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AP III, Sec. 2 Code of conduct

Baldwin's Kentucky Revised Statutes AnnotatedAdministrative Procedures of the Court of Justice

Baldwin's Kentucky Revised Statutes Annotated
Administrative Procedures of the Court of Justice
Part III. Personnel Policies
Administrative Procedures, AP III, Sec. 2
AP III, Sec. 2 Code of conduct
A court system that upholds high standards of integrity, impartiality, and independence is indispensable to justice in our society. As public servants, employees of the KCOJ have a duty to manage their professional and personal affairs in a manner that maintains and promotes public confidence in the judicial system. Therefore, employees must avoid situations that might lead to conflict, the appearance of conflict, or the appearance of impropriety between self-interest and their duty to the courts and the general public.
SECTION 2.01 Applicability
(1) This Code of Conduct applies to all employees, interns, temporary employees, and volunteers working within the KCOJ.
(2) Any violation of this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
(3) Matters involving Justices, Judges, Commissioners, and Circuit Court Clerks will be addressed by the appropriate disciplinary authority.
(4) Employees are responsible for consulting with their appointing authority or the HR Administrator to resolve any issues that are not explicitly addressed in this Code of Conduct.
SECTION 2.02 Reporting Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
(1) Employees are encouraged to report instances of waste, fraud, and abuse by other employees or elected officials by calling toll free at 1-844-761-0104 or emailing courtstipline@kycourts.net.
(2) Examples of waste, fraud, and abuse include:
(a) Contract and procurement fraud
(b) Bribery or solicitation of bribes
(c) Solicitation or acceptance of gratuities
(d) Kickbacks
(e) Theft or misuse of government property
(3) Complaints received will be forwarded to the appropriate entity for investigation. Violations of this Policy will be addressed by the appropriate disciplinary authority.
(4) Employees, elected officials, and appointed officials are prohibited from retaliating against a person who, in good faith, reports or corroborates waste, fraud, and abuse or otherwise assists in the investigation.
(5) Complaints not related to waste, fraud, and abuse will be referred to the AOC HR Department in accordance with these Policies.
SECTION 2.03 Confidential Information
(1) Confidential information includes, but is not limited to:
(a) Information required to be kept confidential by federal law, state law, court rule, administrative regulation, or court order, including but not limited to, Social Security numbers, taxpayer identification numbers, dates of birth, financial account numbers, and medical information;
(b) Information on pending cases not already a matter of public record;
(c) Any other information learned or developed during the course of working within the KCOJ that derives independent economic value from not being generally known or readily ascertainable by other persons. Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, procedures, manuals, reports, communications, and financial information.
(2) Employees, current and former, must not directly or indirectly:
(a) Use confidential information for personal gain or the personal gain of any other person; nor
(b) Disclose confidential information acquired during the course of employment except as required in the performance of official duties, or as otherwise required by law.
(3) Employees must exercise discretion in their comments to avoid the appearance of partiality or abuse of position.
(4) Employees must not remove KCOJ records and documents from judicial property without proper authorization from the appointing authority or designee.
(5) Employees must:
(a) Avoid making public comment about a pending action;
(b) Not initiate or repeat communications with litigants, witnesses, attorneys, judges, jury members, or any other person involved with a pending action, unless necessary for official duties; and
(c) Refer all media requests to their appointing authority or the AOC Office of Public Information.
(6) Employees may respond to inquiries from the public concerning court procedures but shall not provide legal advice.
SECTION 2.04 Performance of Duties
(1) Employees must perform official duties diligently during working hours.
(2) Employees must perform their duties impartially:
(a) With courtesy and respect for the public, co-workers, supervisors, and appointing authorities; and
(b) Without bias or prejudice, shown by words or conduct, based upon race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, smoker or non-smoker status, veteran's status, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by law.
SECTION 2.05 Abuse of Position
(1) Employees must avoid conduct that may give the appearance of impropriety or the appearance that the employee is using his or her position with the KCOJ to further private interests.
(2) Employees must not use or attempt to use their work position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions.
(3) Examples of unwarranted privileges or exemptions include, but are not limited to:
(a) Accepting, soliciting, or agreeing to accept any gift, favor, or anything of value from any person or business that may give the appearance of impropriety.
(b) Requesting or accepting any additional fee or gratuity over the employee's regular compensation for his or her KCOJ work duties.
SECTION 2.06 Conflict of Interest
(1) A conflict of interest or its appearance can seriously undermine the public's confidence and trust in the judiciary. KCOJ employees must identify and avoid conflicts of interest.
(2) An employee must disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest to his or her appointing authority for resolution.
(3) A conflict of interest may exist when an employee participates in a decision that may directly or indirectly impact that employee or a member of his or her family.
SECTION 2.07 Political Activities
(1) Political Contributions and Campaigns
(a) No employee in the KCOJ may be coerced, forced, or required to make any contribution for political purposes.
(b) No employee in the KCOJ may be coerced, forced, or required to solicit or take part in soliciting for political purposes.
(c) Employees are prohibited from using KCOJ time or resources for the purpose of political solicitation. Employees shall not display campaign literature or other election material in any facility owned, leased, or otherwise occupied by the KCOJ.
(2) Political Office
(a) All employees of the KCOJ shall terminate their employment prior to filing for election to any partisan political office.
(b) Employees who seek to hold a nonpartisan office are not required to terminate their employment prior to filing for election to the nonpartisan office as long as campaigning does not interfere with the performance of their duties. Any employee who intends to seek a nonpartisan office shall notify his or her appointing authority prior to filing for election.
(c) Pursuant to Kentucky Constitution § 165 and KRS 61.080, there are certain offices considered incompatible by law. When considering any elected or appointed political office, these sources must be consulted. Acceptance of an incompatible office voids the first office as a matter of law.
(3) Political Activities
(a) The KCOJ encourages employees to register and vote. Employees are allowed four hours of paid leave to vote during work hours. For more information regarding voting leave, refer to Section 7.05 of these Policies.
(b) The following political activities are permitted for employees, except while the employee is on duty:
(i) Expressing opinions on all political subjects and candidates.
(ii) Making voluntary cash contributions to political parties, candidates, or organizations.
(iii) Joining a political club and attending its meetings.
(iv) Attending political rallies, conventions, etc., and participating in the selection of committee members.
(v) Wearing political badges, buttons, or other designations. Nothing in these Policies prohibits voluntarily displaying political stickers on private automobiles or displaying political pictures or signs on private property.
(vi) Serving as precinct election officers at the polls.
(vii) Actively working for or against constitutional amendments, referendums, or municipal ordinances in which they are interested, provided that state time and resources are not used for this purpose.
(viii) Transporting friends or relatives to the polls.
(ix) Soliciting or handling political contributions.
(x) Soliciting the sale of or selling political party, faction, or candidate items or tickets. Employees may voluntarily purchase such items or tickets.
(xi) Preparing, organizing, or conducting a political meeting or rally, or addressing such a meeting on any partisan political matter.
(xii) Participating in a partisan activity at the polls (in primary or regular elections) in the position of checker, challenger, or watcher, or in soliciting votes and assisting voters to mark ballots.
(xiii) Distributing campaign literature or material.
(xiv) Initiating or circulating partisan political nominating petitions.
(xv) Canvassing a district or soliciting political support from a party, faction, or candidate, either in person or in writing.


HISTORY: Adopted Order 2018-06, eff. 4-15-18
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Administrative Procedures, AP III, Sec. 2, KY ST ADMIN P AP III, Sec. 2
Current with amendments received through January 15, 2020.
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