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Professional Employment Guidelines (1988)
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Professional Employment Guidelines
American Chemical Society
1155 Sixteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
This is the fourth edition of the Professional Employment Guidelines of the American Chemical Society. Like previous editions, these Guidelines were prepared by the Council Committee on Professional Relations, approved by the Council, and adopted by the Board of Directors of the ACS.
The Guidelines embody a broad spectrum of recommended practices in employment for both professional scientists and their employers. They are divided into four major sections: Terms of Employment, Employment Environment, Professional Development, Termination Conditions. The ACS "Definition of a Chemist" and "The Chemist's Creed" are included for reference at the end.
The history of these Guidelines dates back to 1939 when the Committee on Professional Status prepared a report for the Council on employment rights and responsibilities of professional scientists, "Employer-Employee Legal Relationships." Employer treatment of scientists as professionals was dealt with in an article in Chemical & Engineering News in 1945, "Responsibilities of Employers to Professional Employees." "The Chemists Creed" (1965) provides a guide to ethics for members of the chemical profession.
In the early 1970s, the Committee recognized that written standards were needed to assist employers in understanding the interests of scientists. Parallel standards were developed for employees in the chemical profession, leading to the first edition(1) of these Guidelines in 1975. The second edition(2), in 1978, incorporated sections directed to the special needs of chemists employed in academic institutions. The third edition(3), in 1983, added emphasis on professional treatment of employed chemists. In this edition, effort has been made to reorganize the earlier editions and to emphasize the ethical obligations of scientists and employers with reference to hazardous materials and the environment.
It is the intention of the Committee to prepare a separate set of Guidelines to deal with the relationships between graduate students and their employers.
As with all documents which seek to provide guidance for relationships between individuals and organizations, the Guidelines must change with changing times. The Committee undertakes to carry this out at approximately five-year intervals.
The American Chemical Society, as the world's largest association of professional scientists, has the opportunity
to set an example for all. It is the Committee's hope that these Guidelines truly represent a fair and equitable balance between employer and professional employee and that they will be implemented and observed as fully as possible.
1. First Edition:
Approved by the Council and adopted by the Board of Directors, April 19, 1975.
2. Second Edition: Approved by the Council, March 15, 1978, and adopted by the Board of Directors, June 10, 1978.
3. Third Edition: Approved by the Council, August 31, 1983, and adopted by the Board of Directors, September 23, 1983.
4. Fourth Edition:
Approved by the Council, September 28, 1988, and adopted by the Board of Directors, December 11, 1988.
Professional Employment Guidelines
Prepared by the Council Committee on Professional Relations
American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society seeks to enhance the professional security, productivity, and economic status of chemists*, and the health of institutions that employ them, by the delineation of preferred employment practices. These Guidelines recommend practices for individual chemists and their employers that will foster a more satisfactory working relationship. The Society endorses the application of these Guidelines to all professional employment.
I. Terms of Employment
C1. The prospective employee should apply only for positions in which there is a serious interest, a belief that the job qualifications are met, and a willingness to consider acceptance of an employment offer. The prospective employee should forthrightly and accurately provide all appropriate requested background information, including qualifications and interests, so that the employment candidacy may be accurately evaluated.
C2. Any interview expenses to be reimbursed by the prospective employer should be reported accurately. If more than one employer is visited on an interview trip, expenses should be prorated fairly.
C3. The chemist should inform a new employer of previous employment agreements and should exclude trade secrets or proprietary information of previous employers from new employment agreements. The chemist should not seek or accept employment on the basis of using or divulging any trade secrets or proprietary information.
C4. The chemist should disclose in a timely fashion and convey title to all inventions to the employer if: the employer provides space, time, labor, or equipment in pursuit of the invention; or the invention involves a product or process of the employer; or the invention relates directly to the business of the employer. The chemist should submit any material to be published that involves work done as an employee to the employer and where appropriate assign copyright.
C5. The chemist is obligated to honor an offer of employment which has been accepted, unless formally released after giving adequate notice of intent. All of these obligations should be made in writing.
C6. The chemist should not use the funds or facilities of a current employer for the purpose of seeking new employment without approval.
El. Employment, compensation, and advancement should be based upon professional competence and performance, without regard to sex, race, religion, age, physical handicap, or any other factor that is not relevant to the job.
E2. An employer should accurately describe an available position with a complete and candid disclosure of the qualifications required and the employment environment.
