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Whistleblower Protection

FULTON COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

POLICY 07: WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

SECTION 1. PURPOSE
The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency (Agency) shall operate with the highest standards of conduct and ethics. The Agency shall investigate any suspected or alleged improper conduct by any Agency employee, agent or Board member.

SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS

Baseless Allegations:

Allegations made with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. Persons making such allegations may be subject to disciplinary action by the Agency, and/or legal claims by individuals accused of such conduct.

Improper Conduct:

The act of wrongdoing, misconduct, malfeasance or other improper behavior by an employee, board member or agent of the Agency, including a deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit. Examples of improper conduct include, but are not limited to:

Improper Conduct:

The act of wrongdoing, misconduct, malfeasance or other improper behavior by an employee, board member or agent of the Agency, including a deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit. Examples of improper conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Forgery or alteration of documents;
  • Unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files;
  • Fraudulent financial reporting;
  • Pursuit of a benefit or advantage in violation of the Agency’s Code of Ethics Policy;
  • Misappropriation or misuse of the Agency’s resources, such as funds, supplies, or other assets;
  • Authorizing or receiving compensation for goods not received or services not performed;
  • Authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked; and
  • The violation of any Law, Rule or Regulation.

Law, Rule or Regulation:

Any duly enacted statute, or ordinance or any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to any federal, state or local statute or ordinance.

Public Body: includes the following:

  • The United States Congress, any state legislature, or any popularly-elected local governmental body, or any member or employee thereof;
  • Any federal, state, or local judiciary, or any member or employee thereof, or any grand or petit jury;
  • and Any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, prosecutorial office, or police or peach office.

Retaliatory Personnel Action:

The discharge, suspension or demotion of an employee, or other adverse employment action taken against the employee in the terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to, threats of physical harm, loss of job, punitive work assignments, or impact on salary or fees.

Whistle-Blower:

An employee, consultant or agent who informs the Executive Director or any Agency Board member, pursuant to the provisions of this policy about an alleged activity relating to the Agency which that person believes to be Improper Conduct.

SECTION 3. REPORTING IMPROPER CONDUCT

A person’s concern of improper conduct by an Agency Board member, staff or agent shall be reported to the Executive Director. The Executive Director shall immediately report the alleged improper conduct to the Agency Chairman and Agency Counsel.

A person’s concern of improper conduct by the Executive Director shall be reported to the Agency Chairman. The Agency Chairman shall immediately report the alleged improper conduct to Agency Counsel.

If a person determines that it will be difficult to report a concern of improper conduct to the Executive Director, the person should report said concern to a member of the Agency Board. The Board member receiving said concern shall immediately notify the Executive Director and Agency Counsel.

SECTION 4. INVESTIGATION

The Agency’s Counsel shall conduct all investigations of improper conduct unless otherwise determined by the Agency Board. In such instance, the Agency Board shall, within forty-five (45) days of the receipt of a concern of improper conduct designate the person, entity or firm to conduct the investigation.

SECTION 5. WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

The Agency will protect Whistle-Blowers pursuant to the guidelines set forth below.

  • The Agency will use its best efforts to protect Whistle-Blowers against all Retaliatory Personnel Actions. Whistle-Blowing complaints will be handled with sensitivity, discretion and confidentiality to the extent allowed by the circumstances and the law. Generally, this means that Whistle-Blower complaints will only be shared with those who have a need to know so that the Agency can conduct an effective investigation, determine what action to take based on the results of any such investigation, and in appropriate cases, with law enforcement personnel. (Should disciplinary or legal action be taken against a person or persons as a result of a Whistle-Blower complain, such persons may also have right to know the identity of the Whistle-Blower.);
  • Employees, board members, consultants and agents of the Agency may not engage in any Retaliatory Personnel Action against a Whistle-Blower for (i) disclosing or threatening to disclose to the Executive Officer or Board member, as applicable, any activity which that person believes to be Improper Conduct. Whistleblowers who believe that they have been the victim of a Retaliatory Personnel Action may file a written complaint with the Executive Director or Board member, as applicable. Any complaint of a Retaliatory Personnel Action will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective measures taken if such allegations are substantiated. This protection from Retaliatory Personnel Action is not intended to prohibit supervisors from taking action, including disciplinary action, in the usual scope of their duties and based on valid performance-related factors;
  • Agency Employees, Agency Board members, and agents of the Agency may not engage in any Retaliatory Personnel Action against a Whistle-Blower for (i) disclosing, or threatening to disclose to a Public Body any activity which that person believes to be Improper Conduct, or (ii) providing information to, or testifying before, any Public Body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any such Improper Conduct. Provided, however, that Whistle-Blowers who disclose or threaten to disclose any Improper Conduct to a Public Body are not covered under this policy unless he or she first brings the allegation of Improper Conduct to the attention of the Executive Director or Board member, as applicable, and has afforded the Agency a reasonable opportunity to correct and/or remedy such Improper Conduct; and
  • Whistle-Blowers must be cautious to avoid Baseless Allegations.

SECTION 6. ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN

All relevant matters, including suspected but unproved allegations of Improper Conduct, will be reviewed and analyzed, with documentation of the receipt, retention, investigation and treatment of the complaint. Appropriate corrective action will be taken, if necessary, and findings will be communicated back to the reporting person, if appropriate. Investigations may warrant as determined by the Agency Board investigation by an independent person such as auditors and/or attorneys.


Adopted: September 30, 2008

SECTION 5. WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

The Agency will protect Whistle-Blowers pursuant to the guidelines set forth below.

  • The Agency will use its best efforts to protect Whistle-Blowers against all Retaliatory Personnel Actions. Whistle-Blowing complaints will be handled with sensitivity, discretion and confidentiality to the extent allowed by the circumstances and the law. Generally, this means that Whistle-Blower complaints will only be shared with those who have a need to know so that the Agency can conduct an effective investigation, determine what action to take based on the results of any such investigation, and in appropriate cases, with law enforcement personnel. (Should disciplinary or legal action be taken against a person or persons as a result of a Whistle-Blower complain, such persons may also have right to know the identity of the Whistle-Blower.);
  • Employees, board members, consultants and agents of the Agency may not engage in any Retaliatory Personnel Action against a Whistle-Blower for (i) disclosing or threatening to disclose to the Executive Officer or Board member, as applicable, any activity which that person believes to be Improper Conduct. Whistleblowers who believe that they have been the victim of a Retaliatory Personnel Action may file a written complaint with the Executive Director or Board member, as applicable. Any complaint of a Retaliatory Personnel Action will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective measures taken if such allegations are substantiated. This protection from Retaliatory Personnel Action is not intended to prohibit supervisors from taking action, including disciplinary action, in the usual scope of their duties and based on valid performance-related factors;
  • Agency Employees, Agency Board members, and agents of the Agency may not engage in any Retaliatory Personnel Action against a Whistle-Blower for (i) disclosing, or threatening to disclose to a Public Body any activity which that person believes to be Improper Conduct, or (ii) providing information to, or testifying before, any Public Body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any such Improper Conduct. Provided, however, that Whistle-Blowers who disclose or threaten to disclose any Improper Conduct to a Public Body are not covered under this policy unless he or she first brings the allegation of Improper Conduct to the attention of the Executive Director or Board member, as applicable, and has afforded the Agency a reasonable opportunity to correct and/or remedy such Improper Conduct; and
  • Whistle-Blowers must be cautious to avoid Baseless Allegations.

Adopted: September 30, 2008