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AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook, Fourth Edition

by Amanda L. Donnelly, DVM, MBA; Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD; and Kellie G. Olah, SPHR, SHRM-CP

Manage employees more effectively by instituting clear policies and procedures with the AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook.

$59.95 Member
$79.95 Nonmember

Product Code:
Publication Year:
7'' x 10''
AAHA Press

The AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook is out now! Included with the book is access to a companion website with exclusive HR resources for managing staff through emergency and pandemic situations, such as COVID-19. Add expertly crafted safety and paid leave protocols to your handbook, download sample forms and letter templates, and access handy resources.
Thoroughly revised with new and updated sample policies covering the most recent developments in federal law and human resource management, the AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook includes current information on the following topics:
  • Practice culture
  • Diversity
  • Social media and cell phone usage
  • Antiharassment and antidiscrimination
  • Violence prevention
  • Bullying (including cyberbullying)
  • Marijuana, e-cigarette, and vaping laws and protocols
  • Dress code and grooming
  • Sick leave
  • And more
Establish the best employment policies for your practice, from scheduling and pay periods to workplace safety and care of facility to vacations and leave.
All the ready-made policies in this fourth edition appear as a Microsoft Word file on the companion website. Owners or managers can easily apply or customize the policies they feel best reflect their management philosophy.
Manage employees more effectively by instituting clear policies and procedures with the AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook.

Amanda L. Donnelly, DVM, MBA, is a speaker, consultant, and author with more than 30 years of experience in the veterinary profession. She is a second-generation veterinarian who combines her practice experience and business expertise to help veterinarians communicate better with their teams and clients. Donnelly is the author of the book 101 Practice Management Questions Answered and a contributing author for Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Practice Management Consult, and she has published numerous articles in veterinary journals. Well known as a dynamic speaker, Donnelly has twice been named Practice Management Speaker of the Year for the VMX Conference.

Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD, owns and manages Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc., a consulting firm that advises veterinarians and attorneys nationwide on veterinary business and legal issues, with a focus on veterinary business transactions. Lacroix is a skilled negotiator and business strategist who assists her clients in determining the relevant and important business aspects of a diverse array of transactions. Lacroix lectures extensively nationwide and overseas, and she is a frequent speaker at the meetings of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the North American Veterinary Community, the Western Veterinary Conference, and Veterinary Specialists in Private Practice, as well as other veterinary association and industry meetings and seminars. She is also an enthusiastic adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Lacroix is a regular contributor to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, NAVC’s Today’s Veterinary Business and Veterinary Practice News, Impromed, AAHA, Veterinary Clinics of North America, and Veterinary Economics-dvm360 publications. She has written numerous other articles, contributed to several books, and appeared on radio and television. Lacroix also volunteers her time and expertise to veterinary and other organizations, including the AVMA, AAHA, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association. She was the 2014–2015 president of the NAVC and is currently chair of the board of PetsPAC and a board member of the Veterinary Innovation Council. Lacroix was recognized and awarded by Lawyer Monthly as one of its “2016 Women in Law.” She was selected as one of the “Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs” in 2018 from among approximately 1,000 other nominations.

Kellie G. Olah, SPHR, SHRM-CP, serves as the human resource consultant for Veterinary Business Advisors, which offers a wide range of practical services to veterinarians and their advisers nationwide, including legal, human resource, and practice management services. Olah provides consulting services along the full spectrum of human resource administrative functions, covering the entire employee lifecycle. She also consults on organizational operations. She manages all operational and administrative aspects of Veterinary Business Advisors, including client services, marketing, computer support, database management, product innovation, and technology development. She also offers communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership coaching for all levels of staff. Olah earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University and is a certified senior professional in human resources. She has a combined 15 years of experience in the legal and human resource fields, previously serving as the head of human resources for a large technology company. She actively volunteers for causes she supports, most notably the Tim Tebow Foundation and the Sean Hanna Foundation.


Using This Guide to Create Your Employee Handbook
Getting Started
Legal Issues
AAHA Planning Worksheet for Employee Handbooks
Part 1. Introducing This Handbook
1.0 The Welcome
2.0 The History
3.0 Practice Mission, Vision, and Core Values
4.0 Practice Culture and Commitment to Diversity
5.0 Employment at Will
Part 2. Employment Practices
6.0 Equal Employment Opportunity
7.0 Immigration Laws
8.0 Antiharassment/Antidiscrimination Policy
9.0 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
10.0 Employee Classification
11.0 Personnel Records: Retention, Access, and Confidentiality
12.0 Work Schedules
13.0 Meal and Rest Break Policy
14.0 Flexible Hours and Flexible Time
15.0 Attendance/Tardiness/Absence
16.0 Facility Shutdown/Severe Weather
Part 3. Wages and Salary
17.0 Pay Periods
18.0 Advancement of Wages
19.0 Time Reporting
20.0 Overtime
Part 4. Policies
21.0 Introductory Period
22.0 Code of Conduct
23.0 Nonsolicitation Policy
24.0 Smoke- and Vape-Free Workplace
25.0 Parking
26.0 Drug-Free and Alcohol-Free Workplace
27.0 Reporting Accidents or Injuries
28.0 Workplace Safety
29.0 Workplace Security
30.0 Workplace Violence Prevention
31.0 Care and Use of Hospital Facilities
32.0 Care and Maintenance of Equipment
33.0 Personal Phone Calls/Cell Phones
34.0 Computers, Internet, and Email
35.0 Social Media Acceptable Use
36.0 Employee Grievances
37.0 Dress Code/Uniform Allowance
38.0 Voting Leave
39.0 Outside Employment/Conflict of Interest
40.0 Confidentiality and Nondisclosure
41.0 Salary and Performance Evaluations
42.0 On-Call Employees and On-Call Pay
Part 5. Employee Benefits
43.0 Veterinary Services
44.0 Vacations
45.0 Holidays
46.0 Sick Leave
47.0 Personal Days
48.0 Paid Time Off (PTO)
49.0 Military Leave
50.0 Domestic Violence Leave
51.0 Leave of Absence
52.0 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
53.0 Maternity Leave
54.0 Parental Leave/Paternity Leave
55.0 Bereavement Leave
56.0 Jury Duty
57.0 Retirement Plans/Profit Sharing/Pension/Bonus or Incentive Programs
58.0 Continuing Education/Educational or Recertification Assistance
59.0 Membership Dues
60.0 Group Life Insurance
61.0 Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance
62.0 Workers’ Compensation Insurance
63.0 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
64.0 Disability Insurance
65.0 Employee Assistance Programs
Part 6. Termination And Resignation
66.0 Disciplinary Procedures
67.0 Termination
68.0 Resignation
69.0 Exit Interview
70.0 Acknowledgment of Receipt
Employee Manual Glossary
About the Editors 
“At each AAHA evaluation, we have received compliments on our handbook, and our practice consultant was impressed that we had been able to modify the options to fit our specific needs and reflect our personal business. This book is an incredible resource and made my job of assembling a handbook so much easier!”
—Brenda Eisenhauer, DVM, Parkside Animal Health Center
AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook is a great resource!”
—Eva Evans, DVM, City Pets Animal Care
“My staff and I struggle with the balance of using phones for work versus phones being a distraction and used for personal reasons during the workday. I am glad to see language included in this new edition to address that practice problem!”
—JC Burcham, DVM, Mariposa Veterinary Wellness Center