Whistleblower Protection Policy

Article I

Purpose

It is the intent of Catskill Animal Sanctuary (the “CAS”) to adhere to all laws and regulations that apply to the organization. CAS is committed to maintaining an environment where employees, officers, directors and members are free to raise good faith concerns regarding CAS’s business practices. The purpose of the CAS Whistleblower Protection Policy (the “Policy”) is to:

(1) encourage staff and volunteers to come forward with good faith concerns regarding suspected violations of law, including local, state and federal laws and regulations, as well as violations of adopted policies of CAS;

(2) establish procedures for submitting complaints or concerns regarding illegal practices or serious violations of adopted policies of CAS;

(3) provide protection of whistleblowers from retaliation; and

(4) support CAS’s goal of legal compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies.

This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing whistleblower protection applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.

Article II

Procedures for Reporting a Suspected Violation of Law or Policy

If any director, officer, employee or volunteer of CAS has a good faith concern that a policy, practice, or activity of CAS is in violation of law or an adopted CAS policy, a written report (the “Whistleblower Report”) must be filed by that individual (the “Whistleblower”) with the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is implicated in the Report, it should be directed to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors.

Whistleblower Reports may be submitted on a confidential basis by the Whistleblower or may be submitted anonymously. Whistleblower Reports will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

Whistleblower Reports must be made in good faith and based on reasonable grounds for believing that the information disclosed may indicate a violation of law and/or adopted CAS policy. Any allegations that prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.

The Executive Director or the Board Chairperson as the case may be, must promptly remit all Whistleblower Reports in writing to the CAS Audit Committee.

The CAS Audit Committee is responsible for the implementation of and compliance with the CAS Whistleblower Protection Policy and shall promptly investigate all complaints received in a manner intended to protect the confidentiality of the individual providing the Report, consistent with a full and fair investigation and will report all findings to the CAS Board.

Only the Audit Committee and/or other Independent Directors may participate in any deliberations or voting relating to a Whistleblower Report or investigation provided that nothing in this section shall prohibit the Audit Committee or other Independent Directors from requesting that the Whistleblower or other relevant persons present information as background or answer questions prior to the commencement of deliberations or voting relating thereto. The chairperson of the Audit Committee shall, if appropriate, appoint any person or persons (including an Independent Director, CAS employee or third party) to investigate the Whistleblower Report and report such findings to the Audit Committee, provided however that such investigatory responsibility may not be delegated to any person who is the subject of the Whistleblower Report or in such a manner that would compromise either the identity of the Whistleblower or the confidentiality of the Report or investigation.

Article III

No Retaliation

No director, officer, employee or volunteer of CAS who in good faith reports   any action or suspected action taken by or within CAS that is illegal, fraudulent or in violation of any adopted policy of CAS shall suffer intimidation, harassment, discrimination or other retaliation or, in the case of employees, adverse employment consequences.

Any director, officer, employee or volunteer of CAS who believes that he or she has been subjected to any form of retaliation as a result of reporting a suspected violation of law or policy should immediately report the retaliation to the Chairperson of the CAS Board (the “Retaliation Report”).

Retaliation Reports may be submitted on a confidential basis by the Whistleblower or may be submitted anonymously. Reports will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

The CAS Chairperson must promptly remit all such Retaliation Reports in writing to the CAS Audit Committee.

The CAS Audit Committee shall promptly investigate all Retaliation Reports received in a manner intended to protect the confidentiality of the individual providing the Report, consistent with a full and fair investigation and will report all findings to the CAS Board.

Article IV

Records of Proceedings

The minutes of any meeting of the Board of Directors, Audit Committee and all committees with Board delegated powers at which any Whistleblower Report, Retaliation Report, or related investigation was discussed or voted upon shall contain:

  1. The names of the Whistleblower (where provided) and the names of any persons indicated in the Whistleblower Report or Retaliation Report or related investigation, the nature of the Whistleblower Report or Retaliation Report or related investigation and all material facts relating thereto, any action taken to determine whether a violation of law or policy occurred;
  1. The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the Whistleblower Report or Retaliation Report or related investigation, the content of the discussion, a record of any votes taken or determinations made in connection with the proceedings.

Article V

Distribution of Policy

This Policy shall be distributed to all directors and officers and upon hire or commencement of work by employees and volunteers of CAS. All such recipients shall review the Policy and sign and return an Acknowledgement Statement.

Revised as of December 22, 2014