Kent City Community Schools
Administrative Guidelines
 

4211 - WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

The Board of Education encourages and requires all employees, acting in good faith, to report possible suspected or actual violations of local, State and Federal laws or Board policies and administrative guidelines. These guidelines shall be used to ensure that the Board's policy on whistleblowers' protection (Policy 4211) is implemented properly and in compliance with State laws. The Board will verify that employees are protected from interference with reporting violations and from retaliation for having reported violation or for refusing an illegal order.

To that end, it is the responsibility of an employee who is aware of conduct on the part of any Board member, employee, volunteer, contractor or agent that possibly violates local, State or Federal law or Board policy or administrative guidelines, to report such conduct to his/her immediate supervisor. Board members and employees are prohibited from retaliating against an individual who has reported a violation and/or refused an illegal order and shall not use or attempt to use their position to prevent an employee from reporting a possible violation or refusing an illegal order.

Reporting Criminal Violations

 

A.

If an employee becomes aware in the course of his/her employment of a possible violation of any local, State or Federal law or Board policy or administrative guidelines, that the Board has authority to correct and the employee reasonably believes that such violation is a criminal offense that is likely to cause an imminent risk of harm to persons or hazard to public health or safety, a felony, or an improper solicitation for contribution, the employee shall immediately notify his/her immediate supervisor. If the employee's immediate supervisor is not responsive, then the employee may report the possible violation to:

   
 

the Superintendent or his/her designee;

   
 

If the reported conduct relates to the Superintendent, the report may be filed directly with the Board President.

   
 

In addition, the employee may contact the appropriate law enforcement or governmental agency responsible for enforcing such laws.

   
 

B.

If the initial notification of the possible violation was done orally, the employee shall subsequently file with that supervisor or other designated District official, a written report providing sufficient detail to identify and describe the possible violation.

     
 

C.

The Administration shall promptly investigate the alleged violation(s) and/or refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement or governmental agency. Ordinarily, the decision to investigate or refer the matter should occur within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving sufficient information to make a determination.

   
 

1.

When consistent with the privacy rights of employees and the objectives of any internal or external investigation, the supervisor or other District official will notify the reporting employee in writing of the District's conclusions based on investigation and remedial measures taken, if any.

   
 

2.

Written notification shall be provided to the employee by the close of business on the next regular school day of receiving notification from the employee that the District is following up on the reported concern.

 
 

D.

If the District does not notify the employee of its efforts to investigate or remediate the problem by the close of business on the next regular school day after receiving notification of the possible violation, the employee may file a written report providing sufficient detail to identify and describe the possible violation with:

   
 

1.

the Board President;

   
 

2.

the prosecuting authority of the county or municipal corporation where the violation occurred;

   
 

3.

a police officer;

   
 

4.

the Inspector General (if the violation is within the Inspector General's jurisdiction); or

   
 

5.

any other appropriate public official or agency having regulatory authority over the District, and the activities in which the District is engaged.

Reporting Other Violations

 

A.

If an employee becomes aware in the course of his/her employment of a possible violation of any State or Federal law or Board policy or administrative guideline, that does not involve a criminal offense or improper solicitation and is not likely to cause an imminent risk of harm to persons or hazard to public health or safety, the employee shall orally notify his/her immediate supervisor or other District official (as set forth above). The employee shall subsequently file a written report within two (2) days.

   
 

B.

The immediate supervisor or other District official will acknowledge receipt of the written report within five (5) days. Such reports will be investigated within fifteen (15) days, and appropriate action will be taken, if warranted, at the conclusion of the investigation.

Duty to Determine Accuracy of Possible Violations

 

A.

Employees are encouraged to make a reasonable and good faith effort to determine the accuracy of any possible violations.

   
 

B.

An employee who knowingly makes a false report may be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or termination.

   
 

C.

An employee who knowingly, or recklessly gives false information or makes a false report of a violation could be liable for defamation.

Prohibition Against Retaliation

 

A.

No employee shall be disciplined, retaliated or discriminated against for reporting a possible violation by the District, another employee, contractor, volunteer or other person working in or with the schools or participating in any investigation of reported illegal activity, as long as the employee does not knowingly report false information.

   
 

B.

For purposes of this policy and guideline, improper disciplinary, discriminatory or retaliatory action (when such action is taken as a result of the reporting and not for legitimate business purposes) includes, but is not limited to, the following:

   
 

1.

terminating or suspending the employee;

   
 

2.

withholding from the employee salary increases or employment benefits to which the employee is otherwise entitled;

   
 

3.

transferring or reassigning the employee;

     
 

4.

denying the employee a promotion that s/he would have otherwise received; or

   
 

5.

reducing the employee in pay or position.

 
 

C.

If disciplinary or retaliatory action is taken against an employee for reporting a possible violation of law to a governmental official or agency, including the District, the employee may file a civil action in an appropriate County Circuit Court for appropriate injunctive relief, damages (including attorney fees), or both, within ninety (90) days after the date the disciplinary, discriminatory or retaliatory action was taken.

© Neola 2008