Eversource Energy's Human Rights Policy

Introduction

Eversource Energy respects the human rights of all individuals.  We define human rights as those inherent to everyone, regardless of age, race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion or other status.  We believe that everyone is entitled to these rights without discrimination, and we are committed to the advancement and protection of human rights in all areas relevant to our business.

In addition to summarizing our philosophy regarding human rights, this policy reflects the values Eversource strives to live by as a business leader, employer and corporate citizen.  Many of the concepts regarding human rights can be found in existing Eversource policies and practices and our Code of Business Conduct.  This policy is consistent with the general principles for business enterprises set forth in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Labor Organization’s (“ILO”) Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and The Children’s Rights and Business Principles to comply with all applicable laws and respect human rights.  Eversource will review and update this policy as necessary to reflect our commitment to human rights and our ongoing efforts.  We will work with all stakeholders, including consulting industry specific groups, to responsibly and ethically serve the interests of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, and develop and implement strategies to prevent and mitigate identified risks to human rights including maintaining internal accountability.

All Eversource employees are required to complete annual training on our Code of Business Conduct which includes a human rights component and includes an agreement to adhere to this Human Rights Policy.  Eversource will not tolerate any retaliatory action against anyone who comes forward to raise, in good faith, concerns about possible violations of Eversource Energy’s human rights policy.

The Eversource Code of Business Conduct

Eversource is built upon a foundation of strong ethical corporate values and business practices.  Our Code of Business Conduct serves as an important resource for employees in support of day-to-day decision-making in our relationships with customers, suppliers, regulators, shareholders and each other, and is founded on meeting the highest ethical, social, and environmental standards.  To uphold and reinforce these values, Eversource Energy maintains the Code of Business Conduct that serves as our overall guide to business ethics and compliance.

Eversource Energy’s human rights policy is closely aligned with the Code of Business Conduct, which applies to everyone who works for or represents Eversource.  Eversource values the relationships we have with our suppliers and believes in doing business with suppliers that embrace and demonstrate high principles of ethical business behavior.  Accordingly, Eversource also maintains a Supplier Code of Business Conduct that sets out the core values and business standards for suppliers who desire to conduct business with us.

Fair Treatment & Equal Employment Opportunity

All individuals have a right to fair treatment and equal employment opportunity, and Eversource is committed to protecting these rights by providing fair treatment and equal employment opportunities for all employees and candidates for employment irrespective of a candidate’s or employee’s race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, handicap (disability), marital status, sexual orientation, genetics, active military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by local, state or federal law.  Equal employment opportunities apply to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, upgrading, promotion, transfer, demotion, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation and selection for training at all levels of employment.  

Anti-Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment and Retaliation

Individuals have a right to be free from illegal harassment and discrimination, and Eversource strives to maintain a work environment that recognizes each individual’s dignity and worth and is free from unlawful harassment and discrimination based on any protected characteristic or protected activity.  Our Discriminatory Harassment Prevention policy applies to employees as well as applicants and covers all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, transfers, promotions, terminations, compensation and benefits.

Eversource’s Discriminatory Harassment Prevention policy and Workplace Behavior Policy are intended to extend further than the law.  They prohibit behavior that, if left unchecked, could become unlawful or undermine an engaging, inclusive and productive work environment, including harassment, intimidation, coercion and bullying, regardless of whether such conduct is unlawful or based on a protected characteristic or activity.

Eversource does not tolerate retaliation against anyone who in good faith provides truthful information, assists in an investigation, or otherwise engages in protected activity, including the good faith filing of a claim of discrimination or harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights, or other local, state or federal governmental entities.  Anyone engaging in retaliatory actions will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Eversource seeks to create an inclusive and engaging environment where diverse ideas are communicated openly, directly and honestly, every employee is a respected and valued contributor, and differences are welcome, understood and drawn upon to support all aspects of our business.  Additionally, Eversource actively works to recruit, develop and retain a diverse and engaged workforce and is committed to diversity with respect to its suppliers and vendors.  Eversource remains committed to racial equity and social justice and making a positive difference through engagement with the diverse communities we serve.

At Eversource, equity means engaging all stakeholders, including our customers and communities, with respect and dignity while working toward fair and just outcomes; especially for those burdened with economic challenges, racial inequity, negative environmental impacts and justice disparities.

Workplace Safety, Health, and Security

Individuals have a right to work under conditions that are reasonably safe and healthy, and Eversource is committed to providing a safe, secure, healthy and productive work environment for its employees and contractors.  Employees are expected to perform their jobs in a manner that complies with occupational safety and health laws, regulations and standards, and to maintain safe and healthy working conditions.  Employees are expected to promptly report actual or potential safety or health hazards, and are protected from retaliation for making good faith and truthful reports.

