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Whistleblower Policy

Applies to:Original Policy Date:Date of Last Review:Approved by:
All Florida Tech Employees March 1, 2017 November 2022 Dr. Marco Carvalho
Executive Vice President and Provost

Policy Owner: Office of Human Resources

Policy Purpose

Florida Tech is committed to the highest standards of moral and ethical behavior by all employees and in all activities of the institution. The interests of the university are best served if individuals with knowledge of acts they reasonably believe violate the law or university policy disclose this information to the appropriate university official. This policy outlines how allegations of wrongful conduct can be reported, protection from retaliation for employees who make such a report, and how individuals who believe they have been subjected to retaliation may seek investigation and remediation.

Policy Scope

All employees are covered by this policy.

Policy Statement

Employees are expected to abide by university policies and to conduct university business in an ethical manner, in compliance with all laws and regulations, and to report known or suspected wrongful conduct to the university as described in the procedures that accompany this policy. No University employee may interfere with the good faith reporting of suspected or actual wrongful conduct. Employees acting in good faith to report suspected dishonest, fraudulent, or illegal activity or violation of university policy, or other wrongful conduct, are protected against retaliation for making such a report. If an employee reports that they have been subjected to retaliation for making a report in accordance with this policy, the university will investigate and take necessary steps to remediate the situation if a determination is made that retaliation occurred.

Procedures/Guidelines

  1. If an employee has knowledge of wrongful conduct, the employee should contact the Office of Human Resources or use the reporting form to report the conduct. This reporting form allows the reporter to choose to remain anonymous if they prefer. The employee must exercise sound judgment to avoid baseless allegations.
  2. An appropriate university official will be designated to have primary responsibility for investigating the reported incident.
  3. Individuals who are the subject of a report will be treated fairly, respectfully, and consistent with all protections set out in university policy and applicable law.
  4. The university will make all reasonable efforts to respect the confidentiality of the employee making the disclosure as long as maintaining confidentiality does not interfere with conducting an investigation of the specific allegations, taking corrective action, or in circumstances when: 1) the employee self-discloses identity or other information related to the report directly or indirectly through the employee’s own actions outside of the official investigation process or agrees to be identified; 2) identification is necessary to allow university or law enforcement officials to investigate or respond effectively to the report; 3) identification is required by law; or 4) where findings are required to be reported to any outside agency or entity.
  5. If investigation indicates possible criminal activity, the investigation will be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
  6. The university will not retaliate against employees who act in good faith to report suspected or known wrongful conduct and will not tolerate such retaliation by employees.

    If an employee believes retaliation has occurred against them for reporting wrongful conduct in accordance with this policy, a retaliation complaint may be filed in writing with the Office of Human Resources within 45 days of the employee's discovery of the alleged retaliatory action. If there is more than one instance of alleged retaliation, the complaint must be filed within 45 days of the employee's discovery of the most recent alleged action.

    The right of a whistleblower for protection against retaliation does not include immunity for any personal wrongdoing that is alleged and investigated.

  7. If the Office of Human Resources determines that retaliation has occurred, it will ensure that appropriate remedial action is taken with respect to the employee against whom retaliation has occurred and that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against the employee(s) found to have retaliated.

Nothing in this policy is intended to interfere with bona fide employment and operational decisions.

Definitions

Good Faith Report: An allegation of wrongful conduct made by an individual who believes that wrongful conduct may have occurred. An allegation is not in good faith if it is made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation.

Retaliation: Acts of retaliation include intimidation, threats, and/or harassment, whether physical or communicated verbally or via written communication (including the use of e-mail, texts, and social media), as well as adverse changes in work or academic environments, adverse employment actions such as termination, demotion, suspension, failure to consider for promotion or transfer, reprimand, poor work assignments, or any other negative action, taken directly or indirectly against a reporting person.

Whistleblower: An employee who reports an activity or incident that the employee considers to be illegal, dishonest, and/or a violation of university policy to the university.

Wrongful Conduct: A violation of applicable state and/or federal laws and regulations, a serious violation of university policy, or the use of university property, resources, or authority for personal gain or another purpose that does not promote the university’s interests. See the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy, Ethics Policy, and the Standards of Conduct Policy for specific examples.

Compliance Reference

Whistleblower Protection Act of 2007 (WPA)
Florida Statutes 448.102

Responsibilities

Employees have a responsibility to report known or suspected wrongful conduct to appropriate university officials and to provide full cooperation to ensure a timely and thorough review or investigation of allegations.

The Office of Human Resources, or other designated university official, is responsible to receive and investigate reports of alleged wrongful conduct and to ensure findings are conveyed to the appropriate university official(s) and law enforcement, if applicable.

The Office of Human Resources is responsible to investigate reports of alleged retaliation, determine if retaliation occurred, and ensure remediation of any retaliation determined to have taken place.

Enforcement

Employees found to have knowledge of wrongful conduct and to have knowingly failed to report it, or to have intentionally and knowingly filed a false report of wrongful conduct, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Employees who interfere with the good faith reporting of wrongful conduct or engage in any type of retaliation against an individual who makes such a report in accordance with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

 

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