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Workplace Standards

Employee Handbook: Workplace Standards

Open Communication Standards

APS encourages you to discuss any issue you may have with a co-worker directly with that person. If a resolution is not reached, please arrange a meeting with your supervisor to discuss any concern, problem or issue that arises during the course of your employment. Retaliation against any employee for the appropriate use of communication channels is unacceptable. Please remember it is counterproductive for employees to create or repeat rumors or gossip.

Customer and Community Relations

The success of APS depends upon the quality of the relationships between APS, our employees, customers and community. Our customers’ impressions of APS and their interest and willingness to send their children to our schools are greatly influenced by the people who serve them. You are an ambassador of APS. The more goodwill you promote, the more our customers will respect and appreciate you, APS and the programs we offer to students.

Equal Opportunity

APS is an equal opportunity employer. The District prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, color, ancestry, physical or mental handicap, pregnancy (sex), serious medical condition, age (40+), sexual orientation, gender identity, spousal affiliation, veteran status, harassment on these, retaliation for reporting and/or any other protected status as defined by law, in all facets of employment, compensation, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination/discharge or selection for District-sponsored training programs. Discriminatory behavior violates state and federal laws and regulations.

Harassment and Discrimination

APS intends to provide a work environment that is pleasant, professional, and free from intimidation, hostility or inappropriate behavior which might interfere with work performance. Harassment or discrimination of any sort will not be tolerated.

Workplace harassment can take many forms. It may be, but is not limited to, words, signs, offensive jokes, cartoons, pictures, posters, e-mail jokes or statements, pranks, intimidation, physical assaults, physical contact, or violence. Harassment may or may not be sexual in nature and may not be directed to the individual but take place within their range of hearing. Other prohibited conduct includes retaliatory action against an employee for discussing or making a harassment complaint.

Sexual harassment may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature when such conduct creates an offensive, hostile or intimidating working environment and/or it prevents employees from effectively performing the duties of their position. It also encompasses such conduct when it is made a term or condition of employment or compensation, either implicitly or explicitly and when an employment decision is based on an individual's acceptance or rejection of such conduct.


All APS employees, particularly supervisors, have a responsibility for keeping our work environment free of harassment and discrimination. Any employee, who becomes aware of an incident of harassment or discrimination, whether by witnessing the incident or being told of it, must report it to their immediate supervisor or to Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) at APS. When the District becomes aware of the existence of harassment or discrimination, it is obligated by law to take prompt and appropriate action, whether or not the victim wants the District to do so. Read the Employee Discrimination and Harassment Procedural Directive.

Reporting Harassment or Discrimination

If there is no threat of violence, APS encourages you to communicate directly with the alleged harasser and make it clear that the harasser's behavior is unacceptable, offensive or inappropriate, although you are not required to do so. In addition, if you believe you have been subject to harassment or discrimination, you are required to immediately notify your supervisor and/or Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) at APS.

All complaints will be investigated promptly and as discreetly and confidentially as is reasonably possible. If harassment or discrimination by an employee is established, APS will take appropriate disciplinary action against the offender. Disciplinary action can range from verbal warnings to termination/discharge, depending on the circumstances. Retaliation of any sort will not be permitted. No adverse employment action will be taken for any employee making a good faith report of alleged harassment. APS accepts no liability for harassment or discrimination of one employee by another employee.

The individual who makes unwelcome advances, threatens or in any way harasses or discriminates against another employee is personally liable for their actions and the consequences. APS may or may not provide legal, financial or any other assistance to an individual accused of harassment or discrimination if a legal complaint is filed.

APS prohibits any employee from retaliating in any way against anyone who has raised any concern about harassment or discrimination against another individual.


Consensual personal relationships of a romantic or sexual nature between co-workers who are not in a direct supervisory relationship are not of concern to the District unless conduct associated with that relationship:

  • constitutes sexual harassment or discrimination,
  • affects an employee’s job evaluation or treatment,
  • interferes with productivity or harmonious work relationships within the workplace.

Consensual dating relationships between a Manager and an employee the Manager directly supervises are inappropriate in the workplace and are inconsistent with the District’s management philosophy as well as the Manager’s role and responsibilities.

Reasonable Accommodation of Individuals with Disabilities

The District makes reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities for the performance of essential job functions without undue hardship to the District. Accommodations are reviewed case by case in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and any state or local laws that prohibit disability discrimination. Contact the Equal Opportunity Services at APS for questions or assistance. Read the Accommodation Process.

Participation in Political Activities

District personnel may hold public offices, except for the Board of Education, regardless of the relationship between the public office and the interests of Albuquerque Public Schools. Read Board Policy: GB12 – Employees as Duly Appointed or Elected Officials.

