Human Resources - Whistleblower Policy

Reporting Wrongful Conduct and Protection From Retaliation

Policy:

It is the policy of Holy Family University, consistent with its core Christian values, to encourage and enable all employees, including faculty and staff, to report concerns regarding suspected wrongful, unlawful or unethical conduct. The University recognizes that fear of retaliation against the person making the report may be a major deterrent to reporting. The purpose of this Policy is to clearly explain that the University prohibits retaliation against those who make good faith reports of possible noncompliance, also referred to as "Whistleblowers," and to set forth the reporting procedures.

Definitions:

  • "Good Faith Report": A report of conduct prohibited under this Policy that is reasonably based on factual observations and that is not made because of personal bias against the person who is the subject of the complaint.
  • "Reporter" or "Whistleblower": A person who witnesses or has evidence of wrongdoing and who makes a good faith report of the wrongful conduct to the University pursuant to the reporting procedures in this Policy.
  • "Wrongful Conduct": A violation of Federal or State law, University Policy or other regulation or code of conduct designed to protect the interest of the University.

Reporting Wrongful Conduct:

All members of the University are expected to report wrongful conduct. Vendors and the general public may also report wrongful conduct of University employees.

To anonymously and confidentially report activities that may constitute wrongful conduct, you may call the EthicsPoint call center by dialing, toll-free, 844-254-3069 or go to holyfamily.ethicspoint.com.

Examples of wrongful conduct to be reported include:

  • Misappropriation or misuse of University resources, such as funds, supplies, or other assets or property;
  • Authorizing or receiving compensation for goods not received or services not performed;
  • Authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked;
  • Fraudulent financial reporting;
  • A deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized personal benefit;
  • Pursuit of a benefit or advantage that would create a conflict of interest;
  • Pursuit of a benefit or advantage through means of extortion or bribery;
  • Forgery or fraudulent alteration of documents;
  • Knowingly engaging in a cover-up of dishonest, fraudulent or unlawful conduct;
  • Destruction of evidence or information related to any threatened or actual legal action or investigations by a federal or state agency; and
  • Violations of environmental or safety regulations.

Confidentiality:

The party to whom wrongful conduct is reported will, upon request by the Whistleblower, keep the Whistleblower's identity confidential unless otherwise required by law or where necessary to allow the University or law enforcement officials to effectively investigate or respond to the report. The University will maintain records of all complaints for at least 3 years in a manner that is reasonably designed to protect the identity of the Reporter, if known.

False Reports:

This Policy also prohibits persons from knowingly and intentionally making a report that is false. Allegations of suspected Wrongful Conduct that are not substantiated but are made in good faith will not constitute false reports.

Investigating Allegations of Wrongful Conduct: All complaints will be promptly reviewed and appropriate action will be taken to investigate reports of wrongful conduct. Whistleblowers will be informed, where permitted by law, of any corrective action taken by the University.

Sanctions:

Anyone determined to have engaged in wrongful conduct will be subject to disciplinary action by the University up to and including dismissal or expulsion. Civil action or criminal prosecution may be taken in addition to or in place of any University discipline.

Protection From Retaliation:

The University will not retaliate against any member of the University community or a relative of such a person who is an employee or student at the University, who makes a report of wrongful conduct in good faith and without malice, or who participates in the investigation of such a report. The types of retaliation that are prohibited include, but are not limited to: intimidation; adverse actions with respect to the Reporter's work assignments, salary, vacation, and other terms of employment; adverse actions against a relative of the Reporter who is a University employee or student; unlawful discrimination; any threats of such acts. This protection from retaliation is not intended to prohibit the University from taking action, including disciplinary action, in the usual course of the University's duties and responsibilities where such actions have an independent and valid basis.

The University will investigate separately any reports of conduct that may constitute retaliation against a person who has made a good faith allegation of conduct prohibited under this policy. Reports of retaliation may be made by the same means as reporting wrongful conduct, explained above.

Additional Protections For Employees Working on Federal Grants and Contracts

The Pilot Program for Enhancement of Employee Whistleblower Protection (41 U.S.C. § 4712)(the "Program") is effective until January 1, 2017. The Program provides protections for employees against reprisal for certain whistleblowing activities in relation to federal grants and contracts (but does not apply to grantees or contractors of federal awards from the Department of Defense, NASA, Coast Guard, or any element of the intelligence community as defined in Section 3(4) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3003(4)).

The Program specifies that employers may not discharge, demote, or otherwise discriminate against an employee as reprisal for the employee disclosing information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of:

  • Gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant;
  • A gross waste of Federal funds;
  • An abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant;
  • A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or
  • A violation of law, rule or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant.

Whistleblower protections cannot be waived by any agreement, policy, form, or condition of employment. To receive the protections, an employee must disclose the information to one of the following:

  • A member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress;
  • An Inspector General;
  • The Government Accountability Office;
  • A federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant federal agency;
  • An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency;
  • A court or grand jury; or
  • A management official or other employee of the University who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct.

Any employee who believes there has been gross mismanagement of a federal contract or grant, gross waste of federal funds, an abuse of authority relating to a federal contract or grant, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule or regulation, or who believes he or she has been retaliated against because of reporting such activity, should report the activity via EthicsPoint by calling, toll-free, 844-254-3069, or go to holyfamily.ethicspoint.com

The Program also provides a process for an employee to file a complaint outside of the University by submitting it to the Inspector General of the Federal agency that issued the contract or grant in which the alleged activity occurred. Such complaints must be filed within three years of the date of the alleged retaliation.

Additional details, including procedures for filing complaints, may be found in the full statute, 41 U.S.C. § 4712 (Section 828), and at Federal Regulations, 48 C.F.R. § 3.908. To review more about the process and an employee's rights and remedies, you may review the statute here: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:41%20section:4712%20edition:prelim)