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Memorial University of Newfoundland

  Memorial University of Newfoundland

Protected Disclosure

Approval Date: 2017-05-11

Effective Date: 2017-05-11

Review Date: 2021-05-11

Authority:

The Board of Regents

Purpose

To provide a disclosure mechanism by which Members of the University can report Wrongdoing; and to provide protection to Members of the University who report Wrongdoing.

Scope

Members of the University

Definitions

Associate — A person: who is related to a University employee by blood or adoption, or is or has been related to the employee by marriage or common-law marriage; or with whom a University employee has or has had in the previous five years a financial, intimate, other close or substantial professional relationship.

Day(s) — A day, other than a Saturday or Sunday, statutory holiday, or other day on which the University is not open for administrative business.

Discloser — A Member of the University who chooses to make a Protected Disclosure under this Policy and Procedures.

Frivolous — Devoid of merit.

Member of the University — Any person who teaches, conducts research, studies or works at or under the auspices of the University.

PDC — Protected Disclosure Coordinator. The individual appointed under this Policy and related procedures to receive and report on Protected Disclosures made in accordance with this Policy.

Protected Disclosure — Any disclosure made under this Policy and related procedures when one is acting in good faith, on the basis of a reasonable belief of Wrongdoing provided that the disclosure is not Frivolous or Vexatious.

Respondent(s) — The subject or subjects of a report of alleged Wrongdoing under this Policy.

Retaliation — Any threat of reprisal, attempt to intimidate or adverse behaviour or action, taken against a Member of the University in response to that initial person having:

Unit Head — Deans, Department Heads, Division Heads, Heads of Schools, Directors, Executive Directors, University Librarian, University Registrar and other senior administrators at a comparable level; Associate Vice-Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and the President, as applicable.

University — Memorial University of Newfoundland.

University-related Activity — Any activity that is directly related to or arises out of the operations of the University at any location.

Vexatious — To intentionally annoy, embarrass, harass or harm.

Wrongdoing — Any activity or conduct engaged in by a Member of the University in or relating to the University, as follows:

  1. an act or omission constituting an offence of municipal, provincial or federal laws or regulations
  2. an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger:

    1. to the life, health or safety of individuals other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of a Member of the University, or
    2. to the environment;

  3. gross mismanagement, including of University funds or University assets; and
  4. knowingly directing or counseling an individual to commit Wrongdoing.

Policy

1.0 Protected Disclosure
1.1  All Members of the University have an obligation to conduct University-related Activities in accordance with the University’s statement of Core Values, which includes integrity and accountability, applicable codes of conduct, and the University’s policies and procedures. As part of this obligation, and to protect the University and individuals from Wrongdoing, Members of the University are encouraged to report conduct that they reasonably believe to be Wrongdoing and, which they observe or encounter in the context of University-related activities.

1.2  Reporting of Wrongdoing is a necessary and valuable service to the University and must not be cause for Retaliation.

1.3  Any Member of the University who has reasonable grounds to believe that another Member of the University has committed Wrongdoing is encouraged to make a Protected Disclosure in accordance with the Procedure for Filing a Protected Disclosure. The Protected Disclosure shall be made within twelve (12) months of discovering or observing the Wrongdoing.

1.4  This policy does not replace other University policies and processes that allow Members to report allegations of Wrongdoing

1.5  Nothing in this Policy relieves Unit Heads from the responsibility of addressing situations of improper conduct in accordance with existing policies, procedures and guidelines.

1.6  Conduct in the workplace involving disruptive, threatening or violent behaviour where a Member of the University’s personal safety and security may be in danger must be reported immediately to appropriate campus enforcement or security officials on the respective campus or to Legal Authorities, in accordance with the University’s Assessment and Care Protocol.

2.0 Confidentiality
2.1  All persons involved in any process related to this Policy are required to maintain confidentiality. Confidential matters are handled in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015, SNL 2015, C A-1.2 (ATIPPA), other privacy legislation to which the University is subject, and University policies.