Drug-Free Workplace

APS has adopted a Drug-Free Workplace Policy. The unlawful possession, dispensing, distribution, manufacture, sale, or use of controlled substances and alcohol by an APS employee is prohibited in the workplace, on school premises, or as part of any APS activity. Being under the influence of controlled substances and/or alcohol by an employee is prohibited in the workplace, on the school premises, or any part of an APS activity. Employees are required to notify their supervisor within five (5) days if they are convicted of a criminal controlled-drug statute violation occurring in the workplace. Failure by an employee to report such a conviction may be grounds for disciplinary action. Supervisors who become aware of a conviction of an employee for a criminal controlled-drug statute violation occurring in the workplace should immediately notify the Human Resources Department. Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge or termination, and referral to law enforcement. Read Board Policy: GB5 – Drug-Free Workplace.

Use of Legal and Prescription Drugs Authorized By a Physician

Certain legal and prescription drugs can produce changes in persons that might indicate intoxication or illegal drug use and could result in a “positive” result on a substance abuse screening test. Employees may continue to work for APS while taking prescription drugs at the direction of a doctor for the treatment of an illness or non-prescription drugs used for the purposes and in the manner intended, provided the medication does not adversely affect the employee’s ability to perform his or her work in a safe and efficient manner. Each employee is responsible for being aware of and following all cautions associated with the use of prescription or non-prescription drugs. If any prescription or non-prescription drugs being taken by an employee could have side effects which could affect the employee’s job performance, the employee must advise his or her supervisor of the drug being taken and the potential side effects. APS has the right to determine whether an employee who is receiving legal medication should be allowed to continue working during his or her treatment due to possible safety and/or performance problems that could arise from certain legal drug use. Employees failing to disclose such usage may face disciplinary action, up to and including discharge or termination. APS prohibits the use of cannabis by its employees, even if prescribed by a physician.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

APS has adopted drug testing procedures to ensure the enforcement of APS policies and to safeguard the well-being of students, parents and employees in the District. Testing positive for the use of a controlled substance, except medications prescribed by a physician which do not impair work performance, will result in discipline up to and including discharge or termination. Testing positive for use or being under the influence of cannabis will result in discipline up to and including discharge or termination, even if use of cannabis is prescribed by a physician or authorized by New Mexico law. View the Drug Free Workplace Procedural Directive.

Violence in the Workplace

APS prohibits violence in the workplace. Threatening, intimidating, or coercing fellow employees on or off district property at any time, for any purpose will not be tolerated. This applies to all persons involved in APS' operations, including personnel, vendors, contractors, temporary employees, and anyone else on APS property. Any act or threat of violence will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination/discharge, and/or referral to law enforcement. Read the Procedural Directive.

All employees should be treated with courtesy and respect at all times. Employees are expected to refrain from fighting, “horseplay,” or other conduct that may be dangerous to others. All threats of (or actual) violence, both direct and indirect, should be reported as soon as possible to your immediate manager or any other member of management. This includes threats by employees, as well as threats by customers, vendors, solicitors, former employees, family members, or other members of the public. When reporting a threat of violence, you should be as specific and detailed as possible. Any employee who has been threatened with serious bodily injury or property harm in any context (including a personal relationship) must notify the district of the threat. The district will not take any adverse employment actions against an employee who notifies the district of a threat of violence because of the notification. Further, in any circumstance in which the threat relates to a personal relationship the district will not mandate that the employee pursue criminal charges. The district will review each situation as confidentially as possible with the employee and determine whether additional precautions for the workplace are necessary on a short- or long-term basis.

All suspicious individuals or activities should also be reported as soon as possible to a Manager. Do not place yourself or coworkers in peril. If you see or hear a commotion or disturbance near your workstation, do not try to intercede or see what is happening.

The district will promptly and thoroughly investigate all reports of threats of (or actual) violence and of suspicious individuals or activities. The identity of the individual making a report will be protected as much as is practical. In order to maintain workplace safety and the integrity of its investigation, the district may suspend employees, either with or without pay, pending investigation. Failure to cooperate in an investigation may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. In order to ensure a safe work environment, fitness for duty evaluation may be required before an employee may return to work.

Anyone determined to be responsible for threats of (or actual) violence or other conduct that is in violation of these guidelines will be subject to prompt disciplinary action up to and including discharge or termination.

Examples of workplace violence include, but are not limited to:

  1. All threats or acts of violence occurring on APS property, regardless of the relationship between APS and the parties involved.
  2. All threats or acts of violence occurring off APS property involving someone who is acting as a representative of APS.
  3. Grabbing, hitting, or shoving an individual.
  4. Threatening an individual or his/her family, friends, associates or property with harm.
  5. Intentional destruction of or threats to destroy APS property.
  6. Making harassing or threatening phone calls.
  7. Harassing surveillance or stalking.
  8. Unauthorized possession or inappropriate use of firearms or weapons.
  9. Intimidating or harassing students, staff, or parents.

