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Whistleblower Policy

University of Central Missouri Policy

Policy Name:  Whistleblower Policy

Date Approved:  April 19, 2006; revised and approved April 28,2017

Policy Category: Board of Governors- University Operations

Date Effective:  April 28, 2017

Policy Number: 1.2.220

Date Last Revised:  April 28, 2017

Approval Authority: Board of Governors

Review Cycle: 4 years

Responsible Department: Office of the President

 

Purpose/Policy Statement

The purpose of this policy is to provide protection from retaliation to a person who reports that he or she has witnessed or has evidence of potential personal appropriation of university resources,  any violation of university policy, or other alleged wrongdoing while employed with the university and who communicates, in good faith, or testifies to, the alleged wrongdoing verbally or in writing, to one of the employee’s superiors, to an agent of the university or to an appropriate authority, provided that the communication is made prior to any adverse action by the employer. More specifically it:

  1. encourages persons to disclose serious breaches of conduct covered by university policies, procedures or law;
  2. protects employees from reprisal/retaliation by adverse employment action as a result of having disclosed wrongful conduct (employees who self-report misconduct are not afforded protection by this procedure); and
  3. provides individuals who believe they have been subject to reprisal a fair process to seek relief from retaliatory acts.

This policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns within the university prior to seeking resolution outside the university. It is intended to complement and supplement existing policies, procedures and legal requirements. Nothing in this policy is intended to interfere with legitimate employment decisions or other legal right(s).

Scope

This policy applies to all university employees and students.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, reports covered by this policy include, but are not limited to, reports of instances of potential: personal appropriation of university resources, violation of university policy or procedure, or other alleged wrongdoing prohibited by university policy or law.

Procedure

University employees and students are expected to and are responsible for reporting concerns of conduct covered by this policy as soon as possible.  Individuals who make reports of alleged wrongdoing covered by this policy will not be subject to any adverse action for making a good faith report.  Below is information about resources and the reporting process.

Resources

Policies and procedures are included in the following manuals:

The above-referenced resources have been listed for the convenience of employees and students but should not be considered an all-inclusive list. Individuals are encouraged to contact the university policy director, the Office of Human Resources, or the office responsible for the policy or procedure when questions arise regarding university policy and procedures.

Reporting

All members of the university community are encouraged to report any suspected retaliation, harassment or adverse employment consequences as a result of his or her reporting in good faith instances of alleged wrongdoing. An employee should report his or her concerns to a supervisor or manager. If for any reason an employee finds it difficult to report his or her concern to a supervisor or manager, the employee can report it directly to the Office of Human Resources.  A student should report his or her concern to the associate vice provost for student experience and engagement or the Office of Human Resources, who will be able to assist in receiving the report.

Directors, officers, supervisors and managers are required to report suspected violations to the Office of Human Resources, who has responsibility to investigate or refer for investigation all reported violations.

Reasonable care should be taken in dealing with suspected misconduct to avoid:

  1. publication of baseless allegations;
  2. premature notice to persons suspected of misconduct and/or disclosure of suspected misconduct to others not involved with the investigation; and
  3. violations of a person’s rights under law.

Accordingly, an officer, director, manager, or supervisor who receives a report of suspected retaliation:

  1. should not contact the person suspected to further investigate the matter or demand restitution;
  2. should not discuss the case with anyone other than the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Human Resources, the assigned investigator or auditor, or a duly authorized law enforcement officer;
  3. should direct all inquiries from an attorney retained by the suspected individual to the general counsel; and
  4. should direct all inquiries from the media to University Relations.

No officer, director, or employee who, in good faith, reports a violation of policy, procedure or law shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence based on such reporting. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. The university will use best efforts to protect whistleblowers against retaliation. In matters of disclosure, the university will make all reasonable efforts to maintain the identity of the individual making the disclosure confidential, as long as maintaining confidentiality does not interfere with conducting an investigation of the specific allegations or taking corrective action. Whistleblowers should be cautious to avoid baseless allegations.

Fact Finding
If the Office of Human Resources, after consultation with the appropriate senior administrator(s), determines that a possible violation has occurred, the associate vice president of human resources will appoint a disinterested party/committee – depending on the nature of the possible allegation – to investigate the facts of the statement and will notify the subject of the investigation, within 10 (ten) business days, unless notification would limit the effectiveness of the investigation. The disinterested party/committee will present a copy of those relevant facts found to the associate vice president of human resources who will review the information, seek guidance as needed, make a determination, and notify the appropriate senior administrator(s) as to whether a violation has occurred.

Enforcement

If it is determined by the associate vice president of human resources that a violation has taken place, a summary of findings will be presented to the appropriate senior administrator(s) for appropriate action. Action will be based on the extent of the violation and the position held by the employee. Action will be consistent with the applicable UCM policies, procedures, and/or memorandums of understanding.

Appeal Process
Appeals may be provided pursuant to applicable existing avenues for grievance or appeal. Allegations against the president will be reported to the Board of Governors. The decision of the final step in the appeal process, the president’s decision, or the board’s decision, as applicable, will be final.

*If an employee is unsure of their appropriate administrator they may refer to the University of Central Missouri's organizational chart or contact the Office of the Human Resources for assistance.