2.2  Only persons with a bona fide need to know the details of a situation will have access and such access is limited to the scope of their responsibilities. Third parties attempting to gain or gaining access to personal information with respect to a Protected Disclosure, where such information is not needed to perform the scope of their responsibilities, does so in violation of this Policy and may be in violation of the ATIPPA.

2.3  A breach of confidentiality by persons involved in any process related to this Policy may be subject to discipline or other appropriate action.

2.4  Confidentiality may not apply to persons subject to extra-University judicial processes, or where disclosure is permitted or required by law, or where the well-being, safety and security of a person or persons is a concern.  In such circumstances, information, as appropriate, would be shared only with those with a bona fide need to know.

2.5  The identity of a Discloser shall be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law and consistent with the need to conduct a proper investigation.

3.0 Frivolous or Vexatious Complaints
3.1 A Frivolous or Vexatious Disclosure may result in disciplinary or other appropriate action against the Discloser.

4.0 Retaliation
4.1  No person shall retaliate against another for filing a Protected Disclosure or for being involved in any process under this Policy, including as a witness. The University considers retaliation at any stage to be a serious matter that may result in discipline or other appropriate action.

4.2  A breach of confidentiality by any person with respect to a Protected Disclosure may also constitute Retaliation.

5.0 Records and Retention
5.1  All records will be handled in accordance with ATIPPA, the University’s Information Management and Privacy policies and related procedures and other privacy legislation applicable to the University.

5.2  The Protected Disclosure Coordinator (PDC) shall be the official custodian of records created as a result of the filing of a Protected Disclosure and shall manage those records in accordance with the University’s Information Management policy and procedures.

6.0 Reports
6.1  The PDC shall provide an annual report to the Board of Regents of Protected Disclosures, respecting the anonymity of Disclosers and Respondents. The report shall include:

(a) the number of reports filed by Disclosers;
(b) the number of reports investigated;
(c) the findings of investigations conducted pursuant to a report;
(d) any action taken pursuant to an investigation.

Related Documents

Memorial University of Newfoundland's Vision, Mission and Values 
Memorial University of Newfoundland Code
Purchasing Code of Ethics
Student Code of Conduct
Appropriate Use of Computing Resources policy
Conflict of Interest policy
Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants policy
Information Management policy
Integrity in Scholarly Research policy
Internal Audit policy
Postdoctoral Fellows policy
Privacy policy
Respectful Workplace policy 
Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault policy 
Workplace Accommodation policy

 

 

Procedures

For inquiries related to this policy:

Office of the Board of Regents (709) 864-4397

Sponsor: The President

Category: Operations

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date 2007-10-18   Effective Date 2007-10-18

Procedure for Filing a Protected Disclosure

Approval Date: 2017-05-11

Responsible Unit: Office of the General Counsel

1. Any Member of the University may make a Protected Disclosure to the Executive Director of the Office of the Board of Regents, who serves as the University’s Protected Disclosure Coordinator (PDC).

2. To file a report, contact the Office of the Board of Regents:

Protected Disclosure Coordinator
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL A1C 5S7
Telephone: 709-864-4474
Email: regents@mun.ca

In the event the Protected Disclosure involves the Executive Director of the Office of the Board of Regents, the report may be filed with the Chair of the Board of Regents, who will follow a process similar to that which is outlined here.

3. The report of Wrongdoing should be submitted in writing and include the following information:

(a) the party(ies) involved;
(b) the nature of the Wrongdoing;
(c) the date(s) of the Wrongdoing;
(d) any other information necessary to evaluate the matter.

4. Upon receipt of the Protected Disclosure, the PDC shall respond in writing to the Discloser acknowledging receipt of the Protected Disclosure, within five (5) Days and shall proceed to the Procedure for Investigation of Alleged Wrongdoing.

