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6166 - Whistle Blower Policy

Policy: Whistle Blower Policy     Policy Number: 6166
Date of Original Policy: 06/05/2019 Date Revision Adopted: 06/05/2019
Reviewed by Policy Committee: 06/05/2019 Date of Next Review: 06/05/2022
Replacement of Policy Number:  

It is the policy of the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District to encourage its employees to disclose improper activities, and to address written complaints that allege acts or attempted acts of interference, reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion or intimidation against employees or applicants who disclose improper activities. Jordan Elbridge Board of Education has the responsibility to seek out and correct any and all abuses resulting from improper activities, and to protect those who come forward to report improper activities.

To assure the reporting of any activity that threatened the efficient administration of the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District, reports that disclose improper activities shall be kept confidential. Reports shall be submitted to the Superintendent for investigation.

An employee whose conduct may be the subject of the complaint of retaliation, reprisal, interference, threats, coercion or intimidation shall be given all due process rights in any disciplinary action that may result, pursuant to existing and applicable Jordan-Elbridge Central School District personnel policies and collective bargaining agreements and procedures established by the Board of Education.

This policy is adopted pursuant to New York Education Law Section 3028-d, Civil Service Law Section 75-b and Labor Law Section 740, and shall be known as the “Jordan-Elbridge Central School District Whistle blower Protection Policy.”

I.    Definitions
 
A.    Definitions used in this Whistleblower Policy
 
To assist in the understanding of this policy, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
 
1.    “Any person” includes classified, certificated and unclassified employees, and applicants for the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District.

2.    “Board” means the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District Board of Education.

3.    “Complaint” means the written complaint alleging actual or attempted acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion, intimidation, interference, or similar improper acts that is submitted under penalty of perjury.

4.    “Disciplinary action” means any direct form of discipline as defined in personnel rules and regulations adopted by the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District. “Disciplinary action” shall include the firing of an employee.

5.    “Superintendent” is defined as the Superintendent for the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District.

6.    “Improper Activity” is defined as any activity by a Jordan-Elbridge Central School District department, or by an employee that is undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties, whether or not such action is within the scope of his or her employment or by an  individual or company conducting or performing work for the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District which is:

a.    in violation of any State or Federal law or regulation, including, but not limited to, corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of Jordan-Elbridge Central School District property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious prosecution, discrimination, misuse of Jordan-Elbridge Central School District property and facilities, or willful omission to perform duty or

b.    in violation of any Jordan-Elbridge Central School District policy, procedure, rule or regulation established by the Board, or

c.    is economically wasteful, involves gross misconduct, incompetence, or inefficiency, or

d.    is a substantial and specific danger to public health and/or safety.

7.    “Protected disclosure” means a good faith communication that discloses or demonstrates an intention to disclose information that may evidence either of the following:

a.    An improper activity

b.    Any condition that may significantly threaten the health and/or safety of employees or the public if the disclosure or intention to disclose was made for the purpose of remedying that condition. A disclosure made in connection with an employee’s assigned normal duties is not protected.

8.    “Report” means an oral or written protected disclosure of information as defined above.

9.    “Investigator” means the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District investigation officer.

10.    “Use of official authority or influence” includes promising to confer, or conferring, any benefit; effecting, or threatening to effect, or taking, or directing others to take, or recommending, processing, or approving, any personnel action, including but not limited to, appointment, promotion, transfer, performance, evaluation, suspension, or other disciplinary action.
 
 
If there is any conflict between the provisions of this policy, including definitions, and those used in New York State Education Law Section 3028-d, Civil Service Law Section 75-b or Labor Law Section 740, the statutory provisions shall control.
 
II.    Reporting Improper Activities
 
A.    Reporting Improper Activities

Any person may report information alleging improper activity under Procedure (s) established by the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District Board of Education
 
B.    Where to Report Improper Activities

Reports that disclose information concerning improper activities shall be submitted as follows:

1.    Classified, Certificated and unclassified employees shall provide information to the immediate Supervisor or the information shall be provided directly to the Superintendent.

2.    Applicants for Jordan-Elbridge Central School District employment shall submit information directly to Superintendent.

3.    If the Superintendent is the subject of the information the Supervisor or any other individual receiving the information shall submit it directly to the President of the Board.

C.    Procedure for Investigating Reports of Improper Activities

Reports alleging improper activity will be investigated, if warranted, and reported according to procedures established by the Superintendent and the Board of Education.
 
