TTC's Policies and Procedures > Human Resources and Employee Relations > 8-21-1 Whistleblower Procedure
8-21-1 Whistleblower Procedure

PROCEDURE NUMBER: 8-21-1                                                                                    

TITLE NUMBER APPROVED DATE
WHISTLEBLOWER 8 - 21 - 1 7-08-05
 
LEGAL AUTHORITY

S.C. EMPLOYMENT PROTECTION FOR REPORTS OF VIOLATIONS OF STATE OR FEDERAL LAW OR REGULATION ACT, S.C. CODE ANN. §§8-27-10  TO 50


BASED ON POLICY

TTC POLICY 8-21-0 WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY

PURPOSE: 

To implement Trident Technical College Policy 8-21-0 by providing a procedure whereby any member of the college community will report illegal or improper activities that he/she reasonably believes or suspects are contrary to any applicable federal, state, or local laws or regulations, or any established college policy.

DEFINITIONS:

Adverse Academic Action—includes, but is not limited to, a suspension or expulsion, a disciplinary warning, or a grade adjustment.

Adverse Personnel Action—includes, but is not limited to, a dismissal or suspension from employment, demotion, or decrease in compensation.

Illegal or Improper Activity—is an action that results in substantial abuse, misuse, destruction, or loss of substantial public funds or public resources.  Additionally, an illegal or improper activity is an intentional violation of federal or state statutory law or regulations, or other political subdivision ordinances, regulations, or code of ethics.  A reportable illegal or improper activity is not of a merely technical or minimal nature.

Fraudulent Report—is a report of an illegal or improper activity that is unfounded, or amounts to a mere technical violation, and is not made in good faith.

Report—is a written document alleging waste or illegal or improper activity.

Retaliation—is taking an intentional adverse personnel action against an employee or an intentional adverse academic action against a student who lawfully reports an illegal or improper activity.

PROCESS FOR REPORTING AN ILLEGAL OR IMPROPER ACTIVITY

 NOTE:   The College will handle a report of illegal or improper activity as confidentially as possible. Aside from the personnel listed below, others who have a legitimate need to know will be informed on a case-by-case basis. Anyone associated with the report and/or investigation of an illegal or improper activity should maintain strict confidentiality.

  1. If an employee reasonably suspects an illegal or improper activity, he/she should:


    1. report it to his/her immediate supervisor, or

    2. if the suspected illegal or improper activity involves the immediate supervisor, the employee should report to the next higher level of supervisor and/or the appropriate division vice president.

    3. In lieu of or in addition to the above, the employee should report to the Internal Auditor or make a report via the College's electronic hotline reporting system.

  2. If a student reasonably suspects an illegal or improper activity, he/she should:


    1. report it to one of his/her instructors, or

    2. if the suspected illegal or improper activity involves an instructor, the student should report to the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.

    3. In lieu of or in addition to the above, the student should report to the Internal Auditor.

  3. The reporter must make the report of an illegal or improper activity in writing or via e-mail and it should contain the following information:


    1. the date of the disclosure,

    2. the name of the employee making the report,

    3. the nature of the illegal or improper activity and the date or range of dates on which the illegal or improper activity allegedly occurred. The reporting employee or student must make the report within sixty (60) days of the date the reporting employee or student first learns of the alleged illegal or improper activity.

  4. The person receiving the report must immediately notify the College’s Internal Auditor via e-mail that a report has been made. No later than two (2) working days from the date the report is made, the person who receives the report will send the report via e-mail or in a confidential envelope via inter-office mail to the Internal Auditor.  Upon receipt of the report, the Internal Auditor will notify the Human Resources Director, who will coordinate an investigation into the allegation. The Human Resources Director will work with the Public Safety Department during the investigation process if necessary.  If the report involves the Internal Auditor, the person receiving the report should notify the President and Human Resources Director.  If the report involves the President, the Internal Auditor will notify the Area Commission Chairperson.

    The Internal Auditor will maintain a record of all reports of alleged illegal or improper activity, which will be kept under seal in the Internal Auditor's Office.

  1. If the investigation supports the allegation of an illegal or improper activity, the College will most likely discipline the parties involved in the illegal or improper activity up to and including termination or expulsion, in accordance with College policies and procedures.

  2. If the investigation reveals that the report of an illegal or improper activity was fraudulent, the College will most likely discipline the reporting employee or student up to and including employee termination or student expulsion, in accordance with College policies and procedures.

RETALIATION AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE

  1. It is a serious violation of the College’s Whistleblower Policy to retaliate against an employee because of a lawful disclosure of an alleged illegal or improper activity, or encouraging others to retaliate.

