PART A:  ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES Policy No. 32

PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION FOR GOOD FAITH REPORTING OF NONCOMPLIANCE (WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS)

The purpose of this policy is to outline the protections available to the employees of Family Service Association, who in good faith, report possible misconduct, violations of law or regulation or violations of its policy. Family Service Association recognizes the value of having its employees report concerns about any real or potential non-compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and internal policies and procedures. FSA provides its employees with various ways through which they may communicate compliance issues and prohibits retribution or retaliation against anyone who in good faith reports such concerns.

Anti-retaliation laws, including the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) prohibits FSA from retaliating against any FSA employee who discloses or threatens to disclose, an activity, policy or practice of FSA that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, rule, regulation, that the employee reasonably believes is fraudulent or criminal activity; who provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation or hearing into a potential violation of law by FSA or its business associates or who objects to or refuses to participate in any activity, policy or practice which the FSA employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to law; is criminal or fraudulent; or is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment.

 

This policy protects FSA employees from adverse actions or credible threats of adverse action being taken against them as a result of a reasonable and good faith allegation of misconduct.

Procedure:

  1. Policy Statement:

Through new employee orientation, in-service training, FSA newsletters and other methods of internal communication, FSA informs its employees of their responsibility to report their concerns about actions taken by FSA which may be inconsistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, accreditation agencies and FSA policies and procedures.

Policies related to the FSA Code of Conduct (Part D: Personnel Policies) and preventing Fraud, Waste and Abuse and the Federal False Claims Act (“FCA”) (Part A: Administrative Policies Policy No. 28) state that individuals are free to report any information about possible misconduct or inappropriate business practices. Our Code of Conduct requires employees who know about misconduct to report the misconduct using any of the following mechanisms:

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PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION FOR GOOD FAITH REPORTING OF NONCOMPLIANCE (WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS)

  • To a supervisor or Program Manager;
  • To other FSA management (Human Resources, Vice-President, etc.);
  • To the Corporate Compliance Officer;
  • Using FSA’s confidential telephone hotline service:

FSA recognizes some employees may be reluctant to report compliance issues if they are concerned they may be subject to retaliation, retribution or harassment. Therefore, FSA prohibits anyone from engaging in retaliation, retribution or harassment directed against an individual who in good faith reports a concern directly to FSA management, the Corporate Compliance Officer or an appropriate government Agency or using FSA’s confidential telephone hotline service listed above.

Employees are protected from any adverse action if they report in good faith. Once a report is made, FSA will:

  • Investigate any complaints of retaliation or interference made by employee/whistleblowers;
  • Take immediate steps to stop any allegations of retaliation; and,
  • Discipline any person associated with FSA found to have retaliated against or interfered with an employee/whistleblower.
  1. Reporting Process: All suspected or alleged cases of retaliation, retribution and/or harassment will be referred to the Corporate Compliance Officer (CCO) who is responsible for the investigation of such matters. If the investigation shows an adverse action has been taken against a FSA employee in retaliation for a good faith disclosure, the adverse action will be reversed and any individual involved in the prohibited behavior will be disciplined in accordance with FSA policies and procedures.
    1. Filing a Report — Employees who want to report a problem under this policy should contact the Corporate Compliance Officer immediately. In the event the alleged retaliatory action involves the CCO or the CCO has a conflict of interest as defined in this policy, the complaint should be filed with the Vice President of Operations.
    1. Contents of Report – The report must be in writing and should include specific information documenting and supporting the whistleblower’s complaint. The following information should be included if available.

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PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION FOR GOOD FAITH REPORTING OF NONCOMPLIANCE (WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS)

  1. A copy of the initial report filed by the whistleblower alleging the misconduct;
  1. An explanation of the alleged interference with the filing of the report or the retaliation taken as a result of filing the report;
  2. Details related to the retaliation including the person involved in the retaliation, dates, specific actions, etc.;
  1. Contact information including name, address, telephone and e-mail address and contact information for the whistleblower’s representative, if any; and,
  1. A statement signed by the whistleblower that the contents of the initial complaint are true or are believed by the whistleblower to be true.
    1. Initial report review and acknowledgement to Whistleblower

The CCO will investigate and respond to the whistleblower within a reasonable number of days. This initial review will only assess the nature and seriousness of the retaliatory action:

        1. Review the whistleblower’s report of retaliation and determine whether or not an investigation is warranted.
        1. If an investigation is not warranted, the CCO will inform the whistleblower in writing and provide a justification for the decision. The whistleblower may appeal the decision of the CCO to the President/CEO.
        1. If an investigation is warranted, the CCO will be responsible for initiating and conducting the investigation.
        1. If additional information is required for the CCO to make a determination related to the need for an investigation, the CCO will request the additional information from the whistleblower in writing specifying what information is needed and a timeline for responding. Failure to comply with the CCO request may result in a discontinuation of the investigation.
  1. Interim Protections: At any point prior to resolution of the whistleblower’s complaint, the whistleblower may request interim action be taken to protect the whistleblower against an existing adverse action or credible threat of adverse action. Based on the available evidence, the CCO will consult with the appropriate person(s) and make a determination related to the existing or perceived adverse action. The CCO will make a recommendation to the President/CEO regarding interim protective actions. The CCO will document the facts related to the decision and share the results of the decision with the whistleblower in writing.

