I. Whistleblower Policy
This Whistleblower Policy (the “Policy”) is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns within The Foundling prior to seeking outside resolution. The Foundling’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) is responsible for overseeing the implementation of, and compliance with, this Policy, which provides whistleblower protections in two important areas, discussed further below: confidentiality and non-retaliation. Nothing in this Policy prohibits an employee from reporting concerns, making lawful disclosures, or communicating with any governmental authority about conduct the employee believes violates any laws or regulations.
This policy is not intended as a vehicle for reporting violations of The Foundling’s applicable human resources policies, problems with co-workers or managers, or for reporting issues related to alleged employment discrimination or sexual or any other form of unlawful harassment. Such issues should be addressed in accordance with The Foundling’s employee handbook (“the Handbook”) and any other applicable personnel policies.
A copy of this Policy shall be distributed to all directors, officers, corporate members, employees and volunteers who provide substantial services to The Foundling and/or posted to The Foundling’s internal or external website so it is accessible to employees and volunteers.
Whistleblower: A whistleblower is an employee, volunteer, officer, corporate member, or director of The Foundling who in good faith reports an activity that he/she reasonably believes to be:
- Illegal, fraudulent, unethical, or dishonest;
- In violation of The Foundling’s Code of Conduct, the Handbook, or any other policy of The Foundling; or
- A quality of care issue (i.e. suspected neglect or abuse of a client).
A. Reporting Responsibility Procedure
Whistleblower activity should be reported to one or more of the parties specified in Section 3 of this Policy. Examples of illegal or dishonest activities are: violations of federal, state or local laws; billing for services not performed or for goods not delivered; and other fraudulent financial reporting.
It is the responsibility of all directors, officers, employees, corporate members and volunteers to comply with the Code of Conduct and other policies of The Foundling, and to report suspected and/or actual violations and improper conduct in accordance with the procedures described in Section B of this Policy. The whistleblower is not responsible for investigating the activity, either before or after making a report, or for determining fault or corrective measures; appropriate management officials are charged with these responsibilities.
B. Reporting Violations Procedure
The Code of Conduct and the Handbook address The Foundling’s open-door policy and suggest that employees or volunteers share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with someone who can address them properly. In most cases, an employee’s supervisor is in the best position to address an area of concern. However, if you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor, you are not satisfied with your supervisor’s response, or your concern or complaint involves your supervisor, you should speak with someone in the Human Resources Department or anyone in management whom you are comfortable approaching, including by using any of the resources listed below.
All employees are required to report knowledge of, or a concern of, illegal, dishonest or fraudulent activity to his/her supervisor, the Vice President of Human Resources, or the Compliance Officer. Employees should always report cases of suspected fraud directly to the Compliance Officer. Additionally, directors, officers, corporate members, and other volunteers should report any concerns regarding illegal, dishonest or fraudulent activity directly to the Compliance Officer.
Employees and volunteers should report suspected or known violations of The Foundling’s Code of Conduct or any Foundling policy through the Compliance Hotline (212-886-4042 or Compliance@NYFoundling.org). Suspected or known quality of care issues should be reported to the ConcernLine (877-368-6354).
C. No Retaliation or Intimidation
No director, officer, employee, corporate member or volunteer who in good faith reports any action or suspected action taken by or within The Foundling that is illegal, fraudulent, unethical, dishonest, in violation of any policy of The Foundling, or that raises a quality of care issue, shall suffer intimidation, harassment, discrimination or other retaliation or, in the case of employees, adverse employment consequence. A director, officer, employee, corporate member or volunteer who retaliates against or intimidates someone for (a) good faith reporting of any action under this Policy, (b) investigating or participating in investigations of violations, (c) participating in self-evaluations, audits and remedial actions, or (d) reporting to appropriate officials pursuant to NYS Labor Law §§ 740 and 741, is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
Any whistleblower who believes he/she is being retaliated against must contact the Vice President of Human Resources, the Compliance Officer or the Compliance Hotline (877-368-6354 or Compliance@NYFoundling.org) immediately. The right of a whistleblower for protection against retaliation does not include immunity for any personal wrongdoing.
D. Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a complaint concerning any activity or suspected activity that is illegal, fraudulent, unethical, dishonest, in violation of any policy of The Foundling, or that raises a quality of care issue must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the disclosed activity constitutes a reportable violation under this Policy. Making a malicious allegation, or an allegation knowing it to be false, will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense. A director, officer, employee, corporate member or volunteer who makes an allegation maliciously, or knowingly makes a false allegation will not be afforded the protections set forth in this Policy.
Reports of violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant or may be submitted anonymously through the Compliance Hotline. Because it is not possible to obtain further details from the whistleblower, anonymous complaints must contain specific, verifiable facts capable of investigation, such as dates, times, names of persons involved, and a description of the alleged wrongdoing. The Foundling is under no obligation to investigate vague anonymous complaints that do not provide adequate information on which to base an investigation.
Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation. Any person responsible for receiving and/or investigating complaints in which the whistleblower has identified him or herself shall keep the identity of the whistleblower confidential by, at a minimum:
- Refraining from disclosing the identity of the whistleblower without the individual’s explicit consent
- Storing any information related to whistleblowers, allegations, and investigations in a secure location
- Limiting the number of people with access to confidential information to the minimum number necessary under the circumstances.
F. Handling of Reported Violations
A person who receives a report of a violation or suspected violation, as outlined in this Policy, may notify the whistleblower in writing to acknowledge receipt of the report. All reports will be promptly investigated by the Compliance Officer, in coordination with the governance committee, audit committee, or other designated subcommittee of the Board, as the circumstances warrant, and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the investigation. Outside legal counsel may be consulted as needed or warranted.
The person who is the subject of a whistleblower report may not be present at or participate in Board or subcommittee deliberations or vote on the matter relating to such complaint. However, the Compliance Officer, the Board, or Board subcommittee may request that the person who is the subject of the report present information as background or answer questions at a subcommittee or Board meeting prior to the commencement of deliberations or voting relating to the report.
Directors who are also employees of The Foundling may not participate in any Board or subcommittee deliberations or voting relating to administration of this Policy.
G. Compliance Officer
The Foundling’s Board has designated the Compliance Officer to administer this Policy. The Compliance Officer is responsible for investigating and resolving all reported complaints and allegations concerning violations of the Code of Conduct, the Handbook, adopted policies or applicable law. The Compliance Officer maintains a log of all reported complaints and allegations, including the status of and outcome to any investigation, and any corrective action taken. The Compliance Officer has direct access to the governance committee of the Board. The Compliance Officer will provide written reports to the governance committee, or another subcommittee designated by the Board, on at least a quarterly basis, describing any complaints received, steps taken to investigate the complaints, and the results of any investigations. As soon as is reasonably possible, the Compliance Officer shall submit any reported concerns or complaints regarding corporate accounting practices, internal controls, auditing, fraud, embezzlement, or other illegal activities to the audit committee or another subcommittee designated by the Board.