Baseless Claim—an allegation made with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.
Improper Activities–a serious violation of University policy or procedures; a violation of applicable state and federal laws; or the unauthorized use of University property, resources, or authority for personal gain or other non-University-related purpose except as provided under University policy.
Protected Disclosure–communication about actual or suspected improper activities engaged in by a University employee, student, volunteer, agent or contractor (who is not also the disclosing individual) based on a good faith and reasonable belief that the conduct has both occurred and is wrongful under applicable law, regulation and/or University policy or procedure.
Retaliation–adverse action against an individual because she or he has made a protected disclosure or has participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing involving a protected disclosure.
All members of the Lynn University community (including Board of Trustees members, employees, volunteers, students, donors, vendors, and alumni) are responsible for reporting suspected or actual improper activities (see Definitions). The University is committed to protecting individuals from interference with making a protected disclosure pursuant to this policy and from retaliation for having made a protected disclosure or for having refused an illegal order.
Allegations of suspected improper activities shall be made verbally or in writing as soon as the reporting individual knew or should have known of the misconduct to General Counsel. Such reports shall be factual and contain as much specific information as possible.
II. Investigation and Resolution
All reports received by General Counsel will be referred to the appropriate area vice president or, if the matter involves a fiduciary matter as determined by General Counsel, the Audit Committee for investigation and final determination.
The appropriate area vice president, or designee, or the Board of Trustees’ Audit Committee if the complaint involves a fiduciary matter will oversee the investigation promptly and with discretion, and all information obtained will be handled on a “need to know” basis. A designee of the area vice president or the Board of Trustees’ Audit Committee may be appointed to conduct the investigation. In addition, the University may enlist outside legal, accounting, or other advisors as appropriate may be assigned to conduct the investigation.
The University’s investigation will determine whether reasonable cause exists to believe that an improper activity has occurred. If reasonable cause does not exist, the case will be closed. If, however, reasonable cause does exist, the matter will proceed as follows:
• If the accused is an administrator/staff member or volunteer, the matter will be referred to Employee Services for resolution.
• If the accused is a faculty member, the matter will be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for resolution.
• If the accused is a student, the matter will be forwarded to the Vice President for Student Affairs for formal resolution.
• If the accused is a vendor or contractor, the Vice President for Business and Finance will enact appropriate corrective action, which may include removal from the campus(es) and termination of any applicable contractual or other arrangements.
In addition, if illegal activity is suspected, the case will be referred to local law enforcement.
III. Whistleblower Protection
Lynn University employees may not retaliate against a Whistleblower with the intent or effect of adversely affecting the terms or conditions of employment or enrollment. If the Whistleblower has made a confidential report, Lynn University will exercise reasonable care to keep the Whistleblower’s identity and the report confidential, unless (1) the Whistleblower agrees to the disclosure; (2) disclosure is necessary to allow Lynn University or law enforcement officials to investigate or respond effectively to the report; (3) disclosure is required by law; or (4) the person(s) accused of violations by the Whistleblower are entitled to the information as a matter of institutional due process in disciplinary proceedings.
When a person reports allegations of suspected improper activities to an appropriate authority the report is known as a protected disclosure. Lynn University employees and applicants for employment who make a protected disclosure are protected from retaliation. Whistleblowers who reasonably believe that a Lynn University employee has retaliated them against may file a written complaint with General Counsel. Each retaliation complaint will be reviewed and investigated in a systematic and timely manner. A valid retaliation complaint will result in appropriate disciplinary action. Such disciplinary action may include termination, suspension, expulsion, cancellation of the applicable vendor contract, removal from campus and/or any other action the University deems necessary.
The prohibition against retaliation is not intended to prohibit managers or supervisors from exercising legitimate supervisory responsibilities in the usual scope of their duties, other institutional policies, and valid performance-related factors.
IV. Baseless Claims
A Baseless Claim results when an allegation is made with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. A Lynn University community member who makes a Baseless Claim may be subject to disciplinary action by Lynn University and/or legal recourse by individuals who are falsely accused.
V. Other Remedies and Appropriate Agencies
In addition to the internal complaint process set forth above, any member of the campus community who has information concerning allegedly unlawful conduct may contact the appropriate government agency or call the Florida State Attorney’s Office.
More specific requirements regarding the reporting of suspected or actual improper activities in the field of intercollegiate athletics are available in the Athletic Department. Members of the campus community should consult with the Athletic Director or the University Compliance Officer in the event of suspected or actual improper activities involving the University’s athletic programs.
To learn more about this policy or the supporting procedures, please contact General Counsel.
Policy updated on: Oct. 24, 2018