Reporting Ethical Concerns


It is the responsibility of every individual in the UAB community to maintain the highest levels of personal and professional conduct.  In this section, you will find information on reporting incidents or circumstances in which you believe a UAB employee has violated an ethical standard. 

Before reporting, it is often helpful to seek clarification about the law, regulation, or policy you believe has been violated.  You may find, after closer review, that a violation has not occurred. 

If, however, your review of applicable materials confirms your belief that there has been a violation, it is your responsibility to report it.  There are a number of channels open to you, but only you can determine the most appropriate way to make a report based on the circumstances and your comfort level. 

It is best to communicate the issue first to your immediate supervisor or manager.  If you are uncomfortable reporting the matter to him or her, there are other offices at UAB that can offer you support, including the University Compliance Office or the compliance office for the UAB health-related entity in which your concern arose, Human Resources, Internal Audit, Risk Management, and Legal Counsel.  Employment-related matters, in particular, should be directed to Human Resources.

However, there may be times when you do not feel comfortable reporting your concern to an individual or unit internally or feel that doing so has been unsuccessful in resolving the issue.  In these instances, you should not feel restricted to reporting through traditional management channels.  There is always an alternative available to you -- you may call the UAB Ethics Hotline toll-free at the phone number on the right or submit a report  to the UAB Ethics Hotline online by clicking on the button on this page.  In your report, you may remain anonymous, although providing contact information often helps to facilitate an investigation. 

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.  The hotline is designed for use by all members of the UAB community – the University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB Health System, University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (HSF) and other UAB affiliates.  The hotline is administered by The Network, Inc. (TNI), 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 or online.  All TNI employees sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement as a condition of their employment.

An anonymous hotline is a key component of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002, which sets standards for corporate governance and control.  Most colleges and universities in the United States have adopted components of SOX as ‘best practice’.   Additionally, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations defines a comprehensive ethics and compliance program as one that includes a means for an employee to anonymously report violations of ethics standards.  Multiple federal laws and regulations have been enacted that provide explicit protections for individuals who report concerns about fraud and abuse, including the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.