  2. If an employee believes that he/she has been the subject of a retaliatory adverse personnel action, he/she should notify the Director of Human Resources in writing or via e-mail stating specifically:


    1. the date of the alleged retaliatory action,

    2. the name of the person(s) taking the retaliatory action,

    3. the nature of the retaliatory action and the date or range of dates on which the retaliatory action allegedly occurred.

  3. No later than two (2) working days from the date the report is made, the Director of Human Resources will coordinate an investigation into the allegation of retaliation. The Human Resources Director will work with the Public Safety Department during the investigation process if necessary.  If the report involves the Director of Human Resources, the employee should notify the President. If the report involves the President, the Director of Human Resources will notify the Internal Auditor who will then notify the Area Commission Chairperson.

    The Director of Human Resources will maintain a record of all reports of alleged retaliation, which will be kept under seal in the office of the Director of Human Resources.

  4. If the investigation supports the allegation of retaliation, the College will most likely discipline the parties involved in the retaliation up to and including termination, in accordance with College policies and procedures.

  5. If the investigation reveals that the report of retaliation was fraudulent, the College will most likely discipline the reporting employee up to and including termination, in accordance with College policies and procedures.

  6. If the reporting employee has been dismissed, suspended from employment, demoted, or receives a decrease in compensation within one year after having timely reported an alleged illegal or improper activity and the College has found that such action was the result of retaliation, the College will endeavor to restore the employee’s employment status to the level established prior to the retaliatory action. If the reporting employee believes that the College has not responded appropriately to the retaliatory action, the employee may file a grievance according to the College’s grievance and appeal policy and procedure. The employee may institute a non-jury civil action against the College, but only if:


    1. the employee has exhausted all available grievance or other administrative remedies, and

    2. any previous proceedings have resulted in a finding that the College would not have disciplined the employee except for the employee’s report of an alleged illegal or improper activity.

  7. Notwithstanding the filing of a report under the Whistleblower Policy, the College may dismiss, suspend, demote, or decrease the compensation of an employee for causes independent of the filing of a protected report as described above.

RETALIATION AGAINST A STUDENT

  1. It is a serious violation of the College’s Whistleblower Policy to retaliate against a student because of a lawful disclosure of an alleged illegal or improper activity, or encouraging others to retaliate.

  2. If a student believes that he/she has been the subject of a retaliatory adverse academic action, he/she should notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs in writing or via e-mail stating specifically:


    1. the date of the alleged retaliatory action,

    2. the name of the person(s) taking the retaliatory action,

    3. the nature of the retaliatory action and the date or range of dates on which the retaliatory action allegedly occurred.

  3. If the student believes that he/she has been the subject of a retaliatory action that is not academically related, he/she should notify the Vice President of Student Services in writing or via email stating specifically:


    1. the date of the alleged retaliatory action,

    2. the name of the person(s) taking the retaliatory action,

    3. the nature of the retaliatory action and the date or range of dates which the retaliatory action allegedly occurred. 

  4. The Vice President for Academic Affairs must immediately notify the College’s Internal Auditor via e-mail that a report has been made. No later than two (2) working days from the date the report is made, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will send the report in a confidential envelope via inter-office mail to the Internal Auditor. The Internal Auditor will coordinate an investigation into the allegation of retaliation.  The Internal Auditor will work with the Public Safety Department during the investigation process if necessary.  If the report involves the President, the Internal Auditor will notify the Area Commission Chairman. The Internal Auditor will maintain a record of all reports of alleged academic retaliation, which will be kept under seal in his/her office.

  5. If the investigation supports the allegation of retaliation, the College will most likely discipline the parties involved in the retaliation up to and including termination or expulsion, in accordance with College policies and procedures.

  6. If the investigation reveals that the report of retaliation was fraudulent, the College will most likely discipline the reporting student up to and including expulsion, in accordance with College policies and procedures.

  7. If the reporting student has been suspended or expelled, received a disciplinary warning, or an adverse grade adjustment within one year after having timely reported an alleged illegal or improper activity, and the College has found that such action was the result of retaliation, the College will endeavor to restore the student’s academic status to the level established prior to the retaliatory action.

    If the reporting student believes that the College has not responded appropriately to the retaliatory action, the student may appeal to the Student Grievance Committee according to the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook.

  8. Notwithstanding the filing of a report under the Whistleblower Policy, the College may suspend, expel, or otherwise discipline a student for causes independent of the filing of a protected report as described above.


Updated August 25, 2010
Updated November 18, 2013
Updated August 4, 2014 

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