E3. Conditions of employment should be described fully to the prospective employee. A written statement of these conditions, including a copy of the employment contract or agreement, should be supplied to the chemist at the time an employment offer is made. Special conditions for the continuation of employment, such as temporary funding or outside contracts, should be specified. A written statement of termination policy should also be made available to the candidate at the time the employment offer is made.
E4. The employer has an obligation to respond in a timely fashion to correspondence from the chemist, including acknowledgment of receipt of documents needed for proper consideration of the applicant. The employer is obligated to honor a written and accepted offer of a position. If unable to honor it, the employer should provide the chemist with equitable reparation.
E5. Legal obligations of the chemist to the employer should be set forth clearly in an employment agreement. The employer should not assert title to inventions that: were developed on the employee's own time; and did not involve equipment, facilities, supervision, or trade secrets of the employer; and do not relate directly to the business of the employer. The employer should not assert copyright to an employee's work that is performed outside the scope of the employee's duties. The employer should transfer patent rights to the employee when the employer has no continuing interest in an invention and has received a full disclosure of the invention and a written request for release.
E6. Sound indirect compensation programs should be provided to include, among other items, health, disability, and life insurance, sick leave, paid holidays and vacations, and a retirement plan. Indirect compensation plans should be fully specified in writing when an employment offer is extended.
E7. All professional employees should be vested in the employer's pension plan, including provisions for survivor benefits, after a maximum of five years of employment. The employer should devise a schedule for partial vesting for employees with less than five years' service. All vested funds should be fully portable.
E8. A retirement plan should be offered which has an element of portability and which is structured so that the employer-provided pension, combined with social security and savings by the employee, will permit continuation of the employee's pre-retirement lifestyle. The fund that supports the plan should not revert to the employer until vested employee interests have been met. Employers should regularly adjust pension payments and benefits to retirees to reflect changes in the cost of living.
E9. Regular part-time and temporary employees should be provided with adjusted indirect compensation programs that are at least proportional to the programs for full-time employees.
E10. The employer should notify employees, in writing, of the employer's policy of professional liability.
Ell. The employer should recognize that at times during the chemist's employment, family or professional responsibilities may necessitate special arrangements, such as the granting of personal leaves, flexible working schedules, and part-time employment. The chemist should be informed at the time of employment that these considerations are available and negotiable.
E12. In the event that a company or institution is purchased by or merged with another, an employee's years of service should be calculated from the date employed by the initial company or institution.
II. Employment Environment
C1. The chemist should perform assignments diligently, honestly, and judiciously, utilizing creative and resourceful ideas for the benefit of the employer. The chemist should be responsive to changes in the employer's business and research objectives.
C2. The chemist should strive to foster a stimulating and productive work atmosphere.
C3. The chemist should respect and maintain the confidentiality of the employer's trade secrets and proprietary information.
C4. The chemist should solicit and actively participate in regular performance reviews.
C5. The chemist should use all necessary safety procedures and should inform the employer of any hazards or unnecessary exposures to chemicals in the environment.
C6. The chemist should not use drugs, legal or illegal, in such a way as to endanger others or adversely affect professional performance in the workplace.
C7. The chemist should strive to insure that products and processes are adequately tested and that potential hazards to human health or the environment, including air emissions, water effluents, and discharges to land, are properly identified. The chemist should inform the employer of measures that might reduce environmental risks.
C8. During a period of an enforced work stoppage occurring on the premises, the chemist should perform usual professional duties, if circumstances permit.
El. The employer should maintain conditions that will enable the chemist to make the best professional contributions.
E2. The employer should provide physical facilities that enable the chemist to work safely and efficiently. New personnel should be instructed in the proper handling of material and equipment to minimize risks of personal injury. Continuing environmental studies should be conducted to assure the health and safety of both workers and the surrounding community.
E3. The employer should assure that required working hours normally leave the chemist adequate time for study and personal responsibilities.
E4. Management should periodically review each chemist's aptitude and professional growth and, within the framework of job requirements, make assignments to utilize these capabilities. If an arrangement is not mutually beneficial, an appropriate reassignment should be made.
E5. The employer should inform the chemist, insofar as practical, of current and future organizational business and research objectives which will have an impact upon the chemist's work or career.
E6. In the event that the employer requests relocation of a chemist, all relocation costs should be the responsibility of the employer.
E7. The employer should strive to insure that products and processes are adequately tested and that potential hazards to human health or the environment, including air emissions, water effluents, and discharges to land, are properly identified to the public.
