Humane Society of 
Northeast Iowa

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Humane Society of Northeast Iowa

Love & Friendship

Adoption Center

     Employee Handbook


Welcome to the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa. We are a private, nonprofit organization

that is governed by a Board of Directors. It is our mission to promote the humane treatment of animals The Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northeast Iowa by rescuing, caring for, and finding adoptive homes for unwanted pets; reducing population of companion animals; fostering respect for life; encouraging volunteerism; and educating the community about responsible pet guardianship.

HSNEI aims to provide humane rescue, animal protection, fostering and adoption for animals. As a no-kill organization, we do not euthanize any animal that is adoptable. “Adoptable” is defined as a healthy or reasonably treatable animal with no behavioral problems that create a danger to humans or animals. However, this does not mean that we will keep every animal despite their temperament and health. If the animal is dangerous or extremely ill/injured, the humane choice may be to euthanize the animal, otherwise we are willing to pursue all reasonable efforts for the well-being of the animal, including referring the animal to breed specific rescues. Euthanization solely for the sake of space is not an acceptable policy. Animals who are suffering mentally, emotionally or physically may be euthanized for their peace. Animals who pose a danger to themselves, other animals, or the public may be euthanized for safety reasons. Each animal accepted by HSNEI will be evaluated on an ongoing basis taking into account behavior and medical conditions.

This manual is provided to you as an employee of the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa

(HSNEI). The Board of Directors of HSNEI implements the policies of this manual. Please familiarize yourself with these policies and procedures so that you may perform your duties to the best of your ability.

The Board of Directors is committed to a periodic review of these policies and reserves the

right to revise, change, correct, and update this manual at any time. We will seek your input

whenever possible and you will be informed of any changes. Should you have any questions, concerns, or suggested changes in the personnel policies and procedures, please feel free to communicate them to your immediate supervisor. We are proud to have you as a valued member of our HSNEI team.


The Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) is a humane society founded in 1995, in Decorah, Iowa, to help abused, neglected, abandoned, and unwanted companion animals in the five-county area of Northeast Iowa (Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek counties). Since our founding, we have offered numerous services including dog and cat rescue, fostering and adoption services, humane education, safety and family fun fairs, microchipping for pet identification, financial assistance in spaying/neutering and pet referral services.

Our rescue and adoption program provides temporary foster homes and care at the Love & Friendship Adoption Center for unwanted and abandoned animals in private homes in the region and provides a website to help in finding adoptive homes for these animals. 

In 2013 the Spay/Neuter Assistance Program of Northeast Iowa (SNAP) joined HSNEI to become one organization working for animals in northeast Iowa. SNAP continues their focus on altering, fostering and adopting cats, as well as helping owners rehome their cats through courtesy listings.

HSNEI is a Best Friends Network Partner and a PetCo Foundation Partner.

Open Door Policy

It is the policy of the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa to maintain and encourage use of an

“open door” policy of communication. HSNEI encourages employees to offer suggestions or

express concerns about their duties or HSNEI as a whole. In order to facilitate this communication and respect the chain of command, HSNEI requests that employees bring

concerns to your fellow employees first, you may then take your concern to the Board President. The chain of command for HSNEI is as follows:

President of the Board of Director

Vice President of the Board (Personnel Committee Chair)

Shelter Staff

All employees should feel free to seek clarification or advice on any matter and are further

encouraged to develop and maintain ongoing communication with each other and the Board.

EEO/AAP Statement

It is the policy of the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa to provide equal opportunity to all

individuals regardless of sex, age, race, creed, national origin, religion, or disability. This

policy extends to all aspects of employment relations including recruitment, selection,

training, promotion, compensation, benefits, discipline, and termination.

Personnel Records

All personnel records are kept confidential. Employees may have access to their own file.

Each employee is responsible for promptly notifying the VP of the Board of any changes in address, phone numbers, number of withholding exemptions, beneficiary designation or any other item which must be maintained in the personnel records relative to the employee.


Code of Conduct & Corrective Policy

HSNEI is dedicated to the highest protection and well being of all the animals in our care.

