1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy and procedure statement is to:

1.1     Establish a written policy to protect from retaliation persons who report suspected improper conduct. Such improper conduct may include, but is not limited to, allegations of corruption, theft or fraud or any suspected improper activity with respect to financial statement disclosures, accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters.

1.2     Set forth the appropriate procedures for the reporting of such allegations.

2. Policy

The Research Foundation firmly supports the right of all employees to report, anonymously or otherwise, allegations of any activity in violation of law or regulation, including (but not limited to) corruption, theft or fraud or any suspected improper activity with respect to financial statement disclosures, accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters. This policy provides procedures for the reporting of violations or suspected violations, including procedures for preserving the confidentiality of reported information.

3. Procedures

3.1    Any concerns regarding activity, or suspected activity, in violation of any law, regulation, or Research Foundation policy including (but not limited to) corruption, theft or fraud, or any improper activity related to financial statement disclosures, accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters, or any violation or suspected violation of Research Foundation policy may be reported by calling 1-800-541-3560 or contacting the Director of Internal Audit. The report should include as much specific information as possible to allow for proper assessment of the nature, extent, and urgency of investigative procedures.

3.2    Complaints and any other information provided relating to the above concerns will be forwarded to the Research Foundation's Director of Internal Audit. Protection of a whistleblower's identity will be maintained to the extent possible within the legitimate needs of law and the investigation. Should the whistleblower self-disclose his or her identity, the Research Foundation will no longer be obligated to maintain such confidence.

3.3    The Director of Internal Audit may forward any complaint or other information to other Research Foundation employees as necessary in his or her judgment to conduct an investigation, provided that each such other employee first agrees to maintain the confidentiality of the complaint or information as directed by the Director of Internal Audit.

3.4    Following the receipt of any complaint submitted hereunder, the Research Foundation's Director of Internal Audit will investigate each matter. The Director of Internal Audit shall report on each complaint and its disposition to the President and the Audit Committee in accordance with such schedule as they may each from time to time establish. The Director's report shall be kept in confidence by the President and the Audit Committee unless, and then only to the extent that, either determines that action is required by the report.

3.5    The Director of Internal Audit may enlist employees of the Research Foundation and/or outside legal, accounting or other advisors, as appropriate, to conduct any investigation of complaints regarding financial statement disclosures, accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters. The Research Foundation and its investigators shall protect the confidentiality of the complainant except as may be directed by the Director of Internal Audit.

3.6    Whistleblowers are "reporting parties," not investigators. They are not to act on their own in conducting any investigative activities, nor do they have a right to participate in any investigative activities, other than as requested by investigators.

3.7    Consultation with the Audit Committee is required before negotiating or entering into any agreement resulting from the findings of an investigation.

3.8    Records of all complaints made under this policy shall be maintained by the Research Foundation for a period of at least 7 years.

4. Retaliation Prohibited

4.1    No director, officer, employee or volunteer of the Research Foundation who in good faith reports any action or suspected action taken by or within the Research Foundation that is illegal, fraudulent or in violation of any adopted policy of the Research Foundation shall suffer intimidation, harassment, discrimination or other retaliation or, in the case of employees, adverse employment consequence.

4.2    The protection from retaliation shall not prohibit supervisors or administrators from taking action against an employee, including disciplinary action, in the usual scope of their duties and based upon valid performance issues.

4.3    A whistleblower who makes a claim under this policy in bad faith, or knows or has reason to know that such claim is false or materially inaccurate, shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions, including reprimand, suspension, or under appropriate circumstances, termination.

5. Administration

5.1    The Director of Internal Audit is designated to administer this policy and shall report to the Audit Committee in regard to any claims made under it.

5.2    The President of the Research Foundation may provide alternative or different mechanisms for reporting concerns under paragraph III.A. provided that any such change shall not be effective unless and until notice of the change has been distributed to all directors, officers, employees and to volunteers who provide substantial services to the corporation.

5.3    Nothing stated herein creates, nor shall it be viewed as creating, a contractual obligation between management and the employees, students or any other persons.

6. Implementation

6.1    Except as provided under part VII, "Federal Contracts and Grants", these procedures are effective immediately.

6.2    A copy of this policy shall be distributed to all directors, officers, employees and to volunteers who provide substantial services to the corporation.

7. Federal Contracts and Grants

7.1    The Research Foundation complies with federal law, which currently provides that an employee of a contractor, subcontractor, grantee or subgrantee may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for "whistleblowing."

7.2    For these purposes, whistleblowing is defined as making a disclosure that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of any of the following:

(a) Gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant;

(b) A gross waste of Federal funds;

(c) An abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant;

(d) A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or,

(e) A violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract or grant (including the competition for, or negotiation of, a contract or grant).

 7.3    To qualify for this protection, the employee's disclosure must be made to:

(a) A Member of Congress, or a representative of a Congressional Committee;

(b) An Inspector General;

(c) The Government Accountability Office;

(d) A federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency;

(e) A court or grand jury; or,

(f) A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover or address misconduct.

7.4    The whistleblower protections provided by this section cannot be waived by any agreement, policy, form or condition of employment.

7.5    The requirements of this section are retroactively effective for all federal grants and subgrants issued beginning July 1, 2013.

7.6    The Research Foundation will include the foregoing requirements in any agreement made with a subcontractor or subgrantee after the date of the adoption of this policy.

 

Revised December 18, 2014