E8. Performance reviews should be made on a regular basis, at least annually. Confidential written records of such reviews should be employee-attested and maintained by both the employer and the employee. The employer has the responsibility to discuss fully and promptly with the chemist any unacceptable performance or ineptitude, and to document the results of this review. The chemist should be advised of means to meet the employer's standards and should be given reasonable time and assistance to meet those standards.
E9. The performance review should be a thorough, objective evaluation of performance, without regard to sex, race, religion, age, physical handicap, or any factor which is not relevant to the job.
E10. Judgment of the chemist's professional performance should be rendered by a supervisor who is also a professional peer. Additionally, the supervisor should consider the evaluation of the chemist's professional performance by other professional peers.
Ell. Meritorious performance should be rewarded by financial compensation. Increasing levels of skill and responsibility should be rewarded by professional advancement. The employer should establish recognition programs for employed inventors. Extraordinary contributions to patentable inventions, trade secrets, or know-how should be compensated by specific rewards commensurate with the value of the contributions to the employer.
E12. Dual ladders of advancement for chemical supervisors and chemists should be provided and should be realistic. Financial rewards for individuals at the same level should be comparable.
E13. Both managerial and technical contributions should be considered as essential to the success of the organizational effort. Appropriate economic data and financial and business documents pertinent to the chemist's technical effort should be provided.
E14. The chemist should be permitted to interact with other professionals in the field so as to enhance the individual chemist's capabilities. In the event of scientific controversy, it is recognized that the chemist should act as an individual scientist and not necessarily as a representative of the employer.
E15. The employer should not inhibit the movement of a chemist from one organization to another, even a competitor, through the use of contractual obligations not to compete, or claims to subsequently conceived inventions. Competing employers should not hire chemists for assignments to projects that could compromise professional ethics through the use of trade secrets or information.
E16. The academic employer should observe the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges.
E17. The employer should not require the chemist to perform involuntarily other than professional duties during any enforced work stoppage occurring on the premises.
III. Professional Development
C1. The chemist is responsible for maintaining technical competence and for self-development through continuing education. The chemist should support and participate in the activities of appropriate technical societies to enhance professional growth.
C2. The chemist should serve the public by using professional specialized knowledge while participating in civic and political activities. Such participation, however, should be undertaken solely as a responsibility of the individual, without involving the employer.
C3. The chemist should give proper credit to all colleagues who contribute to technical accomplishments.
C4. It is the responsibility of the chemist to obtain appropriate approvals from the employer before submitting work for publication or presenting findings at scientific meetings.
El. The chemist should, as a matter of policy, be encouraged to attend meetings and to undertake formal courses of study that will enable the individual to maintain scientific competence.
E2. The chemist should be encouraged and given the opportunity to publish work in scientific journals and to present findings at scientific meetings.
E3. The chemist should be given an opportunity to participate in professional and scientific society affairs. The chemist should be allowed sufficient time, consistent with the performance of regular duties, to carry out responsibilities in such organizations.
E4. The employer should permit reasonable leaves of absence, preferably compensated, for professional study to maintain or improve scientific knowledge throughout a chemist's career.
E5. The employer should encourage self-development by providing reasonable financial assistance to employees who wish to further their education related to present or potential organizational assignments or to obtain an academic degree related to such assignments.
E6. The employer should respect the right of the chemist to participate as an individual in political and community activities.
IV. Termination Conditions
C1. The chemist who intends to terminate employment should notify the employer in writing and provide a minimum advance notice of four weeks.
C2. The terminating chemist should assist the employer to maintain a continuity of function.
C3. The terminating chemist should provide the employer with adequate records of technical work that has been done, including publications, invention disclosures, and other related documentation, and also arrange for disposition of chemicals and other materials which will no longer be required.
El. The employer should, by appropriate planning, provide stability of employment and avoid multiple terminations.
E2. If, despite the above Guideline, an employer reorganizes operations involving chemists, every effort should be made to transfer affected chemists to other suitable positions within the organization. Appropriate additional training and education should be provided to facilitate such transfer. If no other positions are available, the chemist should be given assistance in finding employment elsewhere, including offering training and education in new areas of chemistry.
E3. If terminations are necessitated, the provisions of these Guidelines should apply to all chemists, including those whose employment is contingent on the continuation of contracts.
E4. No chemist having a minimum of 10 years' total service should be terminated except for continuing evidence of previously documented inadequate performance or for cause.