Eversource is committed to providing a workplace and work environment free from violence and threats of violence, including extreme or inappropriate verbal or physical threats, intimidation, harassment, and/or coercion.  Any direct or implied threat or act that would create fear, hostility, intimidation or concern of harm in another person is prohibited.  Employees are expected to report immediately any behavior that threatens the safety of people or property or has the potential to become violent.  In addition to providing security safeguards, Eversource will address such behavior promptly and appropriately and in a manner that respects employee privacy and dignity.

Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, and Children’s Rights

Eversource believes the employment relationship should be a voluntary one, and that all terms, conditions and privileges of employment and supplier arrangements must comply with applicable laws and regulations.  Eversource is opposed to and will not use child labor, forced labor, prison labor, and human trafficking (a.k.a. “modern slavery”), and it will comply fully with applicable laws prohibiting such exploitation, as well as upholding the expectations of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. We are committed to supporting these fundamental principles through our core business activities and relationships, strategic social investments and philanthropy, advocacy and public policy engagement.

Employment Wages, Hours and Benefits

Eversource compensates its employees fairly, equitably and competitively relative to its industry and labor market, and in accordance with terms of applicable collective bargaining agreements.  Eversource is committed to complying with applicable state and federal minimum wage, payment of wages, working hours, overtime and benefits laws and regulations.  Eversource establishes work shifts and schedules as appropriate to meet business and operational needs and to comply with applicable laws and collective bargaining agreements.  Eversource is committed to providing a supportive, responsive, and inclusive workplace that allows employees to balance work with family and personal responsibilities.

Collective Bargaining and Freedom of Association

With respect to work-related matters, including terms, conditions and privileges of employment, Eversource recognizes and respects the rights of employees to join, or not to join, a labor organization of their choosing in compliance with applicable laws.  Where employees are represented by a lawfully certified labor organization, Eversource will comply with collective bargaining obligations and agreements, and work with the properly certified labor organization to implement the human rights principles of this policy.  Individuals have a right to freedom of association outside the workplace; however, employees should understand that, in certain circumstances, their association with another person, group or organization could create a conflict with respect to their employment or work with Eversource.

Environmental Protection, Stewardship, Sustainability and Justice

Eversource aspires to be an industry leader in protecting our environment while providing our customers with the essential services they expect – safely and reliably delivering electricity, natural gas and water.  Meeting or surpassing compliance with all applicable environmental regulations is not only Eversource’s responsibility, but also central to our sustainability commitments and demonstrates the respect we have for our stakeholders’ fundamental human rights to natural resources such as clean water and clean air.

Eversource Energy recognizes that environmental justice considerations must be part of our everyday business operations, community support, and project considerations as we strive to modernize the energy sector. We are committed to meeting environmental justice expectations, including intentional inclusion in our public engagement process and partnerships with the diverse communities we serve.  We strive to minimize and mitigate any potential impacts of our activities on the local communities we serve and provide equitable opportunities, including customers in our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and underserved communities.

Eversource expects employees, contractors and suppliers to comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and conduct their operations in an environmentally responsible manner.  We actively seek suppliers that share our commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment.

Expectations of Eversource Suppliers

Eversource also expects its suppliers to comply with this Human Rights policy and to respect the human rights of all individuals.  Eversource Energy’s Supplier Code of Business Conduct summarizes important aspects of Eversource’s Code of Business Conduct and corporate policies relating to ethical expectations and obligations that apply to our suppliers.  Just as Eversource expects its employees to act in accordance with the highest ethical and legal standards in their business activities, Eversource expects its suppliers to behave in a manner consistent with these ethical human rights principles and obligations and evaluates suppliers’ human rights risks and related performance in determining whether to do business with them. Eversource regularly engages with our suppliers to address supply chain risks and performance.

Compliance Reporting and Guidance

Eversource strives to create a workplace environment where open, honest communication is valued and respected by all employees.  We recognize that a key deterrent to unethical, unlawful or fraudulent behavior is an effective reporting system that allows employees to report their concerns without fear of reprisal and ensures appropriate and timely follow-up.  Eversource provides a mechanism for safe and anonymous reporting available to internal and external stakeholders through its Compliance Hotline, which is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by an independent third-party service provider (NAVEX) to better maintain confidentiality.  Eversource Energy provides two ways for individuals to contact the Compliance Hotline — via phone and by using a secure website.

Eversource Compliance Hotline at 855-832-5552 or eversource.ethicspoint.com.

Aquarion internal and external stakeholders may also contact the Compliance and Ethics Help Line at 888-278-1506.

All compliance related matters reported are appropriately investigated with appropriate corrective action taken in response to any violations found.

The human rights expectations described in this policy are the responsibility of every Eversource employee and any corrective actions that may be required are reviewed by the Corporate Compliance, Human Resources, and Legal Departments.