5. In cases where any of the parties involved in the report is an Associate of the Executive Director of the Office of the Board of Regents, the Chair of the Board of Regents shall serve as the PDC,

6. Any Discloser who experiences any type of Retaliation as a result of making a Protected Disclosure, should immediately inform the PDC, who in turn shall contact either the Department of Human Resources or the Office of Faculty Relations.

 


Procedure for Investigation of Alleged Wrongdoing

Approval Date: 2017-05-11

Responsible Unit: Office of the General Counsel

1.The PDC shall review the allegation(s) and within fifteen (15) Days shall decide whether further action is warranted. In making this determination the PDC may consult with officials within the University and shall consider such factors as whether:

(a) the subject matter of the Disclosure would more appropriately be dealt with, initially or completely, according to another University established process;
(b) the Disclosure is Frivolous, Vexatious, made in bad faith or does not deal with a sufficiently serious subject matter;
(c) so much time has elapsed between the date when the subject matter of the Disclosure arose and the date when the Disclosure was made that investigating it would not serve a useful purpose;
(d) the Disclosure does not provide adequate particulars about the wrongdoing as required by the Procedure for Filing a Protected Disclosure; or
(e) there is another valid reason for not pursuing further action.

2. Where the PDC concludes that there exists an established University process for the investigation of the alleged Wrongdoing, the PDC shall direct the Discloser to the relevant University regulation, policy or collective agreement.

3. Where the PDC concludes that no further action is warranted they shall notify the Discloser.

4. Where the PDC concludes that an investigation is warranted for the Wrongdoing in question, the PDC shall oversee the investigation in accordance with sections 5 to 13 outlined below.

5. The PDC shall appoint an investigator, who may be internal or external to the University. No person should be selected where there is a real or perceived conflict of interest or reasonable apprehension of bias. Normally, investigators should be able to submit their report within 60 Days of being appointed.

6. In the case of Disclosure made against the President or a Vice-President, the Chair of the Board of Regents shall be advised and any appointed Investigator shall be external to the University.

7. The investigator appointed under section 5. shall use such investigative processes they deem appropriate to the nature of the allegation(s). The investigator shall have regard to any timelines and processes associated with any applicable collective agreements.

8. The PDC shall ensure that the investigator is provided relevant information, documentation and the support necessary to conduct a thorough Investigation.

9. The investigator shall conduct a thorough investigation with impartiality and objectivity, and in a manner that shall ensure fair treatment for and, to the extent possible, the confidentiality of the Respondent and the Discloser.

10. The investigator shall advise all persons interviewed to treat all information, evidence and proceedings as confidential.

11. All Members of the University including Disclosers, Respondents shall cooperate with the Investigator and respond in a timely fashion to the investigator's request for information or meetings.

12. Upon completing an investigation, the investigator shall prepare a report containing their findings and any recommendations about the Disclosure and the Wrongdoing, and submit that report to the PDC.

13. Except as required by law, regulations or policies, the PDC shall disclose the report to:

(i) the Respondent, if named
(ii) the President;
(iii) the Chair of the Board of Regents if the Disclosure is made against the President or a Vice- President;
(iv) such other persons, if they have a bona fide need to know the results of the investigation to perform their duties.

The PDC shall maintain a record of the distribution of the report.

13. The PDC shall report on the status of the investigation to the Discloser in the manner and at the time the PDC considers appropriate.

14. If, on the basis of the Investigator's report, the President, or the Chair of the Board of Regents, as applicable, determines that further action is required, they shall ensure proceedings are initiated in accordance with the relevant regulations, policies, or collective agreements.

15. On completion of the investigation, the investigator shall deposit all records with the PDC, who shall be the official custodian of such records charged with preserving their confidentiality.

16. All records pertaining to a Discloser's report and the Investigator's report shall be securely disposed by the PDC in accordance with the University's Retention and Disposal Schedule.