Section II: Employment Policies
Equal Opprtunity Employer

RFMH is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status, citizenship status, genetic information, or arrest or conviction record.

Affirmative Action

We have established an Affirmative Action program to initiate and promote equal employment opportunities throughout RFMH. As an Affirmative Action Employer, we make every effort to ensure that our workforce represents the diversity of our labor market and that minority group members are given full consideration for development and advancement within our employment structure.

Job Announcements

Because of the limited duration of most RFMH projects, traditional notions of career paths are not applicable to most positions. It is our policy to post employment openings internally for a minimum of three (3) working days before listing them outside RFMH. Internal applications will be considered with the applications received from outside the organization. However, RFMH reserves the right to hire the most qualified applicant.

Open Door Policy

We are committed to providing a positive work environment to enable you to achieve your individual goals. We will treat you as an individual while at the same time encourage working together as a team for the betterment of everyone.


In order to achieve our mutual goals, we strive to maintain a workplace where communication between management and employees is always open and problems of mutual concern may be freely discussed and resolved.


The door is always open to hear your suggestions and address your concerns. We believe that by discussing issues of mutual concern with each other directly, we will continue to maintain the teamwork and cooperation which has contributed to our success over the years.

Employee Personnel File

RFMH Personnel/Payroll Offices regard all personnel records as confidential therefore; you are permitted reasonable access to your personnel file during regular business hours in the presence of a Personnel/Payroll Department employee.


You are responsible for notifying the local Personnel/Payroll Office about changes that occur that may affect your employment records, i.e. moving to a new address, changing your telephone number, changing your name, birth or adoption of a child, marriage or divorce. Incomplete or outdated information could interrupt benefits to you and/or your family or cause difficulty in notifying your family in the case of an emergency.

Workplace Safety

Every accident or injury occurring on the job, regardless of how minor, must be reported to your immediate supervisor as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the incident. If your supervisor is not available, report the incident to your local RFMH Personnel Office or the Safety Department at your work location.


Safety is everyone's responsibility. Please take precautions to use materials and equipment with care and do your part to keep the work site free from hazards. In addition to personal injury, accidents cause downtime and reduced productivity.

All work stations should be kept clean of any hazardous debris.
Inventions and Patents

At the time of your employment, or at a later date during your employment, individually or in consort with others, you may become engaged in research activities involving the use of financial support, facilities, materials or other resources of RFMH or any of the Offices of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene. These research activities may be sponsored and funded by government agencies, (federal, state or municipal) by commercial entities, not -for-profit organizations, or gifts from private individuals.


As a condition of your employment it is expected that you will follow RFMH procedures with regard to discoveries, inventions and improvements to inventions in which you have made an inventive contribution.


During your employment, any questions you may have with regard to your rights or obligations should be addressed to the Managing Director or the Director at the facility at which you are employed.

Sexual and other Harassment


RFMH is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment based on a persons race, creed, sex, age, marital status, disability, religion, national origin, military service, sexual orientation, or arrest/conviction record, consistent with applicable laws.

All employees should respect the rights, opinions and beliefs of others. Harassment of any person because of race, creed, color, sex, age, marital status, disability, religion, national origin, military service, sexual orientation, or arrest/conviction record is strictly prohibited, whether directed at an employee, vendor, or customer. Any such harassment is prohibited by this policy whether or not it also violates the equal employment opportunity laws. This policy applies to all employees, officers, and directors of RFMH, up to and including its president and board of directors.

Sexual Harassment

No one may threaten or imply that an employees submission to or rejection of sexual advances will in any way influence any decision about that employees employment, advancement, duties, compensation, or other terms or conditions of employment. No one may take any personnel action based on an employees submission to or rejection of sexual advances.

No one may subject another employee to any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. This includes both unwelcome physical conduct, such as touching, blocking, staring, making sexual gestures, and making or displaying sexual drawings or photographs, and unwelcome verbal conduct, such as propositions, slurs, insults, jokes, and other sexual comments. An employees conduct will be considered unwelcome and in violation of this policy when the employee knows or should know it is unwelcome to the person subjected to it.

Other Harassment

No one may harass anyone because of that persons race, creed, color, sex, age, marital status, disability, religion, national origin, military service, sexual orientation, or arrest/conviction record. Examples of conduct prohibited by this policy include using racial and ethnic slurs or offensive stereotypes and making jokes about these characteristics.

Making Complaints and Reporting Violations

If you are the victim of harassment, you are requested and encouraged to make a complaint to RFMH. You are not required to complain first to the person who is harassing you. If you prefer, you may complain directly to the supervisor of the harasser, the Director of Human Resources or any other management employee, including the Institute Director, Managing Director or the President.

