Duty to Report and Non-retaliation Policy

Duty to Report and Non-retaliation Policy

Abstract:
This policy supports the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct and the University's commitment to maintain an open environment in which UAB Members are able to raise Good Faith concerns and assist appropriate authorities in investigating potential Wrongful Conduct.
Effective Date:
9/30/2014
Contacts:
None Assigned
Administrative Category:
Applies To:
Faculty, Staff, Students
Material Original Source:

University of Alabama at Birmingham

DUTY TO REPORT and NON-RETALIATION POLICY

September 30, 2014

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Related Resources

UAB Contacts for Compliance Questions
 

INTRODUCTION

This policy supports the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct and the University’s commitment to a culture of trust, integrity, and accountability by maintaining an open environment in which UAB Members are able to raise Good Faith concerns and assist appropriate authorities in investigating potential Wrongful Conduct.

 

SCOPE

This policy applies to all UAB employees, regardless of category or status, volunteers, and students (“UAB Members”). 

 

DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

Good Faith:  An honest, reasonable belief that Wrongful Conduct has occurred or is occurring.  A belief does not have to be proven true to be Good Faith.  Knowingly making a statement that is misleading, false, or deceptive or willfully ignoring facts that would disprove a belief that Wrongful Conduct has occurred is Bad Faith.

Retaliation:  An adverse action(s) taken against an individual who makes a Good Faith report of Wrongful Conduct or who participates in an investigation. Examples of such include, but are not limited to:

  • Unjustified termination of employment, demotion, suspension, refusal to hire, denial of training and/or promotion, or threats of the same;
  • Unjustified actions affecting employment such as unjustified negative evaluations, unjustified negative references, adjusting compensation or benefits, increased surveillance, or threats of the same;
  • Discrimination, harassment, or bullying by intimidation, humiliation, or social isolation, which can occur directly or indirectly (e.g., via e-mail, social or professional networking sites, etc.);
  • Creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working environment;
  • Treatment disparate to others similarly situated, including  addressing performance issues that had been allowed or accepted prior to his/her Good Faith report;
  • Unjustified actions affecting academic career or degree progress (such as unjustified grading, negative references, thesis or dissertation committee decisions, etc.); or
  • Any other action, threat, or comment, either direct or implied, that is likely to deter an individual from reporting or raising concerns or cooperating with investigations.

Retaliation does not include the following:

  • Appropriate consequences resulting from a violation of a law, rule, policy, or procedure; or
  • A negative comment in an otherwise positive or neutral evaluation or
  • That is justified by poor performance or history.

Wrongful Conduct:  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Illegal or fraudulent activity;
  • False claims, financial misstatements, or accounting or auditing irregularities;
  • Undisclosed or unmanaged conflicts of interests;
  • 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 and other resources;
  • Abuse of authority, including that relating to a contract or grant;
  • Giving false information, knowingly making false statements, or failing to cooperate in an investigation;
  • A substantial and 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, as that term is defined above.
 

POLICY STATEMENT

UAB is committed to upholding all laws, regulations, and policies governing its activities.  UAB Members are expected to report Wrongful Conduct and cooperate with investigations as set forth below, understanding that they are protected in doing so in Good Faith.

Reporting Responsibility

All UAB Members have a duty to properly report or cause to be properly reported any Wrongful Conduct.   Additionally, as appropriate, UAB Members must cooperate with any investigation.

Concerns of Wrongful Conduct posing actual or imminent danger or threats of violence to persons or property are to be immediately reported to the UAB Police and/or 911. 

Anyone reporting Wrongful Conduct must act in Good Faith.  Any report determined to be made in Bad Faith is a violation of this policy and the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct.

No Retaliation

Retaliation against any individual who reports, in Good Faith, Wrongful Conduct or who participates in the investigation of Wrongful Conduct is prohibited. 

Any UAB Member who Retaliates against an individual, who, has reported in Good Faith, Wrongful Conduct or who has participated in the investigation of Wrongful Conduct has violated this policy and the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct.   Concerns of Retaliation are to be immediately reported. 

Reporting Process

Individuals should feel free to direct their concerns relating to Wrongful Conduct to any UAB Member who can properly address those concerns.  In most cases, a direct supervisor, HR Consultant, or academic instructor/advisor may be the person best suited to address concerns.  However, if such person is not available or does not satisfactorily respond or if the individual wishes to speak with someone outside of his/her department, he/she may also speak to any UAB Member in management he/she feels comfortable approaching. Reports may also be submitted to the UAB Ethics Hotline.  The UAB Ethics Matter website (www.uab.edu/ethics) and the UAB Compliance Risk Directory include additional resources for reporting, as well as contact information.   The UAB Ethics Matter website also includes information for reporting outside of UAB.

Any UAB official, advisor, manager, or supervisor receiving a report or other information relating to possible Retaliation must immediately inform either the University Compliance Office, Office of Counsel, or HR Employee Relations, as appropriate.

Any UAB official, advisor, manager, or supervisor receiving a report or other information relating to a Wrongful Conduct must address or escalate the report.  Based on the nature of the issue and his/her authority or expertise to address the report in accordance with established legal, regulatory, or university processes, the UAB official, advisor, manager, or supervisor must promptly notify the appropriate UAB office identified in the UAB Compliance Risk Directory.  Such notification must be done prior to initiating an investigation or taking action, unless such action is immediately needed to protect employees, visitors, students, patients, public health or safety, animal welfare, environment, or property.  The UAB office shall be responsible for managing the reported concern, including the escalation process of any such concern. 

Revealing the identity of individuals reporting Wrongful Conduct will be treated with discretion in the investigatory process insofar as the law or federal regulations allow.  Reports made to the UAB Ethics Hotline may be made anonymously. However, UAB encourages anyone reporting Wrongful Conduct to identify himself or herself when making a report in order to help facilitate the investigation of the Wrongful Conduct. 

Review & Investigation

UAB is committed to prompt and thorough review of concerns of Wrongful Conduct.  Review processes may vary based on the subject matter and the unit or body conducting the review.  Where warranted based on the conclusions of a review, UAB will take appropriate actions to correct errors, eliminate deficient practices, and/or make improvements. 

 

NON-COMPLIANCE

Confirmed violations of this policy will result in appropriate consequences commensurate with the offense, up to and including dismissal from academic programs or termination of employment, appointment, or other relationships with UAB.  Interim actions may be taken by UAB prior to final resolution.  Individuals may also be subject to arrest or criminal prosecution.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

The Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration, through the Chief Human Resources Officer, in conjunction with the University Compliance Officer, is responsible for implementing this policy.