Fraud and Whistleblower Policy

Effective Date:

June 30, 2012

Supersedes:

Code of Conduct, the Conflicts of Interest Policy, and policies on non-retaliation and confidentiality

Mandatory Policy

 

Review Date:

This policy must be reviewed every 3 years on the anniversary of its effective date.

Issuing Authority:

Research Foundation President

Responsible Party:

Chief Compliance Officer

Contact:

518-434-7145

rfcompliance@rfsuny.org

Definitions

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

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

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

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

Good Faith Disclosure: Disclosure of Research Foundation related misconduct to an individual listed in the reporting section below or made via the Ethics Hotline, made with a belief in the truth of the disclosure that a reasonable person in the whistleblower’s situation could have believed based upon the facts. A disclosure is not in good faith if made with reckless disregard, or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the disclosure. A report does not have to be proven true to be made in good faith.

Policy (cies): All RF policies and procedures except the RF’s: EEO Policy; Nondiscrimination and Nonharassment Policy; and Workplace Discrimination or Harassment Complaint Procedure that are reviewed or investigated consistent with those policies.

Retaliation: Any adverse action or credible threat of an adverse action taken by the Research Foundation or any individual doing work for or on behalf the Research Foundation, in response to a Whistleblower’s good faith disclosure of Research Foundation related Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct or in response to any employee’s good faith participation in a Research Foundation investigation under this policy.

Whistleblower: An individual doing work for or on behalf of the Research Foundation who, in good faith, reports Research Foundation related Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct.

Reason for Policy

The Fraud and Whistleblower Policy has the following primary purposes:

  1. To encourage all individuals doing work on behalf of the Research Foundation to raise or report good faith concerns regarding suspected or actual Fraudulent or Dishonest 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 Research Foundation investigation under this policy;
  4. To facilitate the development of controls aiding the detection and prevention of Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct against the Research Foundation; and
  5. To promote behavior consistent with the Research Foundation’s Code of Conduct.

Statement of Policy

Management is responsible for the detection and prevention of Fraud and Dishonest Conduct involving anyone representing or acting on behalf of the Research Foundation or those doing business with the Research Foundation. Management must implement appropriate risk based internal controls to protect corporate interests. Allegations of Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct will be reviewed pursuant to the Research Foundations’ Procedures for Investigating Fraud or Misconduct. Allegations must be reviewed without regard to the suspected wrongdoers length of service, position, title, or relationship to the Research Foundation.

No Director, Officer, employee, or agent of the Research Foundation may take any harmful or adverse action with the intent to retaliate against any person, including interference with employment or livelihood, for providing to a law enforcement officer or appropriate corporate management official any truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission of any offense, suspected misuse, misallocation, or theft of any organization resources, violation of policy, or other unethical conduct.

The Research Foundation expects its employees and representatives to maintain the highest standards of conduct and ethics. All individuals doing work on behalf of the Research Foundation shall act with honesty, integrity, and openness in all their dealings as representatives of the Research Foundation as outlined in the Research Foundation’s Code of Conduct.

The Research Foundation will investigate any reported Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct by individuals doing business on behalf of the Research Foundation. Failure to follow the standards outlined in the Code of Conduct and the commission of Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct may result in disciplinary action including possible termination of employment, dismissal from one’s board or volunteer duties, and possible civil or criminal prosecution.

Individuals are encouraged to report suspected fraudulent or dishonest conduct pursuant to the procedures set forth below.

Reporting

Individuals should report actual or suspected violations of the Code of Conduct, Research Foundation policies, or any potential Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct. You may report suspected or actual violations to:

Reports should provide sufficient, precise and relevant information concerning dates, places, persons, numbers, etc. to allow a reasonable investigation to take place. Individuals should not report suspected or actual violations of conduct to any individual suspected of engaging in that conduct, even if that person is identified as an avenue for complaint. For example, an employee who suspects their supervisor has engaged in a violation of this policy should not report their suspicions to their supervisor, but should instead report to their department chair or another individual or office identified above.