In order to achieve this goal, HSNEI strives to hire and retain a qualified, caring, and

motivated staff. We need your cooperation and adherence to the rules to ensure a continued

safe, friendly, and orderly working environment. HSNEI expects its employees to conduct

themselves in a responsible, professional, and ethical manner when interacting with the

public and with our valued clients, the animals.

HSNEI values its employees and trusts that they will maintain the highest standards set for

them. Several specific policies are detailed in this manual. In addition, mistreatment of animals, falsifying company records, use of physical or verbal abuse, profanity, unauthorized removal of company property, possession of a weapon, theft, defacing or destruction of property illustrate examples of unacceptable conduct which are cause for immediate termination.

Should a performance or behavior problem arise, such as insubordination, repetitive tardiness, not filling shift obligations without approval, refusal to perform job responsibilities, the Adoption Center Director may employ the following corrective policy. Corrective discipline is not intended to punish the employee, but to indicate to the employee that a particular behavior must change. Corrective action shall be progressive, with each warning signed by the employee and employer and may include:

An oral warning

A written warning

Suspension without pay

Termination of employment

It is not necessary to go step-by-step and HSNEI reserves the right to omit any and all steps

based on individual circumstances. A copy of all corrective action will be placed into the

employee's personnel file.

Public Statements/Appearance Policy

The Board President and Center staff are the designated spokespersons for HSNEI. All inquires from the media shall be referred to the Board President or Community Relations Coordinator and no employee may speak to the press as a spokesperson for the agency, on or off the record, without prior approval from the Community Relations Coordinator or Board President. In addition, any employee appearing as a guest speaker or representing HSNEI in any way must obtain prior approval from the Board President.

Smoking Policy

HSNEI supports and promotes a healthy working environment. In support of this policy,

smoking is prohibited in any HSNEI facility at any time. Smoking is permitted outside away from the building by the outside kennels during break times. Please keep the area clean. Do not throw cigarettes onto the ground.

Dress Code

HSNEI serves the people of Northeast Iowa, and in doing so must present a friendly, neat image

to the community. Acceptable dress includes HSNEI shirts and long pants or scrubs. All employees are expected to convey a neat appearance as well as maintain any requirements of dress as they relate to service and safety.

Use of Cell Phones & Personal Music Devices

Please refrain from using your cell phone while working. It is best not to carry them with you during working hours. You may leave them at the front desk. It is a distraction when dealing

with the animals or visiting with customers when your cell phone is ringing, even if you do

not answer it. We also ask that you do not use personal music devices such as IPODS or

MP3 players while working. The use of such devices prevents you from interacting with the

animals and being aware of what is happening in your surroundings.


Each and every employee's job is necessary for the optimal operation of HSNEI and HSNEI

depends upon each employee to be on the job when they are scheduled to work. If an

employee will be late or cannot come to work, the employee must contact a fellow staff member or the Personnel Committee at least three hours before a shift. Vacation days need to be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

Drug Free Workplace

It is HSNEI's policy to promote and maintain a drug-free workplace. Employees are prohibited from the use, sale, dispensing, distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs and narcotics or alcoholic beverages on any HSNEI property. Reporting to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also prohibited. Employees taking any prescribed drugs which may adversely affect their job performance must notify the HSNEI Board President and/or Personnel Committee Chair.

Any violations of the above policy will be dealt with immediately. Each case will be

investigated and will result in disciplinary action. Employees are required to notify the Board President of any criminal drug or alcohol statute conviction not later than 5 days after such conviction.

Sexual Harassment Policy

HSNEI affirms its commitment to ensuring an environment for all employees, which is

positive, fair, humane, and respectful. Behaviors that inappropriately assert sexuality as

relevant to employee performance are damaging to this environment. It is illegal and

against the policies of HSNEI for any employee to sexually harass another employee.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors,

and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment;

2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis of employment decisions; or

3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Any employee who believes that they have been the subject of sexual harassment should report all the facts immediately to the Personnel Committee or Board President. All reports will be promptly and confidentially investigated.

Any employee who is found, after appropriate investigation, to have engaged in sexual harassment of another employee or volunteer will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

HSNEI considers sexual harassment a very serious matter and trusts that all employees will

work together to establish a pleasant working environment, free of discrimination.

