Individuals are encouraged to report suspected incidents of unlawful activities by SDSU Research Foundation (SDSURF) employees in the performance of their duties. Reports will be investigated promptly and appropriate remedies applied. Employees who, in good faith, reported such activities and/or assist SDSURF in the investigation will be protected from retaliation.
What is a whistleblower?
A “whistleblower” is an employee who discloses information to a government or law enforcement agency where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses:
- A violation of a state or federal statute,
- A violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation, or
- With reference to employee safety or health, unsafe working conditions or work practices in the employee’s employment or place of employment.
Filing a Report of Suspected Unlawful Activities
Any person may report allegations of suspected unlawful activities. Knowledge or suspicion of such unlawful activities may originate from co-workers, supervisors, managers, internal or external auditors, law enforcement, regulatory agencies, customers, vendors, students or other third parties.
Anonymous reports will be investigated to the extent possible. However, employees are strongly encouraged not to report anonymously because doing so impedes SDSURF’s ability to thoroughly investigate the claim and take appropriate remedial measures. Retaliation against individuals who, in good faith, report suspected unlawful activities will not be tolerated.
Normally, a report by an SDSURF employee of allegations of a suspected unlawful activity should be made to the reporting employee’s immediate supervisor or other appropriate manager within the operating unit. However, if the report involves or implicates the direct supervisor or others in the operating unit, the report may be made to another manager whom the reporting employee believes to have either responsibility over the affected area or the authority to review the alleged unlawful activity on behalf of SDSURF. When the alleged unlawful activity involves the SDSURF Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer, the report should be made to the SDSU Associate Vice President of Administration by calling (619) 594-6018.
Allegations of suspected unlawful activities should be made in writing so as to assure a clear understanding of the issues raised, but may be made orally. Such reports should be factual and contain as much specific information as possible. If the report is made orally, the receiving supervisor or manager shall reduce it to writing and make every attempt to get the reporter to confirm by his or her signature that it is accurate and complete.
Once the receiving supervisor or administrator has received and/or prepared a written report of the alleged unlawful activity, he or she must immediately forward it to the Director of Human Resources. The person who receives the written report pursuant to this paragraph is responsible for ensuring that a prompt and complete investigation is made by an individual with the competence and objectivity to conduct the investigation, and that the assistance of counsel and/or an outside investigator is secured if deemed necessary.
While investigating allegations of unlawful conduct, all individuals who are contacted and/or interviewed shall be advised of SDSURF’s no-retaliation policy. Each individual shall be: a) warned that retaliation against the reporter(s) and/or others participating in the investigation will subject the employee to discipline up to and including termination; and b) advised that if he or she experiences retaliation for cooperating in the investigation, then it must be reported immediately.
In the event that an investigation into alleged unlawful activity determines that the allegations are accurate, prompt and appropriate corrective action shall be taken.
Protection from Retaliation
When a person makes a good-faith report of suspected unlawful activities to an appropriate authority, the report is known as a protected disclosure. SDSURF employees and applicants for employment who make a protected disclosure are protected from retaliation.
An employee who believes he or she has been (1) subjected to or affected by retaliatory conduct for reporting suspected unlawful activity, or (2) for refusing to engage in activity that would result in a violation of law, should report such conduct to the appropriate supervisory personnel (if such supervisory personnel is not the source of or otherwise involved in the retaliatory conduct). Any supervisory employee who receives such a report, or who otherwise is aware of retaliatory conduct, is required to advise the Director of Human Resources. If the allegations of retaliation or the underlying allegations of unlawful conduct involve the Director of Human Resources, the supervisor shall report to the highest level manager who is not implicated in the reports of unlawful activity and retaliation.
All allegations of retaliation shall be investigated promptly and with discretion, and all information obtained will be handled on a “need to know” basis. At the conclusion of an investigation, as appropriate, remedial and/or disciplinary action will be taken where the allegations are verified and/or otherwise substantiated.
If an alleged unlawful activity is found not to have occurred and it can be proven that the allegation was not made in good faith, SDSURF may take disciplinary action as appropriate up to and including termination of employment against the employee making the allegation.
How to Report Improper Acts
If you have information regarding possible violations of state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations, or violations of fiduciary responsibility by a corporation or limited liability company to its shareholders, investors, or employees, report such incidents directly to:
- The SDSU Associate Vice President of Administration by calling (619) 594-6018;
- The BSA via the California Whistleblower Hotline at (800) 952-5665 or by mailing concerns to Investigations, P.O. Box 1019, Sacramento, CA 95812;
- Submit a complaint online to: http://www/auditor/ca/gov/hotline (Note: The state auditor does not accept complaints sent by e-mail); or
- The California State Attorney General’s Whistleblower Hotline at (800)-952-5225 or (916)322-3360. The Attorney General will refer your call to the appropriate government authority for review and possible investigation.
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