Amherst College Whistleblower Policy

Whistleblower Policy 

Approved by: Senior Staff

Approval Date: April 3, 2023

Revision History: January 26, 2008

Primary Office Responsible for Administering this Policy: Compliance

The College expects all employees to carry out their duties on the College’s behalf in a professional manner. This policy sets out options for employees to report conduct that may conflict with that obligation, specifically with respect to possible violations of law and/or College policy.  

If an employee is uncomfortable reporting concerning behavior to their immediate supervisors or department heads, they may raise these concerns to other individuals at the College as set forth in this policy. While the College encourages employees reporting concerns to identify themselves in order to more easily address the issues raised, employees may report concerns anonymously. Employees who identify themselves can also request that their report be treated in a confidential manner.

How Employees Raise Concerns Under the Whistleblower Policy

Any employee who has information on good faith that another employee(s) may have violated the law and/or college policy is encouraged to report the concern promptly to their supervisor or senior staff member. If a supervisor or senior staff member receives a report pursuant to this policy, they should consult with appropriate stakeholders, including the Director of Compliance, to determine how to proceed. Appropriate stakeholders will depend on the nature of the report.

An employee who is uncomfortable directly reporting possible violations of law and/or College policy to a supervisor or other College representative may report the concern via Ethicspoint, an independent reporting system for employees to report concerns either by phone or online.  Ethicspoint provides for an anonymous reporting option, if desired. Alternatively, employees may report concerns to the Director of Compliance at the College.

Confidentiality with Respect to Reporting: An employee who comes forward in good faith to report possible violations of law and/or college policy may request that the report be handled on a confidential basis. While the College cannot guarantee confidentiality, it will take reasonable steps to protect confidentiality, when requested, to the extent possible in meeting its obligations. 

Anonymous Reporting: Employees may submit reports on an anonymous basis. Note that if an employee makes an anonymous report, it may limit the College’s ability to fully respond. As a result, the College encourages employees to provide their names and contact information in reports.

Responding to Reports

The Director of Compliance is designated to receive and coordinate responses to reports related to staff conduct (unless otherwise specified by another policy (e.g. allegations of sexual misconduct)). 

Note that the Director of Compliance will refer reports regarding faculty member conduct to the Provost (unless otherwise specified by another policy (e.g. allegations of sexual misconduct)). The Provost’s Office will consult with the Director of Compliance as needed. 

Upon receiving a report related to staff conduct, the Director, with appropriate consultation, will determine whether there is sufficient information presented to proceed to an investigation of an alleged violation of law and/or College policy. If there is sufficient information to proceed to an investigation, it will be conducted under the applicable procedure (e.g. the College’s Section 504 disability-related grievance procedure). In instances where there is no procedure, the Director of Compliance or the Director’s designee will coordinate the investigation. 

If an investigation results in a finding of a violation of law and/or College policy, the Chief Human Resources Officer and the applicable supervisor will determine the appropriate disciplinary actions, if any. 

The College retains the discretion to take any additional steps to respond to reports of violation of law or policy.  

Retaliation is Prohibited

Retaliation is a harmful act taken by an employee against another employee for raising concerns, in good faith, under this policy. The College prohibits such retaliation. An employee who retaliates against another employee for reporting a suspected violation may be subject to discipline. Employees may bring forward allegations of retaliation to the Chief Human Resources Officer or the Director of Compliance.