Health and Safety

The safety of the animals, our employees, and the public is a primary concern of HSNEI. Safety is a part of each employee's job. Use of all safeguards and safety equipment is required. Your cooperation is necessary for the protection of yourself and others. Immediately report any injury to the Personnel Committee or Board President and get first aid or medical help. A worker's compensation report must be filled out within 24 hours of any work related injury and must include results of a post accident drug screening. Report any hazardous condition to the Adoption Center Director. Your safety suggestions are welcomed.

Accidents can affect the workplace in many ways. Please do your part to help make this a safe workplace:

1. Receive proper training in handling animals

2. Review all Center rules and procedures frequently

3. Watch your footing

4. Lift properly to avoid back strain (lift with your legs, not your back)

5. Give immediate attention to injuries

6. Due to the dangers of toxoplasmosis while handling felines, female employees must notify management immediately if you find out that you are pregnant.

III. Employment at HSNEI

Employment Status

HSNEI may employ individuals under different definitions. All employment status shall be designated at the time of employment.

1. Full-time: Personnel who maintain ongoing regular employment status and are scheduled to work 40 hours or more per week. Full-time employees receive 10 days paid vacation after one year of employment, and 3 paid sick days per year starting on the first day of employment.

2. Part-time: Personnel who maintain ongoing regular employment status and normally are scheduled to work less than 40 hours per week, paid hourly. This position does not include vacation or sick days.

3. Temporary- Personnel employed to undertake a specific job or project for a specific period of time. The terms of this employment, including benefits, shall be defined in the work contract at the time of employment. All designated term employment requires prior approval from the Board of Directors.

Hours of Work

Shelter hours of operation are:

Tuesday 10:00-4:00

Wednesday 10:00-4:00

Thursday 10:00-6:00

Friday 10:00-4:00

Saturday 10:00-4:00

Closed Sunday and Monday

HSNEI’s Adoption Center is a unique work environment and although the hours of the Center may be set, the animals require care 365 days per year. Actual working hours for each position are defined in the job description and shall be discussed prior to employment.

Introductory Period

The first 90 days of employment with HSNEI shall be the employee's introductory period.

The purpose of this period is to allow the employee the opportunity to know HSNEI and its

requirements and to permit HSNEI and employee to decide if they wish to continue the

association. In addition, this period allows HSNEI the opportunity to evaluate the new employee's interest in the job, job performance, and work-related abilities. Upon completion of the introductory period, the employee will receive a written review by the HSNEI Board Personnel Committee.

Orientation & Staff Development

HSNEI believes that a smooth and thorough orientation of new employees results in a positive integration into the HSNEI operations and will lead to a more productive and satisfying employment relationship. HSNEI supports opportunities for ongoing staff development and continued professional growth. Such growth and development may be afforded through, in part, supervision and consultation with professionally qualified persons, provision of professional literature, regular planned staff meetings, and attending continuing education opportunities.

Performance Appraisal & Review Procedures

HSNEI considers staff performance evaluation to be an ongoing process in which supervisors provide regular opportunities for employees to communicate regarding their positions at HSNEI and provide valuable feedback. A high level of communication between employees and the HSNEI Board ensures the performance appraisal will offer no surprises but rather will serve as an opportunity to assess past performance and determine areas of growth needed to enhance HSNEI service to the community and the relationship between HSNEI and the employee.

The Personnel Committee of the Board shall assure that the job performance of each employee is formally evaluated at the end of the employee's 90 day introductory period and every six months thereafter on the employee's anniversary date. A wage review may be considered at any performance evaluation. HSNEI maintains a strict policy of confidentiality regarding employee evaluations and wages earned. The employee is expected not to discuss wages with coworkers.

Pay Days

HSNEI employees are paid every week. The pay period begins on Monday and ends on Sunday. Paychecks may be picked up at the Center on Mondays following the pay period or be received via direct deposit.

Time Cards

For hourly employees time cards are used to maintain an accurate record of work hours. Employees must sign out for lunch breaks and for leaving HSNEI for non-employment purposes.



Full-time employees shall accrue vacation beginning after one year of employment and are

eligible to take two weeks (10 days) vacation per year. Any additional days will be negotiated and decided upon an individual basis. All vacation days must be used in the year that it is earned. Vacation time shall not carry over into the following year and will be forfeited if not used.

