ACLU of Maryland Whistleblower Policy
(Adopted March 12, 2015 - ACLU of Maryland Board Meeting)
The ACLU of Maryland Employee Handbook requires directors, other volunteers, and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics, as well as conforming to general laws governing the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. Employees and representatives of the organization must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
The objectives of the ACLU of Maryland Whistleblower Policy are to establish policies and procedures for:
- The submission of concerns regarding questionable accounting or audit matters, violations of legal ethics, and violations of laws governing nonprofits by employees, directors, officers, and other stakeholders of the organization, on a confidential and anonymous basis.
- The receipt, retention, and treatment of complaints received by the organization regarding accounting, internal controls, or auditing matters.
- The protection of directors, volunteers and employees reporting concerns from retaliatory actions.
Each director, volunteer, and employee of ACLU of Maryland has an obligation to report in accordance with this Whistleblower Policy (a) questionable or improper accounting or auditing matters, and (b) violations and suspected violations of ACLU of Maryland's Employee Handbook (hereinafter collectively referred to as Concerns), and (c) violations of legal ethics and/or violations of laws governing nonprofits
Authority of Finance Committee
All reported Concerns will be forwarded to the Finance Committee in accordance with the procedures set forth herein. The Finance Committee shall be responsible for investigating, and making appropriate recommendations to the Board of Directors, with respect to all reported Concerns.
This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable directors, volunteers, and employees to raise Concerns within the Organization for investigation and appropriate action. With this goal in mind, no director, volunteer, or employee who, in good faith, reports a Concern shall be subject to retaliation or, in the case of an employee, adverse employment consequences. Moreover, a volunteer or employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a Concern in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including dismissal from the volunteer position or termination of employment.
Employees should first discuss their Concern with their immediate supervisor. If, after speaking with his or her supervisor, the individual continues to have reasonable grounds to believe the Concern is valid or if, for any reason, an employee is uncomfortable reporting to a supervisor or if the supervisor is a subject of the Concern, then the concerns should be reported to one of the following authorities who are not a subject of the Concern, in the following order: the Executive Director, the Board President, or the ACLU of Maryland General Counsel.
After the Concern is reported verbally to any of the individuals listed above, the individual receiving the verbal report, with assistance from the person reporting the Concern, shall reduce the Concern to writing and promptly report the Concern to the Chair of the Finance Committee, who has specific and exclusive responsibility to investigate all Concerns. If the individual receiving the report for any reason does not promptly forward the Concern to the Finance Committee, the reporting individual should directly report the Concern to the Chair of the Finance Committee. Contact information for the Chair of the Finance Committee may be obtained through the Executive Director. Concerns may be also be submitted anonymously. Such anonymous Concerns should be in writing and sent directly to the Chair of the Finance Committee.
Directors and Other Volunteers
Members of the ACLU of Maryland Board of Directors and other volunteers should submit Concerns in writing directly to the Chair of the Finance Committee. Contact information for the Chair of the Finance Committee may be obtained from the Executive Director.
Handling of Reported Violations
The Finance Committee shall address all reported Concerns. The Chair of the Finance Committee shall immediately notify the Finance Committee, the President, and the Executive Director of any such report. The Chair of the Finance Committee will notify the sender and acknowledge receipt of the Concern within five business days, if possible. It will not be possible to acknowledge receipt of anonymously submitted Concerns.
The Finance Committee, working with the ACLU of Maryland General Counsel, will promptly investigate all reports and appropriate corrective action will be recommended to the Board of Directors, if warranted by the investigation. In addition, action taken must include a conclusion and/or follow-up with the complainant for complete closure of the Concern.
The Finance Committee and/or the General Counsel has the authority to retain outside legal counsel, accountants, private investigators, or any other resource deemed necessary to conduct a full and complete investigation of the allegations.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone reporting a Concern must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates an improper accounting or auditing practice, a violation of the Employee Handbook, or the violations of legal ethics, and violations of laws governing nonprofits by employees, directors, officers, and other stakeholders of the organization. The act of making allegations that prove to be unsubstantiated, and that prove to have been made maliciously, recklessly, or with the foreknowledge that the allegations are false, will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including dismissal from the volunteer position or termination of employment. Such conduct may also give rise to other actions, including civil lawsuits.
Reports of Concerns, and investigations pertaining thereto, shall be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.
Disclosure of reports of Concerns to individuals not involved in the investigation will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment. Such conduct may also give rise to other actions, including civil lawsuits.
This whistleblower policy shall become effective immediately upon adoption by the ACLU of Maryland's Board of Directors at which time it will be considered an addendum to the Personnel Policy.