The New York Law School (“NYLS”) Whistleblower Policy (“the Policy”) has been established to provide a means for directors, officers, employees and volunteers of NYLS to raise good faith concerns about any action or suspected action taken by or within NYLS that is or appears to be illegal, fraudulent, or in violation of any adopted policy of NYLS (“Suspected Violation”).
NYLS requires its directors, officers, employees and volunteers to observe the highest standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. Early identification and resolution of ethical issues that might arise is critical to maintaining sound business, including but not limited to financial, practices. In this spirit, NYLS’s directors, officers, employees and volunteers are encouraged to raise good faith concerns in any instances in which these standards may be compromised.
All directors, officers, employees and volunteers are covered under this Policy. It is the responsibility of all directors, officers, employees and volunteers to comply with this Policy and to report Suspected Violations in accordance with the procedures set forth in this Policy. The individuals involved in such Suspected Violations may be directors, officers, employees, volunteers, auditors, vendors or other third parties.
The Compliance Officer, as designated by the Dean and set forth below, under the supervision of the Chair of the Audit Committee, shall administer the Policy and regularly report to the Audit Committee regarding the Policy.
Procedure for Reporting Suspected Violations
Any person may report a Suspected Violation to the Compliance Officer, either in written or oral form (the
“Reporting Party”). In all cases, the Reporting Party should provide as much detail as possible regarding the specific concerns along with any supporting information and documentation.
If (i) the Reporting Party is uncomfortable reporting the complaint to the Compliance Officer, (ii) the complaint concerns the Compliance Officer, or (iii) the Reporting Party is unsatisfied with the Compliance Officer’s response, the Reporting Party is encouraged to instead speak with his or her supervisor or any member of management or the Executive Committee with whom he or she is comfortable. In such case, the manager or Executive Committee member to whom such Suspected Violation is reported shall in turn report such Suspected Violation to the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee shall then designate someone to investigate and oversee the resolution of the complaint and all references to the Compliance Officer in this Policy with respect to such complaint shall be applicable to such designee. Such report shall include a statement as to weather such Suspected Violation was reported to the Compliance Officer; if it was not, the report shall indicate why the Suspected Violation was not reported to the Compliance Officer.
Complaints of Suspected Violations may be made anonymously. Anonymous complaints should be detailed to the greatest extent possible because follow up questions will not be possible, making the investigation and resolution of such complaints difficult.
NYLS will maintain the confidentiality of the Reporting Party’s identity and the information provided by the Reporting Party to the greatest extent practicable within the limitations of the law, NYLS’s policies, and the need to conduct a fair and adequate investigation and take necessary corrective action.
Procedure for Handling of Reported Violations
All complaints will be promptly investigated by or under the direction of the Compliance Officer, and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the investigation. The Compliance Officer shall report to the Audit Committee regarding such complaints, and may refer the matter to the Board of Trustees for action, depending on the Compliance Officer’s determination of the seriousness or severity of the complaint.
Following investigation, NYLS will take appropriate remedial and disciplinary action as it deems justified by the circumstances, including, but not limited to, terminating employment, board membership or volunteer status, seeking restitution, removal from office, or pursuing criminal prosecution.
Note that matters that are covered by NYLS’s human resources policies shall be handled in accordance with such policies.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a report concerning a Suspected Violation must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed may indicate a Suspected Violation. Although the Reporting Party is not expected to prove the truth of the allegation(s) asserted in the complaint, she or he must demonstrate reasonable grounds for concern. No investigation will be made of unspecified wrongdoing or broad allegations. The Reporting Party is not responsible for investigating the activity or for determining fault or corrective measures.
Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowing them to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.
Protection Against Retaliation
NYLS expressly prohibits any form of intimidation, harassment, discrimination or other retaliation or, in the case of employees, adverse employment consequences against directors, officers, employees and volunteers who in good faith report Suspected Violations.
Reports of retaliation should be immediately reported as discussed above. Any person who retaliates against someone who has reported a Suspected Violation in good faith is subject to appropriate discipline and corrective action, up to and including termination in the case of an employee.
A Reporting Party’s right to protection under this policy does not provide him or her with immunity for participating or being complicit in a Suspected Violation.
NYLS shall distribute the Policy to all directors, officers, and employees and to volunteers who provide substantial services to NYLS. The Policy may also be posted on NYLS’ website or posted at the NYLS offices in a conspicuous location accessible to all employees and volunteers.
Any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding this Policy also should be addressed directly to the
Adopted by NYLS’s Board of Trustees on September 30, 2015.
Jody A. Pariante, Vice President of Human Resources, 212.431.2137, Jody.Pariante@nyls.edu