exit interview upon notice of termination. The purpose of the exit interview is to complete necessary forms, collect company property and discuss employment experiences with the company.