E5. No chemist should be terminated for inadequate performance or for cause without documented evidence. This evidence should be reviewed by two levels of management above the immediate supervisor, provided such levels exist. In the case of alleged inadequate performance, the opinion of appropriate professional peers should also be sought and considered.
E6. An academic chemist, regardless of tenure status, who is dismissed during a contract period or whose contract is not renewed at a contract anniversary, should be accorded full academic due process.
E7. Any chemist who is terminated for reasons other than cause should be notified in writing and be given a minimum of four weeks' advance notice. The written termination notice should contain the specific date of termination.
E8. For academic chemists, termination notices should be given at least three months in advance of the end of the contract for the first year of service, at least six months for the second year, and at least 12 months for the third or later years.
E9. The chemist should receive severance pay consisting of at least two weeks' salary for each year of service, beyond the minimum of four weeks' advance notice and beyond any accrued vacation pay. Additional notice in lieu of severance pay may be provided by mutual consent of both parties. The written advance notice should include details of the status and options for insurance plans and an itemized accounting of monies to be paid.
E10. The employer should value the experience and expertise of the older employee. If the employer seeks to encourage the employee to retire, this should be done without coercion and solely by means of offering an adequate financial incentive. A chemist who is involuntarily forced into retirement should be treated at least as well, with respect to severance pay, notice, etc., as one who has been terminated for economic reasons.
Ell. The employer should continue benefit plans, such as life and disability insurance, medical and dental care plans, for a minimum of one month beyond the termination date, plus accrued vacation time, plus two weeks for each year of employee service, at the same rate of contribution as when the terminee was an employee. The employer should provide an additional 31 grace period.
E12. The employer should follow a policy of offering to rehire those terminated in a retrenchment before similarly qualified employees are recruited.
E13. When an employer rehires a chemist, the employee's years of service and seniority that preceded the interruption should be restored for the purpose of determining service-related benefits.
E14. The employer should notify a terminated employee of rights and status with respect to pertinent patents, planned patent applications, and publications, and provide assurance that the employee's rights in these matters will be protected in the future.
Definition of Multiple Termination
A multiple termination occurs when the employment of three or more chemists or chemical engineers is terminated within a six-month period for reasons other than: 1) continuing evidence of previously documented inadequate performance; 2) completion of a contract, or 3) cause. The academic chemists or chemical engineers must be tenured or in a tenure-leading positions.
Investigation of Unprofessional Conduct
C1. The Committee on Professional Relations will investigate instances of conduct by chemists reported to be in violation of the Professional Employment Guidelines.
C2. The conclusions of the committee will be communicated to the parties involved.
C3. Documented instances of unethical conduct can lead to initiation of proceedings before the Council of the American Chemical Society, in accordance with Article IV, Sec. 3 of the Constitution and Bylaw 1, Sec. 7.
El. The Committee on Professional Relations will investigate instances of conduct by employers reported to be in violation of the Professional Employment Guidelines.
E2. The committee will extend assistance to chemists whom the committee has deemed to have been treated unprofessionally.
E3. Documented unprofessional conduct by an employer can lead to citation before the Council of the American Chemical Society and subsequent publication.
Status of Chemists in Special Categories
A chemist who is in a special employment situation, such as graduate student, postdoctoral, contract, temporary, part-time, or consulting, and who fulfills the ACS "Definition of a Chemist" (below) is to be considered a professional and a "chemist" in applying these Guidelines.
Definition of a Chemist*
A chemist is a professional who possesses an earned bachelor's or higher degree with a major in a chemical science from an accredited institution and who develops, applies, or communicates the principles of chemistry and exercises independent judgment and discretion in conceiving, planning, coordinating, or executing chemical projects or who has experience in so doing.
The chemical sciences deal with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the transformation they undergo.
This statement was formulated for those who need a definition of a chemist for legislative, judicial, or regulatory purposes. It is not related to membership eligibility in any particular scientific or professional society.
Approved by the Council of the American Chemical Society, March 15, 1978, and endorsed by the Board of Directors on June 10, 1978.
The American Chemical Society's Council Committee on Professional Relations uses these Guidelines in conducting programs that include assistance to individual members experiencing professional problems and investigation of multiple terminations involving chemical professionals.
For questions concerning these programs or the Guidelines, contact
American Chemical Society
Office of Professional Services
1155 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
*For brevity the term "chemist" in the Guidelines refers to both chemists and chemical engineers.