Frequently Asked Questions


Q.  What is the UAB Ethics Hotline?
A.  The UAB Ethics Hotline is an anonymous way to ask questions or report concerns about unethical or unlawful work-related behavior that you are not comfortable discussing with your immediate supervisor, higher-level management, or other support units within UAB.  To file a report by phone or online call the toll-free number or click on the "File a Report Online" button on the right.

Q.  Why does UAB have an Ethics Hotline?
A.  The Ethics Hotline was implemented as an additional mechanism for individuals to report concerns of unethical and unlawful behavior and to ensure that, if they are not comfortable discussing these matters with others internally, they have a way to raise or report concerns anonymously, through an outside third party.

Q.  Who can use the UAB Ethics Hotline?
A.  Anyone can. The UAB Ethics Hotline is designed for use by all members of the UAB community – faculty, staff, students, patients, volunteers, visitors, vendors, contractors -- regardless of whether the concern relates to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB Health System, University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (HSF), or other UAB affiliates.

Q.  When can I use the UAB Ethics Hotline?
A.  The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by trained professionals who take calls and ensure reports are made to appropriate university personnel for follow-up.  Report online here by clicking on the "File a Report Online" button or by calling the toll-free number on the right.

Q.  What type of concerns should I report to the UAB Ethics Hotline?
A.  You should call the UAB Ethics Hotline or file a report online if you have questions or concerns about possible violations of legal or ethical standards that you do not feel comfortable raising through traditional management channels.  Examples of such concerns include:

  • Illegal or fraudulent activity;
  • False claims, financial missatements, or accounting or auditing irregularities;
  • Undisclosed or unmanaged conflicts of interest;
  • Violations of the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct;
  • Physical, sexual, verbal, and mental abuse;
  • Gross mismanagement of a contract or grant;
  • Gross waste of funds;
  • Abuse of authority relating to a contract or grant, including the competition for or negotiation of a contract;
  • Giving false information or knowingly making false statements in an investigation;
  • A substantial or specific danger to public health or safety;
  • A violation of law, regulation, UAB policy, contractual obligation, or grant;
  • A supervisor or UAB official compelling a UAB Member to violate a law, regulation, UAB policy, contractual obligation, or grant;
  • Falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism of research or scholarly activities or the pressure or demand to do the same; or
  • Retaliation taken against a UAB Member.

Please keep in mind that UAB has alternative mechanisms for employees to report human resources-related issues.  Any such issue, including any complaint of discrimination or harassment, should be brought to the attention of your supervisor, another supervisor in your department, or a representative of the Office of Human Resources.

Q.  Who receives calls made to the UAB Ethics Hotline/reports made online?
A.  The hotline is administered by The Network, Inc., a third-party organization that has provided confidential hotlines for nearly 25 years.  TNI employees are trained in interviewing techniques and documenting information by phone and online.  All TNI employees sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements as a condition of their employment.

Q.  How does the UAB Ethics Hotline work?
A.  When you call the toll-free number, a TNI employee will gather specific information from you related to the reported activity.  You may be asked additional questions that are specific to UAB or the nature of the incident.

Q.  What happens after I call the UAB Ethics Hotline?
A.  After a brief, pre-recorded message that allows you to select your preferred language, the call is immediately routed to the best available Interview Specialist speaking your preferred language.  The Interview Specialist will ask a series of questions to build a report and then send the report to UAB.  At your discretion, you may or may not choose to share your name and contact information.

Q.  How do I file a report online with the UAB Ethics Hotline?
A.  Click on the “File a Report Online” button on the right of this page (www.uab.edu/ethics).  This will take you to The Network, Inc.'s secure Web Reporting System.  After reading the information provided there, click on "Begin a New Report."  The system will provide directions on how to fill out the form.

Q.  What happens after I file the online form?
A.  Once you submit a report, it is downloaded, and an incident report is built and sent to UAB.  You will be given an incident report number so that you can add information to the report and/or follow up on your report's status at a later date.

Q.  Will I be disciplined or reprimanded in any way because I made a report to the UAB Ethics Hotline?
A.  No.  UAB prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports any concern in good faith.

Q.  Can I be assured that my call(s) will remain anonymous and confidential?
A.  Yes.  At no time will your call to the UAB Ethics Hotline be traced or tape-recorded.  In addition, UAB will not attempt to determine the identity of any anonymous caller.  However, it is important to understand that the information you provide may be the basis for an ethics review by UAB, and that your identity may be inadvertently discovered during the course of that review.  Any such information is used with discretion by the investigators.  Even if that happens, UAB will not retaliate against anyone who reports any concern in good faith.

Q.  What should I do if I am contacted to participate in an ethics review?
A.  If you are contacted to participate in an ethics review, you will be expected to cooperate fully and answer any questions openly and honestly.  You should keep the matter completely confidential and not speak to anyone about it, unless as directed by the reviewer assigned to the case.  If you have concerns about the review or questions about what you should do as a participant in a review, you may contact the University Compliance Office at (205) 996-6540.  In addition, you may be asked to assist in the development and implementation of any corrective actions resulting from the review.

Q.  Can I use the UAB Ethics Hotline telephone option if I am hearing impaired?
A.  Yes, TNI supports hearing-impaired individuals who subscribe to a TTY translation service.

Q.  Can I use the UAB Ethics Hotline if English is not my primary language?
A.  TNI's telephone service is available in 150 languages to support the UAB Ethics Hotline.