Whistleblower Protection Policy

For the purposes of the conduct of federally-funded research, students, whether they are paid by the college or not, are expected to abide by the whistleblower protection policy that applies to college employees, and share the rights and responsibilities detailed therein. This policy is quoted below in full from the Employee Handbook. Questions about the policy should be directed to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO, Associate Dean Kathryn Graff Low, 207-786-6196, klow@bates.edu).

Bates College requires all employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As employees and representatives of the college, we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

 113.1 Reporting Responsibility

It is the responsibility of all employees to comply with the law and to report violations or suspected violations of the law in accordance with this Whistleblower Policy.

 113.2 No Retaliation

This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees to raise serious concerns within the college prior to seeking resolution outside the college. Any employee who, in good faith, reports a violation of the law is protected from harassment, retaliation and adverse employment consequence. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

Employees are protected from retaliatory actions because they have reported to college management:

  • A violation of the law
  • A gross waste of public funds
  • Something that risks someone’s health or safety
  • Something that will endanger their life or someone else’s life

You are protected if you are involved in an investigation or hearing held by the government.

 113.3 Reporting Violations

Employees are encouraged to share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with someone who can address them properly. In most cases, an employee’s supervisor is in the best position to address an area of concern. In cases of suspected research misconduct, defined as the fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results, the appropriate person is the Research Integrity Officer in the Office of the Dean of Faculty, as defined in Part 7 of the Faculty Handbook. If you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor or you are not satisfied with your supervisor’s response, you are encouraged to speak with someone in the Human Resources Department or anyone in management whom you are comfortable in approaching. Supervisors and managers are required to report suspected violations to the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, who has the responsibility to oversee the investigation all reported violations.

We ask that you allow reasonable time for the problem to be investigated and corrected; if you have reason to believe that management will not correct the problem, you are encouraged to report the problem to the proper oversight agency.

In addition, as it relates to federal grants, according to the National Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 112-239 (PDF), “employees are protected from reprisal for disclosure of information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant, a gross waste of Federal funds, an abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant.

Specifically, Section 828(a) of the NDAA, Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections, provides that, “An employee of a contractor, subcontractor, or grantee may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for disclosing the aforementioned types of information to:

a) A Member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress

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) An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency

f) A court or grand jury

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

“A person who believes that the person has been subjected to a reprisal prohibited by subsection (a) may submit a complaint to the Inspector General of the executive agency involved.”

Procedures for submitting fraud, waste, abuse, and whistleblower complaints are generally accessible on agency Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline or Whistleblower Internet sites, such as these:

113.4 Acting in Good Faith

Anyone filing a complaint of wrongful conduct must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates wrongful conduct. Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.

113.5 Confidentiality

Reports of wrongful conduct or suspected wrongful conduct will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

All reports will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the investigation.