Similarly, if you observe harassment of another employee, you are requested and encouraged to report this to one of the persons described above. No reprisal, retaliation, or other adverse action will be taken against any employee for making a good faith complaint or report of harassment, or for assisting in good faith in the investigation of any such complaint or report. Any suspected retaliation or intimidation should be reported immediately to one of the persons described above.

Investigation of Complaints and Reports

Any complaint or report of a violation of this policy will promptly and thoroughly be investigated. A thorough investigation can take several weeks in some cases. You may, at any time, ask the person you complained or reported to about the status of the investigation.

Penalties for Violations

RFMH will take prompt disciplinary and remedial action if its investigation shows a violation of this policy. Depending on the circumstances, the disciplinary action may range from a warning to a discharge.

A complaint or report that this policy has been violated is a serious matter. Dishonest complaints or reports are also against our policy, and RFMH will take appropriate disciplinary action if its investigation shows that deliberately dishonest and bad faith accusations have been made.

Additional Information

If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact the Director of Human Resources for additional information.

Substance Abuse Policy

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that any Federal grantee or recipient of a Federal contract of $25,000 or more, certify to each Federal agency that it will use its best efforts to maintain a drug free workplace in accordance with the provisions of the act. The policy adopted and contained herein is in addition to any RFMH policies currently in effect.

Who is covered: This policy covers any individual contributing efforts to any RFMH project or activity. The status of such individual may be that of an RFMH employee, agent of RFMH such as non-RFMH salaried investigators, or a student or trainee receiving salary from another source, but whose project is being supervised through RFMH.

What is covered: The unlawful use, possession, manufacture, dispensation or distribution of a controlled substance, as defined in Federal statute or regulation (21 USC812 and 21 CFR 1300.11 -1300.15) while in the workplace or while performing work related duties at any site outside of the workplace is prohibited and subject to criminal, civil and disciplinary actions.

Reporting Requirements: The law requires that if you are convicted of a violation of Federal or State drug laws that you must report the conviction in writing to your supervisor and to the RFMH Personnel/Payroll Office within five (5) days of such conviction. The law further requires that RFMH report such convictions to the Federal granting or contracting agency in those cases where the conviction results from crimes committed while performing services on a Federal grant or contract.

Disciplinary Action: The failure to report a conviction is grounds for immediate dismissal from RFMH employment. A conviction of drug abuse by employees of RFMH may be considered grounds for dismissal. The conviction of agents performing services for RFMH will be grounds for immediate revocation of rights and privileges with regard to participation in projects and activities of RFMH. In addition, RFMH will notify the agents employer, and he or she may be subject to further disciplinary action by such employer. The conviction of students and/or trainees will be treated in the same matter as agents.

In the case of a first conviction, RFMH, as an alternative to immediate dismissal, may require that the employee or agent enter into and satisfactorily complete a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program. Information as to organizations providing such programs will be furnished. RFMH will not itself provide, nor will it be responsible for the cost of such services. A second conviction will result in dismissal.

In addition, due to the specific circumstances of certain research projects drug testing may be required. You will be notified of any routine testing program specific to your department.

Smoke Free Workplace

In consideration of our employees ' health, and for the safety of our work environment, RFMH is a smoke-free workplace.


Employees smoking outside of the buildings are required to follow each individual locations posted smoking rules.

Conflict of Interest

It is important that all the activities you engage in, both personally and professionally, are free of conflict (actual or apparent) with your responsibilities and obligations as an employee or representative of RFMH. No officer, employee or any person representing or acting on behalf of RFMH shall:  

  1. Accept other employment or engage in business or professional activities which will impair their independence of judgment in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities or otherwise impair their ability to carry out their obligations and responsibilities.
  2. Accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity which will require them to disclose confidential information which they have gained by reason of their position.
  3. Disclose confidential information acquired by them in the course of their duties, except as required by law, or use such information to further their personal interests, unless such information has previously been made public.
  4. Use or attempt to use their position to secure privileges for themselves or others.
  5. Engage in any transaction with any business entity in which they have a direct or indirect financial interest.
  6. By their conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence them or unduly enjoy their favor in the performance of their duties, or that you are affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.
  7. Hire, transfer, or promote a relative to a position where they have influence over any of the following: employment, performance review, salary administration, promotion, or other employment-related decisions without the approval of your Institute Director or the Managing Director of RFMH. For the purpose of this policy, relatives include, but are not limited to: spouse, spousal equivalents, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and relatives by marriage (in-laws) and anyone living in the same household as a family member (RFMH Policy on Nepotism can be obtained from your Payroll/Personnel Office).
  8. Make personal investments in enterprises which they have reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by them or which will otherwise create conflict between their duties in the best interest of RFMH and their private interest.
  9. Pursue a course of conduct which will reasonably raise suspicion that they are likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of their trust.

