61-450 01-31-13 Whistleblower Policy Section 1 General These policies are created in accordance with Oglala values of respect, fortitude, and bravery. Oglala Lakota College requires faculty, staff and students to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. Employees and representatives of the organization must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. At OLC accountability is the cornerstone of ethical business practice, and this policy is one of the mechanisms for assuring this institutional value. Section 2 Purpose The general purpose of this policy is to encourage College faculty, staff, and students, who engage in good faith, to report alleged improper activity (or make a protected disclosure) with reassurance they will be protected from retaliation or reprisal. More specifically, this policy encompasses the following: * Encourages faculty, staff, and students to disclose breaches of conduct covered by OLC’s policies or applicable law; * Provides information about how an individual can make a protected disclosure and to whom; * Protects faculty and staff from retaliation or reprisal by adverse employment action as a result of having disclosed or reported an improper activity to College officials who can take corrective action; and * Provides individuals a fair process to seek relief from retaliation or reprisal when they believe they have been subjected to such prohibited acts. Section 3 Reporting Responsibility Each faculty member, staff, and student of Oglala Lakota College has an obligation to report in accordance with this Whistleblower Policy (a) questionable or improper business practices; and (b) improper activity. Section 4 Definitions A. Business Practices shall mean major management or internal control systems of OLC, which shall include, but not be limited to, financial systems (i.e., accounting, auditing, contracting, procurement, timekeeping and reporting), human resources, and workplace safety practices. B. Improper Activity shall mean a serious violation of any applicable law, regulations, or College policy or procedure including, but not limited to, those relating to corruption; malfeasance; bribery; theft of College property or assets; fraud; coercion; conversion; forgery; misappropriation or misuse of OLC assets or proprietary information; kickbacks; illegal discrimination; health and safety regulations; falsification or destruction of OLC records, including time reports; or misuse of one’s official College position or authority for personal gain. C. Protected Disclosure shall mean a good faith communication about an actual or suspected improper business practice or activity. Section 5 No Retaliation This Whistleblower policy is intended to encourage and enable faculty, staff, and students to raise concerns within OLC for investigation and appropriate action. With this goal in mind, faculty, staff, and students are protected from interference with or retaliation for making or having made a protected disclosure. Similarly, faculty and staff may not directly or indirectly use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of their positions or offices to interfere with the rights of an individual to make a protected disclosure to College officials as provided in Section 6. If an employee makes a report of a violation in conformity with these policies, the employee may not: * be dismissed from employment; * have salary increases of employment related benefits withheld; * be transferred, or reassigned, except with their written permission; * be denied a promotion that the employee otherwise would have received; * be harassed by students or other employees because of the report; * be suspended; * be demoted; or * be subject to any other discrimination because of the report. If a student makes a report of a violation in conformity with these policies, the student may not: * be suspended or expelled from college; * have financial aid or other benefits withheld; * be harassed by employees or other students because of the report; * be denied enrollment in classes; * have their grades reduced; or * be subject to any other discrimination because of the report. Moreover, faculty or staff who retaliates against someone who has reported a concern in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. A student who retaliates against someone who has reported a concern in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion from Oglala Lakota College. Section 6 Handling and Reporting Violations Protected disclosures can be reported to one of two Vice-Presidents of the College who shall immediately notify the President of such disclosure. If the protected disclosure involves the Vice-Presidents or President, the employee shall contact the College’s attorney. Reports can be made in person, by telephone, or in writing. Reports may also be submitted anonymously. However, only reports with sufficient information to support an investigation can be acted upon. Reports should contain the name(s) and title(s) of the employee(s) against whom the allegation(s) is being made and a specific description of the misconduct, including dates, times, and any other relevant information needed to substantiate the allegation(s). In addition, the reporter should note how they came to know this information, such as from first-hand observation, a report they received from another person or persons, etc. The Vice-President will notify the sender and acknowledge receipt of the concern in writing within five business days, unless the concern is submitted anonymously. All reports will be promptly investigated by the Vice President, and appropriate corrective action will be recommended to the President, if warranted by the investigation. In addition, action taken must include a written conclusion and/or follow-up with the complainant for complete closure of the concern. Reports involving the auditors shall be handled according to accepted audit practices. All reports will be investigated promptly, and appropriate corrective action will be recommended to the Board of Trustees, if warranted by the investigation. In addition, action taken must include a written conclusion and/or follow-up with the complainant for complete closure of the concern. Administration shall have the authority to retain outside legal counsel, accountants, private investigators, or any other resource deemed necessary to conduct a full and complete investigation of the allegations. Section 7 Acting in Good Faith Anyone reporting a concern must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates an improper practice or business activity. The act of making allegations that prove to be unsubstantiated, and that prove to have been made maliciously, recklessly, or with the knowledge that the allegations are false, will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion of a student. Such conduct may also give rise to other actions, including civil lawsuits. Section 8 Procedure For Oglala Lakota College employees, an allegation of reprisal shall be handled according to the College’s Employee Complaints and Grievances Procedure (65-500-1). For Oglala Lakota College students, an allegation of reprisal shall be handled according to the College’s Student Complaints and Grievance procedure (86-200/86-200-1). Section 9 Confidentiality Protected disclosures shall be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation. Disclosure of reports of concerns to individuals not involved in the investigation will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from college. Such may also give rise to other actions, including civil lawsuits.
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