Biola University is committed to promoting compliance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations, as well as university policies and procedures. In addition, the university has a responsibility for the stewardship of university resources, including the support that enables the university to pursue its mission. As such, the university expects its employees to perform their duties in accordance with such laws, regulations, policies, and procedures.
This policy is intended to encourage and enable employees who have good-faith serious concerns about any unethical, fraudulent, or illegal conduct within the university, to report them to the university. This policy is intended to complement and supplement existing university policies and procedures. As such, it does not affect any rights, responsibilities or procedures set forth in other university policies and procedures addressing academic and disciplinary matters, grievances, and other matters as to which there are specific university policies and procedures.
This policy further serves to protect employees who report suspected violations from retaliation in any form. The university will not tolerate harassment, retaliation, or reprisals against an employee who, in good faith, makes a report of potential misconduct or cooperates with an investigation involving potential misconduct.
What Can be Reported?
This policy applies to serious concerns relating primarily to suspected or actual unethical, fraudulent, or illegal conduct that violates state or federal law or regulation or internal policy or procedure. Unethical, fraudulent, or illegal conduct generally means any willful or deliberate act performed with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit by deception or other unethical or illegal means. Such conduct includes but is not limited to the following categories: (1) accounting and financial, (2) human resources, (3) information technology, (4) risk and safety matters, and (5) athletics.
This policy is not intended to address every concern that may arise in the workplace. Employees should be aware that the university has other policies and procedures and available channels of communication for reporting concerns that may not be covered by this policy and/or for which there may be more appropriate mechanisms for addressing such concerns. Also, this policy is not intended and may not be used for academic matters, personal or employment grievances, general compensation and benefit complaints, opinions on policies, etc. For these matters, employees are encouraged to bring their concerns directly to their supervisor or manager, Human Resources, or other campus entity as appropriate. In addition, student conduct issues should be reported to Student Development, which has existing procedures in place to address such issues.
Also, discrimination and harassment issues usually cannot be addressed fully and appropriately when the complainant chooses to remain anonymous. Instead, these matters should be reported directly to Human Resources, Campus Safety, or Student Development, as appropriate.
Procedure on Reporting
An individual may submit complaints, concerns, and information regarding suspected or actual unethical, fraudulent, or illegal conduct to their immediate manager or supervisor. However, if the individual is not comfortable speaking with his or her manager or supervisor, is not satisfied with their manager or supervisor’s response, or if the concern relates to a particularly serious or sensitive issue, the individual may file a report using the university’s hotline service via EthicsPoint. An individual may file a report with EthicsPoint in one of two ways:
- Submit a report through the university’s portal web page on EthicsPoint; or
- Call the university’s toll-free number at EthicsPoint.
Reports using the university’s web or phone hotline service may be submitted anonymously. Individuals who choose to identify themselves when submitting a report may be contacted by a university representative to gather additional information. If the reporter’s identity is known, the university will keep confidential all communications with the reporting individual to the extent permissible under applicable law.
When submitting a report, the individual should provide as much detailed information as possible, including the background and history of the concern, names, dates, and places where possible and the reasons why the situation is reason for concern. If an individual submits a report anonymously, EthicsPoint allows an anonymous reporter to check on the status of a report, provide additional information, or respond to questions using a report key and password.
Upon receipt of a report, EthicsPoint will forward the report to the Office of Legal Counsel, which will then forward the report to the individual who oversees the subject matter of the report (unless that person is named in the report). This individual will either conduct the investigation or delegate it to another person (if appropriate). If needed, an outside investigator may be used.
Please note that an investigation is not an indication of whether the alleged conduct has been confirmed or rejected. To protect individuals and the university, initial inquiries will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, the form and scope of the investigation. Where appropriate, reports will be investigated promptly. To the extent practicable, investigations will adhere to the following procedures:
- Potential witnesses will be identified and separately interviewed;
- All relevant documents will be gathered and preserved;
- All witnesses interviewed will be reminded of this policy; and
- If known, the reporting party will be contacted periodically to ensure that no retaliatory actions have been taken against him or her.
Any employee who refuses to cooperate with an investigation or the foregoing procedures will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
At the conclusion of an investigation, appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action will be taken where allegations are verified and/or otherwise substantiated.
No record of a report concerning a particular employee and no record of any review or investigation will be placed in an employee’s personnel file unless and until the employee has been found to have engaged in the alleged misconduct.
The university recognizes that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make, especially due to the fear of retaliation. As such, this policy prohibits the discharge, demotion, suspension, harassment, intimidation, or otherwise retaliation against an individual based on the individual’s good-faith report of potential non-compliance, or based on the individual’s cooperation with an investigation regarding a report of potential non-compliance. Such retaliation is prohibited regardless of whether the matter reported is substantiated.
Individuals who believe that they have been subject to any conduct that violates this policy may file a complaint using the procedures outlined above. Any employee who discriminates or retaliates against another employee as a result of his or her protected actions as described in this policy may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.
Sanctions for False or Malicious Allegation
All reports made under this policy in good faith will be taken seriously. However, an individual who files a report or provides evidence that he or she knows to be false or without a reasonable belief in the truth or accuracy of such information will not be protected by this policy and may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.