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PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION FOR GOOD FAITH REPORTING OF NONCOMPLIANCE (WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS)

When the investigation is concluded and the whistleblower allegation is fully resolved, the temporary measures taken to protect the whistleblower will be discontinued and may be replaced with permanent remedies.

  1. Resolving Allegations of Retaliation or Interference

Credible allegations will be investigated according to the following process:

  1. Role of Compliance Office — The Corporate Compliance Officer will initiate the investigative process and be responsible for coordinating the investigation. The CCO will determine if a committee is required or if the issue can be resolved through less formal measures such as individual interviews.
  1. Investigation Process — the investigation process will include interviews with the whistleblower, the alleged retaliator and any other individuals relevant to the investigation who can provide material information regarding the allegation. FSA employees are expected to cooperate fully with any investigation. Documents and any other materials relevant to the investigation will be collected and reviewed.
  1. Timelines — all investigations of whistleblower retaliation must be timely and in no case take longer than 180 days unless the whistleblower agrees to an extension.
  1. Confidentiality — Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.
  1. Final Report — the findings and conclusions of the investigation will be documented in a written report. The report will include a description of the investigative process, findings of fact, a list of individuals interviewed, an analysis of the evidence and recommendations.
  1. Determination of Retaliation — the final determination as to whether or not retaliation or interference has occurred will be made by the Corporate Compliance Officer in consultation with the President/CEO.
  1. Sanctions for Retaliation or Interference in the Reporting Process

FSA and its community members may not use this policy as a defense against a disciplinary action if that action has been taken for legitimate reasons and in a manner that is consistent with FSA’s policies and procedures. Disciplinary action against an employee or community member whose conduct or performance warrants such action will not be deemed a violation of this policy. Additionally, an individual who knowingly and intentionally makes false allegations of noncompliance will be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including discharge, in accordance with FSA policies and procedures.

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PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION FOR GOOD FAITH REPORTING OF NONCOMPLIANCE (WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS)

If it is determined that retaliation or interference has occurred, the CCO will recommend to the appropriate Vice President remedies and sanctions to satisfy FSA’s obligation to protect the whistleblower. Remedies and sanctions will include disciplining and sanctioning the retaliator and may include dismissal if the retaliator’s actions are considered serious in nature.

  1. Definitions: The following definitions are throughout:

Adverse Action – Any action taken or threatened by a FSA employee that would negatively impact the terms and conditions of the whistleblower’s employment including but not limited to: continued employment, promotion, demotion, loss of status, or negative change in day-to-day responsibilities.

  • Allegation by Whistleblower – Any disclosure, written or oral, to a responsible FSA administrator, the Chief Compliance Officer or to Using FSA’s confidential telephone hotline service:

Conflict of Interest – A conflict of interest exists where the interests of the individual, employment financial or otherwise, might impair or might reasonably appear to impair an individual’s independent judgment in the discharge of his or her duties as an employee of FSA or its community members.

Good Faith Disclosure of Misconduct – For a disclosure to be made in good faith, the whistleblower must make the allegation with a belief in the truth of the allegation based upon the known facts. Allegations made with reckless disregard or in willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation are not made in good faith.

Interference – any attempt by FSA or any person associated with FSA to prevent an individual from reporting an allegation of misconduct or to influence the nature of the report.

Misconduct – Any activity in violation of any state, federal, local law or regulation or FSA policy undertaken by any FSA employee in the performance of the individual’s duties.  Misconduct includes but is not limited to: bribery, coercion, conversion, corruption, fraud, fraudulent conduct, malicious prosecution, malfeasance, misuse of FSA property of facilities and theft of FSA property.

Retaliation – Any adverse action or credible threat of an adverse action taken in response to a whistleblower’s good faith allegation of misconduct.

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PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION FOR GOOD FAITH REPORTING OF NONCOMPLIANCE (WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS)

Whistleblower – A person or entity making the protected disclosure is commonly referred to as a whistleblower. A whistleblower can be an employee, former employee or member of an organization who reports misconduct. Generally the misconduct is a violation of a law, rule or regulation.

Effective Date: 03/12