Whistleblower Policy: Reporting Suspected Wrongdoing and Protection from Retaliation
The general purpose of this policy is to protect any University employee or other member of the University community who makes a good-faith disclosure of suspected wrongful conduct. This policy establishes the appropriate reporting mechanisms to be used for notification of known or suspected wrongdoing and protection from retaliation.
Members of the University community: Any individual who is a student, staff, temporary employee, academic appointee, university official, or any other individual employed by, or acting on behalf of, the University; other individuals while on KU property, including affiliates, employees of third-party vendors and contractors, volunteers, and visitors.
The University of Kansas is committed to providing an environment of integrity that encourages the disclosure of violations of law, Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) policy, or University policy. The University expects our community to uphold the standards set forth in the Code of Ethical Conduct.
An employee cannot be compelled by a supervisor or any other University representative to violate a law, KBOR policy, or University policy.
An employee who has knowledge of specific acts that they reasonably believe violate the law, KBOR policy, or University policy must report those acts to the University. Students and affiliates are also encouraged to report suspected violations.
Reports may be made anonymously through the University’s Institutional Hotline. Members of the University community who make a good-faith disclosure of suspected wrongful conduct are covered by the retaliation protections outlined in this policy regardless of how a report is submitted to the University.
Handling of Reports and Investigations
Reports and investigations will be kept confidential to the extent possible under law and consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation and take corrective action. Reports received will be referred to the appropriate office for further review and to conduct a thorough investigation when warranted.
The responsible campus official may consult with the Office of the General Counsel and others as needed to determine the appropriate investigative process. Upon completion of an investigation, appropriate corrective action will be recommended if appropriate.
Protection from Retaliation
No employee shall take retaliatory action against any individual for reporting, or causing to be reported, suspected wrongdoing, or for assisting in an authorized investigation of alleged wrongdoing. Retaliation, if confirmed, will be referred to the appropriate University administrator for resolution.
Individuals who believe they have been subjected to retaliation in violation of this policy should notify Internal Audit or make a report to the Institutional Hotline.
KU employees enjoy whistleblower protection under K.S.A. 75-2973. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to conflict with other reporting obligations under state or federal law.
Nothing in this policy limits the ability of the individual to discuss the allegation under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence. The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.
This policy does not protect members of the University community who file a report or provide information that they know to be false or who provide information with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. A member of the University community who is determined to have knowingly made a false accusation or provided false information in a report or during an investigation may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or dismissal.
Charging an individual with a code of conduct or misconduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a proceeding under this part does not constitute retaliation.
Retaliation will not be tolerated and could result in suspension, reassignment, salary reduction, termination, expulsion, or other disciplinary action. Formal complaints of retaliation related to investigations under the policy will be handled under the appropriate procedure.
Unit responsible for appropriate execution of this policy:
- Internal Audit
- Office of the General Counsel
Retaliation: No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual because the individual has made a report, disclosure, or participated in or refused to participate in any manner of an investigation, proceeding, or hearing. Disciplinary action, harassment, unsupported evaluations, or other adverse changes in the conditions of employment or the educational environment may also constitute retaliation.
Employee includes faculty, unclassified academic staff, unclassified professional staff, University Support Staff, and student employees (regardless of nature of appointment).
Wrongful Conduct includes, but is not limited to:
- A violation of applicable state or federal laws or regulations;
- A violation of Kansas Board of Regents or University policy;
- Use of University property, resources, or authority for personal gain or other non-University-related purpose, except as authorized under University policy and approved by the Chancellor.
05/17/2023: Corrected technical problems with publication.
05/03/2023: Updated policy to align with current practices and procedures.
01/04/2022: Corrected broken links.
09/01/2021: Updated IOA information to Office of Civil Rights & Title IX.
07/30/2021: Technical edits. Updated links.
07/15/2021: Updated KUMC contact information.
06/16/2020: Updated KUMC contact information.
12/14/2018: Updated contacts.
06/21/2018: Updated KUMC contact information in Policy Statement.
01/31/2018: Updated contact information for Scholarly Misconduct or Research Compliance issues
06/01/2017: Fixed broken link.
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
01/07/2016: Updated KUMC hotline number.
10/14/2015: Updated link to K.S.A. 75-2973.
10/14/2015: Corrected an email address in the Medical Center table.
07/08/2015: Updated contact information for Medical Center table.
01/06/2015: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
11/20/2014: Updated contact information for Medical Center table.
11/14/2014: Language added to address whistleblower rights for employees of contractors, grantees, subcontractors, and subgrantees, when working on Federal grants and contracts in connection with the university.
06/10/2014: Revised to update name of the current Faculty Athletics Representative.
07/29/2009: Approved by the Chancellor.