III.    Protection from Actual or Attempted Acts of Interference, Intimidation, Reprisal, Retaliation, Threats and Coercion, for Reporting Improper Activities
 
A.    Reprisal, Retaliation, Threats, Coercion, Intimidation or Interference with the Right to Report Information of Improper Activities Prohibited

A Jordan-Elbridge Central School District employee may not directly or indirectly use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of his or her position or office to interfere with the right of a person to provide information as described in Section II.A (above); or intentionally engage in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion or similar acts against a person as a result of his or her providing, or attempting to provide, such information or refusing to obey and illegal order.

B.    Filing a Written Complaint

1.    When information, as described in Section II. A has been provided under the procedures of Section II.B and the complainant becomes the subject of acts or actual or attempted reprisal, retaliation, interference, intimidation, coercion or threats, a complaint shall be filed directly with an immediate Supervisor, except as provided in III.B.2, below. The Supervisor shall be responsible for submitting the complaint to the Superintendent with a memorandum from the Supervisor.

2.    When information, as described in II.A has been provided under the procedures of II.B and the complainant becomes the subject of actual or attempted interference or retaliation, reprisal, intimidation, coercion or threats, a complaint shall be filed directly with Superintendent under the following conditions.

a.    The person is an applicant for employment; or

b.    The employee does not wish to file the complaint with and immediate Supervisor because the disclosure of improper activity or complaint of reprisal action involves allegations against the Supervisor.

3.    Any complaint filed with the Superintendent or Board Chair must be filed within 12 months of the alleged act or threat of interference or retaliation.

4.    In order for a complaint of actual or attempted acts of interference, intimidation, reprisal, retaliation, threats or coercion to be accepted by the Superintendent or Board Chair, the complainant must have previously provided information, as described in Section II.A pursuant to the procedures in Section II.B with the immediate Supervisor, Superintendent or President of the Board.

5.    An exception shall be made where the complainant presents a preponderance of evidence that the complainant was prevented from providing information by intimidation or interference. A preponderance of evidence means that it is more likely than not that the intimidation or interference has occurred. The President of the Board will determine if the evidence is sufficient in his/her sole discretion.

6.    A complaint of actual or attempted acts or interference, reprisal, retaliation, intimidation, coercion, threats or similar improper acts may also be filed with a local law enforcement agency pursuant to the New York Penal Law.
C.    Investigation of Complaints by the Superintendent

1.     The Superintendent shall determine issues of timeliness and where warranted, investigate complaints form any person alleging actual or attempted acts of reprisal, interference, intimidation, retaliation, threats, coercion or similar acts.

2.     When a complaint is filed, the investigation and findings shall be limited to the interference, reprisal or retaliation aspect of the complaint only.

3.     Before final findings are made, the Superintendent will provide a copy of the complaint and any documents upon which the Superintendent intends to rely in reaching findings to the person accused of interference, intimidation, reprisal, retaliation, threats, or coercion.  That person will be provided the opportunity to respond to the complaint and to file a written statement, which will become part of the record submitted to the Superintendent

4.     If the complaint alleges that the Superintendent engaged in improper conduct in violation of this Policy, the Superintendent shall not investigate the complaint or be involved with the preparation of the investigation report.  The investigation report and file shall be directly provided to the President of the Board who shall investigate the matter or designate someone to investigate the alleged improper conduct.

D.    Superintendent’s Decision

1.     The Superintendent shall reach a decision regarding the complaint and shall communicate that decision to the complainant and to the person or persons accused of violating this Policy. The Superintendent’s decision will include any appropriate relief for the complainant.

2.    If the complaint alleges that the Superintendent engaged in improper conduct in violation of this Policy, the complaint shall be presented to the President of the Board, who will take the administrative actions described for the Superintendent

E.    Discipline of a Jordan-Elbridge Central School District Employee

Subject to existing and applicable Jordan-Elbridge Central School District personnel program policies and collective bargaining agreements and procedures established by the Board of Education, the Superintendent will determine the appropriate disciplinary action, if any, to be initiated against a Jordan-Elbridge Central School District employee found to have taken reprisal actions, interfered or retaliated, as defined in Section III.A.

F.    Appeal of Decision

Decisions of the Superintendent may be appealed to the Board of Education pursuant to existing, applicable Jordan-Elbridge Central School District personnel program policies and collective bargaining agreements and procedures established by the Personnel Commission.

G.    Annual Report

The Superintendent shall submit an annual report of actions taken under this policy through the Audit Committee to the Board of Education. The report should include complaints received and acted on during the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).
 
 
Superintendent: James R. Froio
Phone: 315.689.8500
Address: 9 N. Chappell St., PO Box 902 | Jordan, NY 13080