DISCLOSURE OF WRONGFUL CONDUCT (WHISTLEBLOWER) POLICY
Individuals are expected to abide by state and federal laws and regulations as well as university policies. Furthermore, a USM employee cannot be compelled by a supervisor or university official to violate a law or university policy. In the interest of the university and its faculty, staff, and students, individuals who have knowledge of specific acts that he or she reasonably believes violate the law or university policy are strongly encouraged to disclose those acts to an appropriate university official. Deans, directors, department/unit heads and other administrators who have knowledge of specific acts that he or she reasonably believes violate the law or university policy must disclose those acts to an appropriate university official.
This policy supplements the existing Mississippi Code of 1972, § 25-9-171 through 25-9-177 and Section 1553 of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (Public Law 111-5) , and protects reporting individuals who make a good faith report (as defined in this policy) from retaliatory academic or employment action including reprisal in annual reviews or tenure and promotion decisions, discharge, reassignment, demotion, suspension, harassment, or other discrimination.
Reason for Policy/Purpose
The general purpose of this policy is to protect any University of Southern Mississippi (USM) employee or other member of the USM community (hereinafter "individuals") who makes a good faith disclosure of suspected wrongful conduct. More specifically it:
provides individuals who believe they have been subject to reprisal a process to seek relief from retaliatory acts that fall within the authority of the university.
Who Needs to Know This Policy
All members of The University of Southern Mississippi community.
Website Address for this Policy
The university shall devise procedures for handling a good faith report of wrongful conduct and for responding to complaints of reprisal or retaliation against individuals making such reports. Such procedures shall conform to the guidelines detailed below. These procedures should be published on applicable university websites.
If the complainant believes the responsible office may be involved in the wrongful conduct, the complainant shall make the report directly to the next higher level of management and/or the Office of Internal Audit. Any complaint also may be filed online through the ethics line, EthicsPoint. A link can be found on the bottom of the USM.edu home page.
Complainants may also call toll-free: 877-310-0424.
After completing the report online, the complainant will be assigned a unique code called a "report key." The complainant should write down the report key and password and keep them in a safe place. After 5-6 business days, the report key and password can be used to check the report for feedback or questions.
Complaints of Reprisal
Nothing in this policy is intended to interfere with legitimate employment decisions.
The Director of Compliance is responsible for the review of this policy every four years (or whenever circumstances require immediate review).
Additional information regarding whistle blower protection related to ARRA funds may be found at http://www.recovery.gov.
Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes
02/14/12: Formatted for Institutional Policies website.
02/18/13: Formatted for template. Minor editing throughout.