Respect for human rights and taking care of people are part of our core values. We seek to respect and promote human rights in our relationships with our employees, vendors, and tenants. Our aim is to help increase the enjoyment of human rights within the communities in which we operate. To this end, we support and promote the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the human rights protections set forth in the laws of the United States, and the states and communities in which we operate. Piedmont’s human rights policy and directives are integrated within the company’s wider standards literature, such as the employees code of conduct, employee handbook, compliance training and Vendor Code of Conduct.
This policy is the responsibility of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board of Directors of Piedmont and applies to all of the operations of Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. (“Piedmont”) and its subsidiaries, regardless of geographic location, and covers all of our properties. We expect our vendors to uphold these principles and urge them to adopt similar policies within their own businesses.
We value and promote the diversity and inclusion of the people with whom we work. We are committed to the protection of women’s rights and the protection of minority group rights, including people of color. We are committed to equal opportunity in workplaces that are free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, sex, color, national or social origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification or expression, political opinion, or any other status protected by applicable law. Recruitment, hiring, placement, development, training, compensation, and advancement may not be based on any of these factors, but should instead, be based on rational factors such as qualifications, performance, skills, and experience. We do not accept disrespectful or inappropriate behavior, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace or in any work-related circumstance outside the workplace. We provide each of our employees with detailed policies and materials to provide information on equal opportunity, discrimination and harassment, and require participation in training on these matters.
We strive to create workplaces in which open and honest communications among all employees are valued. We respect our employees’ right to form, join or not join, labor unions, without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or harassment. In the event that any of our employees are represented by a legally recognized union, we are committed to bargaining in good faith with that union.
The safety and health of our employees, vendors, and tenants is of paramount importance. We must not only comply with applicable safety and health laws and regulations, but also address and remediate identified risks of accidents, injury, and health impacts. Our policies regarding health and safety are provided to our employees, vendors, and tenants, and encompass all our facilities and operations. Each of our employees is entitled to a copy of our Employee Handbook, which sets forth detailed instructions regarding safety issues.
We are committed to a workplace that is free from violence, harassment, intimidation, and other unsafe or disruptive conditions due to internal and external threats. Each employee is entitled to a copy of our Employee Handbook, which details the standard of conduct regarding workplace security.
We prohibit the use of all forms of forced labor, whether prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor, military labor, modern forms of slavery and any form of human trafficking. We also evaluate the potential for human trafficking in our supply chain and minimize risks by committing to work with well-established suppliers and venders who adhere to our Vendor Code of Conduct, which prohibits forced labor and human trafficking. We have a no tolerance policy for employees, suppliers, and vendors in violation of our company standards regarding slavery and human trafficking and anyone in violation of those standards is subject to termination.
We comply with all local minimum working age laws and requirements and prohibit the use of child labor.
We compensate our employees competitively relative to the industry and local labor market, and, if applicable, in accordance with terms of applicable collective bargaining agreements and applicable legal standards. We work to ensure full compliance with applicable wage, work hours, overtime, and benefits and other labor laws. We are committed to paying living wages under humane conditions. Each of our employees is entitled to clear, written information about their employment conditions with respect to wages before they enter employment and as appropriate throughout their term of employment; a copy of our Employee Handbook, which sets forth detailed procedures and rights relating to disciplinary actions (deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure are not permitted unless permitted by national or applicable local law); and a formal review, both in person and in writing, not less than once a year.
Piedmont encourages professional growth for all of its employees and has created a personal development plan to provide guidance to employees in planning and budgeting for their career growth. The general philosophy regarding education and association involvement is that such activities are encouraged when they align with an employee’s current role and goals within the company and are mutually beneficial to both the employee’s personal growth and their role within the company.
We recognize the right to water as a fundamental human right. We respect the human need for sustainable water supplies, safe drinking water, and protection of both ecosystems and communities through proper sanitation.
Our employees should not accept any direction by their supervisor that is inconsistent with this Policy. If there is ever a concern that anyone connected with our company may have engaged or is about to engage in any conduct in violation of this Policy, our employees should promptly bring the matter to the attention of our VP of Human Resources. If an employee does not believe that talking to our VP of Human Resources is appropriate, if they are uncomfortable doing so, or if it does not result in a response with which they are comfortable, then they should contact any of our other executive officers or any member of the Board of Directors of Piedmont, either directly or through our Whistleblower Hotline (1-888-475-8376).
We are committed to engaging with all of our stakeholder (employees, investors, and tenants) in developing, implementing, and evaluating policy’s effectiveness. This Policy is overseen and implemented by Piedmont’s ESG Committee and is reviewed annually. Our ESG Committee is well versed in the needs of stakeholders and meets at least quarterly, and the meetings are well attended. In addition, our CEO, CFO, and other members of our Senior Management Team meet periodically with our investors as well as other interested parties to solicit feedback on our ESG policies and initiatives, including our Human Rights Policy. Our CFO, CAO, COO, SVP-Property Management, VP-Human Resources and Director-Sustainability are the members of the committee.
We may waive application of the policies set forth in this Policy where circumstances warrant granting a waiver, subject to appropriate terms and conditions. This Policy is not intended to, and does not, grant any rights to any director, officer, employee, tenant, supplier, competitor, stockholder or any other person or entity.