Fraud and Whistleblower Policy

Effective Date:

September 1, 2018

Supersedes:

Fraud and Whistleblower Policy Effective June 20, 2012

Policy Review Date:

3 years on the anniversary of its effective date

Issuing Authority:

RF President

Policy Owner:

Joshua B. Toas, Vice President of Compliance and Chief Compliance Officer

Contact:

518-434-7145

rfcompliance@rfsuny.org

Reason for Policy

The Research Foundation ("RF") expects its employees and representatives to maintain the highest standards of conduct and ethics. All individuals doing work on behalf of the RF must act with honesty, integrity, and transparency in all their dealings as representatives of the RF as outlined in the RF’s Code of Conduct. Failure to follow the standards outlined in the Code of Conduct, violating corporate Policy, or committing other acts of Improper Conduct may result in disciplinary action including: possible separation of employment, dismissal from one’s board or volunteer duties, and possible civil or criminal prosecution.

Management is responsible for the detection and prevention of fraud, waste, and abuse or other Improper Conduct involving anyone representing or acting on behalf of the RF, or those doing business with the RF, by implementing appropriate risk-based internal controls to protect corporate interests, and determining the appropriate corrective measures to take following an investigation.

This policy is meant:

  1. To encourage all individuals doing work on behalf of the RF to raise or report good faith concerns regarding suspected or actual Improper Conduct;
  2. To facilitate cooperation in any inquiry or investigation;
  3. To prohibit Retaliation against any employee making a Good Faith Disclosure or participating in good faith in a RF investigation under this policy;
  4. To facilitate the development of controls aiding the detection and prevention of Improper Conduct; and
  5. To promote behavior consistent with the RF’s Code of Conduct.

Statement of Policy

Allegations of Improper Conduct must be reviewed by the Office of Compliance Services pursuant to the RF’s Procedures for Investigating Fraud and Misconduct and without regard to the suspected wrongdoer’s length of service, position, title, or relationship to the RF. Investigations will be carried out as determined by the Office of Compliance Services.

RF employees and representatives shall report suspected fraud, waste, abuse or other Improper Conduct as soon as possible. Supervisors have an affirmative duty to report Improper Conduct to the Office of Compliance Services.

Allegations of Harassment of Discrimination

Any investigation of complaints or allegations reported to the Office of Compliance Services or through the Ethics Hotline, must be conducted at the direction of the Chief Compliance Officer. Allegations that involve potential Discrimination or Harassment in addition to other Improper Conduct must be referred to the Office of Compliance Services for initial review. Complaints or allegations that relate to Discrimination or Harassment will be referred to the Office of Human Resources to be reviewed pursuant to the RF’s:

Reporting

If you know of, or have good reason to suspect, an unlawful or unethical situation or believe you are a victim of prohibited workplace conduct, you should immediately report the matter through any of the following communication channels:

Whistleblower Protection & Prohibited Retaliation

The RF will not tolerate the Harassment or victimization of any employee who, in good faith, raises concerns or participates in an RF investigation of potential violations of RF Policy.

No RF Employee or representative may take harmful or adverse action intended to interfere with the terms and conditions of a Whistleblower’s employment or livelihood, as punishment for participating in an internal investigation, or making a Good Faith Disclosure of actual or perceived fraud, waste, and abuse or other Improper Conduct.

Prohibited Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, threats of physical harm, loss of job, punitive work assignments, or impact on salary or fees. Individuals who believe that they have been retaliated against may file a written complaint consistent with the "Reporting" section of this document.

Any complaint of Retaliation will be investigated, and appropriate corrective measures will be taken if allegations of Retaliation are substantiated. This protection from Retaliation is not intended to prohibit supervisors from taking action, including disciplinary action, in the usual scope of their duties and based on valid performance-related or other non-retaliatory factors.

Whistleblower complaints and other allegations of misconduct will be handled with sensitivity, discretion, and confidentiality to the extent allowed by the circumstances and the law. Whistleblower complaints will only be shared with those who have a need to know so that the RF can conduct an effective investigation, determine what action to take based on the results of any such investigation, and in appropriate cases, share investigation results with law enforcement personnel. Should disciplinary or legal action be taken against such person(s) as a result of a Whistleblower complaint, such person(s) may also have the right to know the identity of the Whistleblower.

Whistleblowers or other complainants must not take part in any investigative processes unless explicitly requested to do so by investigators and must not conduct their own investigation or review of the misconduct unless otherwise directed.

Investigation

All allegations of Improper Conduct and related matters, including suspected but unproven matters, will be reviewed and analyzed with documentation of the receipt, retention, investigation, and treatment of the complaint or allegation consistent with the RF’s Procedures for Investigating Fraud and Misconduct. The Office of Compliance Services should, as necessary, consult with Internal Audit, Human Resources, Employee Relations, and the Office of General Counsel in furtherance of the review of allegations. Investigations, when required, will be conducted as thoroughly and efficiently as possible, based on the nature and complexity of the allegations.