Family Violence and Your Workplace

Family (Domestic) violence falls into the categories of child abuse, partner/spousal abuse, sibling abuse, elder abuse, and dating violence. It is a pattern of assault and coercive behaviors—including physical, sexual, psychological attacks and economic coercion—which results in hurt, fear, injury, suffering or death. Currently, most instances of family violence in the workplace are in the form of partner abuse. Cases of domestic violence often spill into the work setting. If you find yourself or know of a coworker experiencing family violence, it is imperative that you seek assistance. Following are contacts for assistance and information:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline  (800) 799-7233
  • S.A.F.E House Hotline  (800) 773-3645
  • Adult Protective Services  (800) 797-3260
  • New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence  (505) 246-9240
  • Violence Against Women Division (for referrals)  (505) 222-9034


APS prohibits all persons who enter District property from carrying handguns, firearms, knives, or other weapons of any kind regardless of whether the person is licensed to do so. APS also prohibits all employees from having handguns, firearms, knives, or other weapons of any kind in their personal vehicle when that vehicle is being used on APS business. The only exceptions to this policy are police officers, security guards, or other persons who have been given written consent by APS to carry a weapon on the property or in their vehicle. Read Board Policy: GF – Albuquerque Public Schools Police and Firearms.


Use of tobacco, tobacco products, E-cigarettes (electronic), and E-cigarette products at all District sites is prohibited. Read Board Policy: AD - Tobacco Free Schools.

Employee Technology Acceptable Use

The use of district technology resources is a privilege granted to employees for the enhancement of job-related functions. All employees shall use their APS assigned email accounts to conduct all school/district business. Employees may have limited access to these resources for personal use if they comply with the professional standards and the district’s acceptable use policies. Violations of this policy may result in the revocation of this privilege. Employees may also face disciplinary action up to and including termination/discharge, civil litigation, and/or criminal prosecution for misuse of these resources.

APS does not attempt to articulate all possible violations of this policy. In general, users are expected to use District computers and computer networks in a responsible, polite, and professional manner. Read Board Policy: GB6 – Acceptable Employee Use of Technology or the Employee Technology Acceptable Use Procedural Directive.

Social Media

Social media technology can serve as a powerful tool to enhance education, communication, and learning. This technology can provide both educational and professional benefits, including preparing Albuquerque Public Schools (“APS”) students to succeed in their educational and career endeavors.

The district is committed to ensuring that all APS stakeholders who utilize social media technology for professional purposes, including staff and students, do so in a safe and responsible manner. APS strives to create professional social media environments that mirror the academically supportive environments of our schools.

Social Media training will be provided to give guidance regarding recommended practices for professional social media communication between APS employees, as well as social media communication between APS employees and APS students.

In recognition of the public and pervasive nature of social media communications, as well as the fact that in this digital era, the lines between professional and personal endeavors are sometimes blurred, the Social Media training will also address recommended practices for use of personal social media by APS staff. Read Board Policy: GB2 Staff Standards of Conduct or the Employee Code of Conduct Procedural Directive. 


Advance approval from the Human Resources Department is required before an employee may accept or solicit a gift of any kind from a customer, supplier, or vendor representative. Read the Advertising, Gifts, and Donations Procedural Directive.

Dress Code and Personal Appearance

You are expected to be suitably attired and groomed during working hours and when representing APS. If your supervisor determines that your attire and/or grooming is out of place, you may be asked to leave the workplace until you are properly attired and/or groomed. In no case shall the standards for employees be less than those prescribed for students in the district Student Behavior Handbook. Principals/Supervisors are expected to counsel staff assigned to their location on appearance and conduct. Employees who violate dress code standards may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination/discharge. Read the Employee Code of Conduct Procedural Directive.

Solicitations and Distributions

Solicitation for any cause during working time and in working areas is not permitted. You are not permitted to distribute non-District literature in work areas at any time during working time. Working time is defined as the time assigned for the performance of your job and does not apply to break periods and meal times. Employees are not permitted to sell raffle chances, merchandise, or otherwise solicit or distribute literature without management approval.

Persons not employed by APS are prohibited from soliciting or distributing literature on District property.

Tutoring or Advising for Pay

With the exclusion of school personnel receiving stipends for extra- or co-curricular activities, school personnel are not permitted to receive pay for tutoring or advising any students assigned to them for classroom teaching or other school functions.

Animals in School/Service Animals

Animals may be brought to classrooms only if they serve a direct instructional purpose and if the animal can be cared for in a humane manner. Read the Animals in School Procedural Directive.

APS employees and students seeking to use service animals should, in conjunction with the APS Office of Equity or Special Education Department, develop a Section 504 Plan or Individual Education Plan, as appropriate, to identify needed reasonable accommodations and other issues relating to the use of a service animal. Read the Animals in School Procedural Directive.

This page was last updated on: July 1, 2011.

For Additional Information Contact:

Albuquerque Public Schools
Human Resources Department
6400 Uptown Blvd. NE, Suite 200 East 
Albuquerque 87110 Map
(505) 880-3700

U.S. Department of Labor
Employee Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division
1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243)
TTY: 1-877-889-5627