Requests for vacation must have prior approval from the Personnel Committee Chair at least 2 weeks prior to vacation. Vacation days may not be used as sick days.

Employees are encouraged to submit vacation requests as early as possible and are reminded the nature of HSNEI business requires 365 days a year to cover. HSNEI will make every effort to accommodate employees' vacation requests, but in the event that she/he cannot, he/she will work with the employee to reschedule the vacation in as convenient a manner as possible. In addition, should there be multiple requests for the same time off, the earliest request shall have priority.

Sick Leave

HSNEI provides sick leave to assist an employee in the event of their own short-term illness or that of a family member, death of a family member or medical appointments. Sick leave benefits of three (3) days per year are available to all full-time employees. Sick days do not carry over to the following year. A physician's note may be requested for sick leave extending over 3 days. Additional sick days over 3 will be unpaid or may be made up on the employee’s normal days off. Compensation will not be given for unused sick pay upon voluntary or involuntary termination.

In order to facilitate smooth functioning of the organization, employees are asked to notify the Adoption Center Director of any use of sick leave at least 3 hours prior to the start of the employee's work schedule.

Military Leave

An employee who enters active military duty in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces will be

granted an unpaid military leave for that period of time in which re-employment is protected by law. Such employees will be re-employed in accordance with whatever law or laws are in effect and which apply to the employee's case.

An employee who is a member of a reserve military organization of the US or National

Guard, will be given time off to participate in regularly scheduled training. Such leave is

unpaid but can be scheduled to coincide with vacation time if so desired.


HSNEI provides pay to all full-time employees scheduled to work the following holidays:

New Year's Day

Memorial Day

July 4th

Labor Day


Christmas Day

Employees shall be paid for the holiday provided that it is a regular scheduled workday for

that employee and that they work their scheduled day before and after each holiday. If working on a holiday, the employee may substitute a day off on another day within two weeks.

Jury Duty

When an employee is selected for jury duty, any time off will be unpaid. No benefits shall

be lost during the period of service. Vacation time may be used if available. The employee

is required to report to work when not serving on jury duty during working hours for the

duration of the jury duty period.

Leave Without Pay

An employee may apply for a leave without pay. The granting of such leave is at the

discretion of the HSNEI Board President.


Resignation (voluntary termination)

HSNEI requests a written notice of voluntary termination at least 2 weeks in advance.

Unused vacation time will be paid on a pro-rated basis, but may not be used during the

period of notice unless approved by the HSNEI President.

Each departing employee shall be asked to attend an exit interview with the HSNEI Board President. This is for informational purposes and can help HSNEI in its continued growth as

an organization by utilizing the valuable contributions of its employees.

Dismissal (involuntary termination)

HSNEI strives to provide all employees with fair and reasonable conditions of employment

at all times. However, in order to carry out its business obligations and priorities in the

most efficient manner possible, HSNEI adheres to the principles of at-will employment

whereby HSNEI and employees alike can terminate the employment relationship at any time

and for any reason. Management of HSNEI will attempt to inform the affected employee

confidentially of the circumstances surrounding the discharge.


HSNEI encourages employees to bring concerns or complaints about work-related

conditions or problems to the attention of management. This begins with the informal

communication with fellow staff members. However, if informal processes do not achieve results, employee may then take their written complaint to the HSNEI Board President. A written formal complaint may be filed in the employee's personnel file.

Definition- A grievance is defined as a situation in which the employee feels that his or her

rights or benefits, as stated in the employee manual, have been violated and the employee is

not able to satisfactorily resolve the problem with fellow staff members.

A grievance may be presented to the Board of Directors at a regular meeting after written notice. A formal written grievance will be presented to the Board of Directors. A final

decision/resolution will be made and presented to the employee within 5 days of the meeting. Copies of all grievances will be filed in the employee's personnel file.


I have been provided with and have thoroughly read the Employee Manual of the Humane

Society of Northeast Iowa. I understand its contents and will abide by the rules and regulations

of this organization. I understand that the contents of this manual do not entitle me to be

employed or remain employed by this agency and that the information offered in this

manual does not constitute a contract of employment.


Employee's signature             Employees’ printed name



**This signed form will be placed in the employee's personnel file.