The Office of Compliance Services has the primary responsibility for managing and monitoring internal complaints; Whistleblower complaints; allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse or other Improper Conduct; and allegations submitted through the Ethics Hotline. Investigations will be coordinated and supervised by the Office of Compliance Services. Allegations of Improper Conduct must not be investigated by or at the direction of an Operations Manager or any other official exercising RF authority unless directed or coordinated by the Office of Compliance Services.

All inquiries concerning the activity under investigation from the suspected individual, his or her attorney or representative, or any other inquirer must be directed to Office of Compliance Services or the appointed investigator.

Findings and Corrective Action

Findings will be communicated to appropriate officials at the discretion of the Chief Compliance Officer. If the investigation substantiates that Improper Conduct has occurred, the Office of Compliance Services, Human Resources, Office of General Counsel, and/or Office of Internal Audit may issue reports to appropriate personnel and to the Board of Directors through the Audit Committee.

RF Central Office Management in consultation with the relevant Operations Manager is responsible for determining the appropriate corrective actions to take following an investigation or a finding of Improper Conduct. Employee discipline must be implemented in a manner consistent with the RF’s Progressive Discipline Policy.

Referral to Law Enforcement or Regulatory Agencies

Decisions to prosecute or refer the results of an investigation to appropriate law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for independent investigation will be made by the Chief Compliance Officer in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, the RF President, the Board and others as needed.

RF Central Office Management will determine whether any sponsor disclosure is required after a review of relevant legal requirements and the advice of the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Compliance Services.

Responsibilities

The following table outlines the responsibilities for compliance with this Policy:

Responsible Party

Responsibility

Campus-based Employees

Raise or report good faith concerns regarding suspected or actual Improper Conduct

Immediately report ongoing acts that threaten the immediate health and safety of staff or facilities to the appropriate local authorities, i.e. New York State University Police or environmental health and safety.

After the immediate threat is addressed, notify the local Operations Manager.

Operations Managers, Deputy Operations Managers, and Supervisors

Immediately report Improper Conduct to the Office of Compliance Services. Accordingly, an Operations Manager or supervisor who becomes aware of suspected Improper Conduct must not:

Contact the person suspected to further investigate the matter or demand restitution unless otherwise directed to do so by the Office of Compliance Services;

Discuss the case with outside attorneys, the media, or anyone other than RF Counsel, Internal Audit, or the Office of Compliance Services; or

Report the case to an authorized law enforcement officer without first discussing the case with RF Central Office Management.

RF Central Office Management

Oversee the detection and prevention of fraud, waste, and abuse or other Improper Conduct involving anyone representing or acting on behalf of the RF or those doing business with the RF by:

Implementing appropriate risk-based internal controls to protect corporate interests;

Notifying the Office of Compliance Services of suspected Improper Conduct; and

Determining the appropriate corrective measures to take following an investigation, consistent with the RF’s Progressive Discipline Policy.

Determine whether any sponsor disclosure is required after a review of relevant legal requirements and the advice of the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Compliance Services.

Office of Compliance Services

Maintain and publicize the Ethics Hotline

Manage and monitor internal complaints; Whistleblower complaints; allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse or other Improper Conduct; and allegations submitted to the Office of Compliance services or through the Ethics Hotline.

Issue reports to appropriate designated personnel and to the Board of Directors through the Audit Committee.

Definitions

Baseless Allegations- Allegations made with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity or with willful ignorance of their truth or falsity.

Discrimination- Treatment of an individual based on that individual's Protected Trait. Differences in treatment are not Discrimination under this policy where those differences are permitted or required by law.

Harassment- Abuse, intimidation/threats/coercion, assault, and/or other unwelcomed conduct related to a Protected Trait, where the conduct has the purpose or effect of:

  1. Unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work environment; or
  2. Creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the employee.

    Such conduct includes verbal, visual, or physical conduct directed at an individual because of a Protected Trait, to include slurs, insults, insulting/derogatory pictures, assault, blocking ingress/egress, and other unwelcome behaviors.

    Improper Conduct- A deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit or misleading an RF representative, government official, vendor or other entity doing business with the RF. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:

Related Information

RF Code of Conduct

RF Conflicts of Interest Policy

Procedures for Investigating Fraud and Misconduct

Equal Opportunity and Antidiscrimination Policy

Nonharassment in the Workplace Policy

Procedure for Resolving Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Complaints

Forms

Fraud Incident Report

Change History

Date

Change History

September 1, 2018

Updated reporting channels and provided additional clarification around roles and responsibilities under this policy.

June 30, 2012

New Policy Supersedes the Fraud Policy

 

 

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Copyright © 2012 The Research Foundation for The State University of New York