Whistleblower Policy

Applies to: Faculty, Staff, Student Employees, Students, Vendors, and Volunteers
Updated: February 12, 2015

Muskegon Community College (MCC) adheres to a high standard of ethical, moral and legal business conduct. Therefore, it is encouraged and expected of all MCC employees and other members of the MCC community to report wrongful conduct that threatens the integrity of this institution. This policy proactively supports the Michigan Whistleblower Protection Act:  PA 469 of 1980, which provides protection to individuals who make good faith disclosures of alleged wrongful conduct.

Muskegon Community College does not condone or permit retaliation against anyone who participates in reporting issues or in a whistleblower activity. Harassment or victimization for reporting concerns under this policy is not tolerated. 

No individual who in good faith reports known or suspected wrongful conduct (whether internally or outside MCC) shall suffer harassment, retaliation, or adverse academic or employment consequences for making such reports. Anyone who retaliates against a whistleblower is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Muskegon Community College recognizes our responsibility to our faculty, staff and community to maintain the highest ethical standards. To facilitate this process, the College has chosen HonorLine as an external vendor to provide another way to report activities that may be violations of the College’s policies or other laws, rules and regulations.

BACKGROUND
Everyone at MCC, regardless of position, shares the responsibility for creating a positive environment.  You help to do this whenever you bring concerns you may have to your manager or Human Resources. For those situations when you don’t feel comfortable using that method, we are launching the Muskegon Community College HonorLine, a phone and web-based reporting system that is managed by an outside company. This is another way to communicate your concerns confidentially and anonymously (if you choose), so you can do your part to build communication and promote safety, security, and ethical behavior.

More specifically this policy:

  • encourages an atmosphere that allows individuals to meet their obligations to disclose violations of law and serious breaches of conduct covered by college policies;
  • informs individuals how allegations of wrongful conduct may be disclosed;
  • protects individuals from retaliation by adverse academic or employment action taken as a result of having disclosed wrongful conduct;
  • provides individuals who believe they have been subject to false allegations a fair process to seek relief from these acts.

DEFINITIONS

Term Definition
Whistleblower Someone who reports to an employer, a regulatory body, or an oversight or review authority, the violation of a regulation, standard, or ethical obligation. A Whistleblower may be college employees, students, vendors, and volunteers.
Wrongful Conduct A violation of applicable state and/or federal laws and regulation; a serious violation of college policy; the use of college property resources or authority for personal gain or other non-college-related purpose except as provided under college policy.
Protected Disclosure Communication about actual or suspected wrongful conduct engaged in by a college employee, student, vendor, or volunteer based on a good faith and reasonable belief that the conduct has both occurred and is wrongful under applicable law and/or college policy.
Retaliation Adverse action against an individual because she or he has made a protected disclosure or has participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing involving a protected disclosure.
HonorLine Third-party vendor will accept phone- and web-based reports of wrongful conduct or ethical issues regarding Muskegon Community College.

POLICY DETAILS

  1. If a whistleblower feels that he/she has suffered retaliation, he/she may report it by one of the reporting methods identified below.
  2. Anyone making a protected disclosure concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation of law or policy. A report of wrongful conduct is presumed to have been communicated in good faith.
  3. False allegations or allegations made with malice are not protected by this policy, and such allegations are viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.
  4. Every effort is made to treat the whistleblower’s identity with appropriate regard for confidentiality.
  5. While whistleblowers have the option to remain anonymous, identity is encouraged because appropriate follow-up questions may not be possible unless the source of the information is identified. Concerns expressed anonymously are explored appropriately, but consideration is given to:
  • The seriousness of the concern raised;
  • The credibility of the concern; and
  • The likelihood of confirming the allegations.

PROCEDURE

We encourage concerns to be brought to managers, leaders and or Human Resources. However, in the event you prefer to contact a third party, we have established a reporting process with HonorLine.

You may make a report by calling (877) 684-9585 or e-mailing to report@honorline.com. Once a report is received, MCC Human Resources Office is notified and will assign to the appropriate person for follow up. This is done to ensure the issue is being investigated and properly resolved. Use the system to express serious concerns. If you’d prefer, you may also remain anonymous. If you have suggestions or policy questions for the Human Resources Office, please contact us directly at human.resources@muskegoncc.edu.

Honorline is available to all employees, regardless of location or position. The system is available via both telephone 1-877-684-9585 and internet at report@honorline.com.

Reporting
This policy is not to be used to replace existing policies that address specific concerns such as grievance procedures, etc.  It is NOT the responsibility of the Whistleblower to investigate matters. Reports should focus on facts and avoid speculation. Reports should include as much detailed information as possible in order to better facilitate the investigation.

Whistleblowers that are aware of or have reason to suspect wrongful conduct should use   one of the following (4) four reporting methods:

  1. Phone:   HonorLine 1-877-684-9585
  2. Email:    report@honorline.com
  3. Letter:   Muskegon Community College, Whistleblower/President’s Office, Suite 400, 221 S. Quarterline Rd., Muskegon, MI  49442

Investigation
All reports will be promptly addressed. The procedure taken in response to a report of concern under this policy will depend on the nature of the concern.

Whistleblowers who choose to make their identity known will receive confirmation of receipt of report.