Whistleblowers may file a complaint or concern anonymously. The Research Foundation will explore all allegations, anonymous or not, to the extent possible and will weigh the prudence of continuing such investigations against the likelihood of confirming the alleged facts or circumstances from attributable sources. The Research Foundation will protect anonymous sources to the extent possible or practical.

Individuals that make a Baseless Allegation may be subject to disciplinary action by the Research Foundation, and/or legal claims by individuals accused of such conduct.

Whistleblower Protection

The Research Foundation prohibits Retaliation against Whistleblowers or those who participate in a Research Foundation investigation of violations under this Policy. Whistleblower complaints 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 Research Foundation can conduct an effective investigation, determine what action to take based on the results of any such investigation, and in appropriate cases, may be shared with law enforcement personnel. Should disciplinary or legal action be taken against a person(s) as a result of a whistleblower complaint, such person(s) may also have right to know the identity of the whistleblower.

The Research Foundation and Research Foundation employees and representatives may not retaliate against a whistleblower with the intent or effect of adversely affecting the terms or conditions of the Whistleblower’s employment, because the Whistleblower made a good faith allegation or informing management of activity which that person believes to be fraudulent. Similarly, Research Foundation employees and representatives may not retaliate against individuals who, in good faith, participate in a Research Foundation investigation of violations under this Policy.

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 with their supervisor, Deputy Operation’s Manager, Operations Manager, the Research Foundation President, the Vice-President of Internal Audit, the General Counsel, or Office of Compliance Services. Any complaint of Retaliation will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective measures 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.

The Research Foundation will not tolerate the harassment or victimization of any employee who, in good faith, raises concerns or participates in a Research Foundation investigation of violations of this policy.

Investigation

All relevant matters, including suspected but unproved matters, will be reviewed and analyzed, with documentation of the receipt, retention, investigation and treatment of the complaint or allegation consistent with the Research Foundation’s Procedures for Investigating Fraud or Misconduct. Appropriate corrective action will be taken, if necessary, and findings will be communicated back to the reporting person and his or her supervisor.

Investigations will be conducted as quickly as possible, based on the nature and complexity of the report and the issues raised.

Office of Compliance Services has the primary responsibility for managing and monitoring whistleblower complaints and the ethics hotline. Investigations will be coordinated and supervised by Office of Compliance Services in consultation with Internal Audit and the Office of General Counsel. If the investigation substantiates that fraudulent activities have occurred, Office of Compliance Services, Counsel, and/or Internal Audit will issue reports to appropriate designated personnel and to the Board of Directors through the Audit Committee.

Decisions to prosecute or refer the examination results to appropriate law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for independent investigation will be made in consultation with the Office of General Counsel and the appropriate campus Operations Manager or designee.

RF Management will determine whether any sponsor disclosure is required after a review of relevant legal requirements and an opinion of counsel.

Any complaint or allegation that relates to discrimination or harassment should be reviewed pursuant to the RF’s EEO Policy, Nondiscrimination and Nonharassment Policy, and Workplace Discrimination or Harassment Complaint Procedure. If the complaint or allegation was reported through the RF’s ethics hotline, then a final report should be submitted to Office of Compliance Services.

Responsibilities

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

Responsible Party

Responsibility

Supervisors

  • Are required to report suspected fraudulent or dishonest conduct Accordingly, a supervisor who becomes aware of suspected misconduct:
  • Should not contact the person suspected to further investigate the matter or demand restitution
  • Should not discuss the case with outside attorneys, the media or anyone other than RF Counsel, Internal Audit, or Office of Compliance Services.
  • Should not report the case to an authorized law enforcement officer without first discussing the case with Management

RF Central Office Management

Maintain and publicize an ethics hotline, investigate allegations of Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct, and make required disclosures to appropriate sponsors.

Related Information

RF Code of Conduct; RF Conflicts of Interest Policy; Procedures for Investigating Fraud or Misconduct; EEO Policy; Policy against Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation; and Procedure for Resolving Allegations of Workplace

Forms

None

Change History

Date

Change History

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