Questions and Answers for AU Employees
Q. What is EthicsPoint?
EthicsPoint is a comprehensive and anonymous Internet and telephone based reporting tool that assists management and employees in working together to address fraud, misconduct, and other violations in the workplace, while helping to cultivate a positive work environment.
Q. May I report using either the Internet or the telephone?
Yes you may. By giving you choices, EthicsPoint helps ensure that employees can file a report anonymously and in the manner most comfortable or convenient to them. To report via the toll free phone number call 1-866-294-4871. To make a report via the internet click on the appropriate link from the Auburn University Internal Auditing Department web site or go directly to www.ethicspoint.com and follow the links under ''File a Report....
Q. Why do we need a system like EthicsPoint?
There are several reasons why we need a reporting tool:
- Through open channels of communication, you can participate in improving the institution and helping to create an ethical environment.
- Auburn University’s external auditors have recommended we implement such a system. In addition, SACS also suggested the implementation of such a system.
- In January 2005, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants recommended that all organizations develop an anonymous reporting system (preferably operated by a third party as ours is with EthicsPoint).
- Reporting systems are increasingly being viewed as a necessary best business practice in not-for-profit organizations.
Q. How was EthicsPoint selected for Auburn University?
Proposals were solicited from numerous service providers. Internal Auditing reviewed the proposals received. An advisory panel was assembled which included representation from a cross section of campus including all employee groups (University Senate, A&P, Staff Council). The advisory group heard presentations from the most highly rated companies. EthicsPoint was the consensus choice of the advisory group.
Q. Why should I report what I know? What’s in it for me?
We all have the right to work in a positive environment and with that right, comes the responsibility of acting in an ethical manner and letting the appropriate people know if someone is not acting appropriately. In addition, as stewards of public funds we have a responsibility to the public to ensure these funds are expended in accordance with legal requirements.
Q. What type of situations should I report?
Our hotline is currently designed to receive reports regarding ethical issues related to financial matters, internal control and NCAA violations. The hotline page redirects reports in other areas to the appropriate campus location.
Q. If I see a violation, shouldn't I just report it to my manager or human resources and let them deal with it?
Our preference is that you use existing campus reporting methods when at all possible. However, the reporting hotline is another way employees can voice concerns, especially when they may not feel comfortable with the existing system.
Q. It is my understanding that any report I send from a university computer generates a server log that shows every web-site that my PC connects with, and won’t this log identify me as a report originator?
EthicsPoint does not generate or maintain any internal connection logs with IP addresses, so no information linking your PC to EthicsPoint is available.
EthicsPoint has noted that fewer than 12% of reports are generated during business hours, most people prefer to report from the comfort of their home after hours and on the weekend.
Q. Can I file a report from home and still remain anonymous?
A report from home, a neighbor’s computer, or any Internet portal will remain secure and anonymous. An Internet portal never identifies a visitor by screen name and the EthicsPoint system strips away Internet addresses so that anonymity is totally maintained. Plus, EthicsPoint is contractually committed not to pursue a reporter’s identity.
Q. I am concerned that the information I provide EthicsPoint will ultimately reveal my identity. How can you assure me that will not happen?
The EthicsPoint system is designed to protect your anonymity. However, you as a reporting party need to ensure that the body of the report does not reveal your identity by accident, for example, ''From my desk next to Jan Smith''... or ''In my 33 years''....
Q. I am aware of some individuals involved with unethical conduct, but it doesn't affect me. Why should I bother reporting it?
As stewards of public funds, misconduct has implications for the entire institution and consequently all employees. All unethical conduct, at any level, ultimately hurts everyone. If you know of any incidents of misconduct or ethical violations, consider it your duty to yourself and your coworkers to report it.
Q. Where do these reports go? Who can access them?
Reports are entered directly on the EthicsPoint secure server to prevent any possible breech in security. EthicsPoint makes these reports available only to specific individuals at Auburn University who are charged with evaluating the type of violation and facts of the incident. Each of these report recipients has had training in keeping these reports in the utmost confidence.
Q. What if my boss or other managers are involved in a violation? Won’t they get the report?
The EthicsPoint system and report distribution are designed so that no report is distributed to implicated parties, their peers or their subordinates.
Q. What if I remember something important about the incident after I filed the report? Or what if the university has further questions for me concerning my report?
When you file a report at the EthicsPoint Web site or via the toll-free number, you receive a unique user name and are asked to choose a password. You can return to the EthicsPoint system again either by Internet or telephone and access the original report to answer questions posed by a company representative and add further information that will help resolve open issues. We strongly suggest that you return to the site in ten business days to answer any questions submitted by those reviewing the report. You and AU have now entered into an ''anonymous dialogue... where circumstances can be clarified and additional information obtained.
Q. Are these follow-on reports as secure as the first one?
All EthicsPoint correspondences are held in the same strict confidence as the initial report, continuing under the umbrella of anonymity.
Q. What if I want to be identified with my report?
There is a section in the report for identifying yourself, if you wish.
Q. Is the telephone toll-free hot line confidential and anonymous too?
Yes. You will be asked to provide the same information that you would provide in an Internet-based report and an interviewer will type your responses into the EthicsPoint Web site. These reports have the same security and confidentiality measures applied to them during delivery.
The EthicsPoint® name and logo are registered trademarks of Ethicspoint, Inc., all rights reserved