WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY

INITIATED:  MARCH 30, 2011                                         APPROVED:  MARCH 30, 2011

PURPOSE

To establish a policy under which an employee who suspects improper conduct with respect to the University may report that improper conduct without risk of retaliation.  This policy is intended to encourage and enable employees to inform the University of improper conduct (as defined below), and participate in hearings, investigations, legislative inquiries, court actions, or other official inquiries.  This policy also is intended to guide the University in actions to address improper conduct. 



APPLICABILITY

All University employees, full time, part time, temporary, casual labor, students.

POLICY

It is the policy of Northern Michigan University to abide by current applicable whistleblower protection law.  No whistleblower who, in good faith reports, is about to report, or participates in the investigation of improper conduct shall be harassed, retaliated against, or suffer adverse employment consequence.  An employee of the University who retaliates against a person who in good faith reports improper conduct is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment as well as any penalties and fines defined by State and Federal law. 

REFERENCES

Michigan P.A. 469 of 1980 (Whistleblower Protection Act)
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Whistleblower Protection Laws and Regulations

INITIATING DEPARTMENTS / DIVISIONS

Public Safety and Police Services / Presidents Division
Internal Auditor / Presidents Division
Human Resources / Finance and Administration Division

PROCEDURES

Definitions:

For purposes of this Policy, the following terms shall have these meanings.

  1. Improper conduct means any action or activity by an employee of the University that is undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties, or with the appearance or representation that it is undertaken in the performance of official duties, whether or not within the scope of those duties, and that:
    1. violates any federal, state, or local law or regulation;
    2. constitutes fraud;
    3. is a misuse or misappropriation of the University’s property;
    4. is an intentional violation of the University’s policies, procedures, rules, or regulations;
    5. is misconduct that potentially exposes the University to financial liability;
    6. is a significant threat to the health or safety of the employees of the University;
    7. is an unauthorized invasion, alteration, destruction, or manipulation of records and/or computer files;
    8. pursues benefits or advantages that violate the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy; or
    9. interferes with the University’s investigation conducted in accordance with this Policy, including any attempt to intimidate or retaliate against Whistleblower(s) or witnesses.
  2. Whistleblower means a person who reports or is about to report improper conduct to the University or takes part in a hearing, investigation, legislative inquiry, court action, or other official inquiry.  The Whistleblower is not a fact finder, investigator, or person who makes any determination regarding corrective action or remediation of improper conduct.  However, whistleblower protection is extended to all those who in good faith cooperate in the investigation of possible Improper conduct.


Reporting Violations:
Any improper conduct shall be reported to the Department of Public Safety & Police Services, the Internal Auditor, or the Human Resources Department.  Incidents involving student employees may also be reported to the Dean of Students. 


Confidentiality
:
Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant or may be submitted anonymously at NMU’s crime tips page. The link to the crime tips page is: 

http://www.nmu.edu/publicsafety/node/81.

Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.   


Sanctions for False Claim or Testimony
:
Any Whistleblower must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the reported actions constitute improper conduct.  Any employee who makes a claim under this Policy in bad faith, or knows or has reason to know that such claim is false or materially inaccurate, shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions.  In appropriate cases, the University may assess the costs of conducting the investigation against an employee who knowingly makes false claims. 

An investigation participant who refuses to participate or respond to reasonable investigative requests, or who knowingly provides false or materially inaccurate information in the course of an investigation shall also be subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination or expulsion from the University.


Obligations
:
No part of this policy will diminish or impair any rights granted under a collective bargaining agreement.