Disclosure: Actual or potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed to your Institute Director or to the Managing Director of RFMH. The disclosure will be reviewed and a determination made as to whether there is a violation of this policy or whether a plan must be put in place to manage the conflict. In order to comply with regulations issued by various Federal sponsors (Public Health Service, National Science Foundation and Food and Drug Administration) RFMH has adopted a Policy on Disclosure of Significant Financial Interest and a Policy on Disclosure of Significant Financial Interest for Clinical Research which require disclosures for certain personnel involved in these studies. Please see your Payroll/Personnel Office for a copy of these policies and procedures for disclosure.

Reports and Questions: We strongly encourage you to seek the advice of your Personnel/Payroll Office whenever you have any questions regarding an actual or potential conflict. All reports of possible violations of the Conflict of Interest Statement shall be immediately reported to your Institute Director or the Managing Director of RFMH.

Violations: In addition to any penalty contained in any provision of law, anyone who knowingly and intentionally violates any of the preceding provisions may be suspended from employment with RFMH or their relationship with RFMH may be terminated. Any officer or employee of RFMH convicted of a felony may be subject to dismissal. The felony need not arise out of the course of RFMH employment in order for this penalty to be invoked.

Violence in our Workplace

RFMH is committed to providing a workplace for our employees that is healthy and safe. The Company will not tolerate acts or threatened acts of violence by employees or non-employees in our facilities or on our property.

Employees and non-employees are prohibited from bringing guns or other weapons onto our property, including, but not limited to, weapons in vehicles in the parking lots. Violations of this policy will subject employees to discipline up to and including termination. If a non-employee enters our workplace carrying a weapon the authorities will be called immediately.

Whistleblower Policy

The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene requires directors, officers, employees and others performing services for RFMH to observe high standards of business, professional and personal ethics, practice honesty and integrity, and comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. 

It is the responsibility of all directors, officers and employees to report any activity, policy or practice that the person reasonably believes is an illegal, unethical or other inappropriate activity(1).  No director, officer or employee who in good faith reports such an activity shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence as a result of such report.  This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable persons to raise serious concerns and to do so within RFMH prior to seeking resolution outside RFMH.

RFMH has an open door policy and encourages good faith reporting to provide RFMH with the ability to investigate, correct and take other appropriate actions.  Reports must be made to the RFMH Central Office Director of Human Resources or to the President of the RFMH Board of Directors. They may be contacted at:

Theresa Conlin, Director of Human Resources
Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
150 Broadway, Suite 301
Menands, NY 12204

Abel Lajtha, Ph.D., President
RFMH Board of Directors
Nathan Kline Institute
140 Old Orangeburg Road
Orangeburg, NY 10962

Reports will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the findings of the investigation.

Anyone filing a complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information is reliable.  Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be cause for disciplinary action.

When a concern or complaint relates to corporate accounting practices, internal controls or auditing the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors will be notified and will provide oversight of the investigation, plan of corrective action and other actions taken by RFMH in responding to the concern or complaint.

Reports should be made in writing and may be made on a confidential basis by the complainant. Reports will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation and take corrective actions.

(1) This policy is in addition to the RFMH Grievance Policy and procedures which apply when an employee believes that a work related problem is not being adequately addressed by the supervisor.

Dress Code Policy

In order for RFMH to project a professional image within the corporate environment and to any visitors, you are expected to dress in appropriate business attire. Your personal grooming and hygiene should contribute to a clean and neat appearance. Supervisors or other management personnel can specify additional or alternative dress and/or grooming requirements for safety reasons or based on the business needs of their departments. In addition, all work stations are expected to be kept clean and neat in appearance.


RFMH is committed to protecting the security and confidentiality of research records, and the privacy of persons who participate as research subjects. RFMH will create, maintain and use its records in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Grievance Procedure

RFMH is committed to providing a safe and productive work environment where grievances are dealt with sensitively and expeditiously. Grievance resolution is an integral part of a supervisors duties. Each supervisor has a responsibility to identify, prevent and address problems as they arise in the workplace. If you feel that you have a work related problem that is not being adequately addressed by your supervisor, you have a right to file a grievance. Please contact your local RFMH Personnel/Payroll Office for a grievance form and the procedure.

Other Procedural Standards

While this handbook describes the personnel related policies and practices of RFMH, employees are also responsible for adherence to the operational and procedural standards of their perspective jobs and departments.


Whether communicated in writing or through on the job instruction, you are responsible for following established policies and procedures. Failure to comply with or to meet existing standards will be considered reason for disciplinary action and may result in termination of employment.


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