Policy No: 2089 Responsible Office: Human Resources Last Review Date: 04/28/2022 Next Required Review: 04/28/2027
This policy emphasizes the University’s commitment to protect individuals who raise good faith concerns involving observed or suspected violations of University of South Alabama (USA) policies or procedures, of state or federal laws, or who cooperate in any inquiry or investigation by USA officials (or any court, agency, law enforcement, or other governmental body), from retaliation or any threat of retaliation by USA officials or other individuals doing work for or on behalf of the University.
This policy applies to all members of the USA community, both the University General Division and USA Health, and pertains to all individuals doing work for or on behalf of the University, including directors, officers, and other organization volunteers.
Good Faith Disclosure: A disclosure of University-related misconduct made with a belief in the truth of the disclosure that a reasonable person in the whistleblower’s situation could have believed based upon the facts at their disposal. A disclosure or concern raised is not in good faith if made with reckless disregard, or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the disclosure. A report does not have to be proven true to be made in good faith.
Retaliation: means any adverse action or creditable threat of an adverse action taken by the University, or any individual doing work for or on behalf thereof, in response to a whistleblower’s good faith disclosure of University-related misconduct, which would dissuade a reasonable person from raising a concern about a possible violation or engaging in other related protected activity.
University-related misconduct: Includes any activity by a member of the USA community that is undertaken in the performance of the individual’s work-related duties, whether or not such action is taken within the scope of the individual’s employment, that is a violation of any state or federal law or regulation, or University policies or procedures, including but not limited to academic or research misconduct, corruption, bribery, theft of property of the University, fraudulent claims, fraud, misappropriation of University or other agency funds, coercion, conversion of assets of the University, discrimination, sexual harassment, violations of civil rights, or other illegal or improper practices.
Whistleblowing: Good faith reporting of real or reasonably perceived University related misconduct.
Whistleblower: Any individual doing work for or on behalf of the University who, in good faith, reports real or perceived University-related misconduct. Whistleblowers do not include complainants who raise issues or concerns through the normal course and scope of the individual’s business-related duties.
4. Policy Guidelines
USA is committed to maintaining a workplace where members of the USA community are free to raise good faith concerns about alleged improper or wrongful activity or University-related misconduct. Individuals are encouraged to report suspected violations of the law; to identify potential violations of policies or procedures of the University, and to provide truthful information in connection with any official inquiry or investigation, per USA’s Ethics and Compliance Hotline policy.
It is against University policy to retaliate against or punish an individual for making a good faith report or participating in an investigation of a complaint. Retaliation includes any action by an individual or group that would discourage a reasonable person or persons from such protected activity. A University General Division (campus) employee should report retaliation in violation of University policy to the Human Resources Department or Chief Compliance Officer. A USA Health employee should report the same to the USA Health Human Resources Department, or the USA Health Chief Compliance Officer.
Reports of retaliation under this policy must be made in writing to include sufficient detail of the facts and circumstances, including dates/names of relevant persons and the alleged retaliatory acts. Supervisors or other individuals receiving reports under this policy must forward the report to their respective Human Resources Department or Office of Compliance. The Ethics and Compliance Hotline can also be used to report retaliation concerns as follows:
Human Resources Department will seek to assure all members of the USA community are aware of and abide by this policy. Failure to comply with this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
7. Related Documents
7.1 Ethics and Compliance Hotline (policy)
7.2 Discrimination and Harassment (policy)