(Approved by USM BOR on April 21, 2017; UMGC President on July 1, 2017)
Purpose and Applicability
The purpose of this policy is to set forth the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) policy on employee and applicant disclosure of misconduct and to protect employees and applicants from retaliation in the form of adverse personnel actions for disclosing what the employee or applicant believes evidences certain unlawful, wasteful or hazardous practices. This policy is applicable to all UMGC Nonexempt, Exempt and Overseas Staff employees on Regular and Contingent Status and to applicants for UMGC jobs in these categories. Nonexempt Staff employees who are included in the representation of the collective bargaining unit are subject to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and applicable UMGC HR Policies; where there is a conflict between the two, the MOU will prevail.
Applicant: Any internal or external individual who has applied for a job at UMGC.
Adverse Personnel Action: Any disciplinary action taken against a UMGC employee, including termination; suspension; probation; rejection of a promotion; rejection of a salary increase; failure to hire; involuntary demotion; rejection during probation; overall unsatisfactory performance evaluation; involuntary resignation; involuntary retirement; involuntary reassignment to a position with demonstrably less responsibility or status as the position held prior to the reassignment; or unfavorable change in the general terms and conditions of employment.
Without fear of retaliation, any UMGC employees or Applicants may make known allegations of misconduct against a UMGC employee(s) that the employee or Applicant reasonably believes evidences:
An abuse of authority, gross misconduct, or gross waste of money;
A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or
A violation of law.
A representative of UMGC shall not take any Adverse Personnel Actions in retaliation against an employee or Applicant who discloses information regarding misconduct under this policy or who, following such disclosure, seeks a remedy provided under this policy, by law or under other UMGC policy.
If disclosure of misconduct is specifically prohibited by law, an employee or Applicant should not disclose the information to UMGC, but rather should make the disclosure to the Assistant Attorney General designated by the Maryland Attorney General to receive such information.
This policy does not prohibit a personnel action that would have been taken regardless of a disclosure of allegations or information regarding misconduct under this policy.
The CHRO may develop procedures for disclosure of allegations or information regarding misconduct under this policy.
Process for Disclosure
An employee or Applicant who chooses to disclose information regarding alleged misconduct, shall disclose all relevant information regarding the alleged misconduct, as described in Section III of the Policy, to the President or designee in a signed written document within one (1) year of the day on which he/she knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged misconduct.
In consultation with the Maryland Attorney General's Office, the President or designee shall consider the disclosure and take whatever action he/she determines to be appropriate under the law and circumstances of the disclosure.
In the case of disclosure of misconduct involving the President, the disclosure shall be directed to the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland or designee. In consultation with the Maryland Attorney General's Office and the Board of Regents, the Chancellor or designee shall consider the disclosure and take whatever action he/she determines to be appropriate under the law and circumstances of the disclosure.
Complaints of Retaliation as a Result of Disclosure
If an employee or Applicant believes that he/she has been retaliated against in the form of an Adverse Personnel Action for disclosing allegations or information regarding misconduct under this policy he/she may file a written complaint requesting an appropriate remedy. The employee or Applicant may complain by filing:
A grievance with UMGC, pursuant to Title 13 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and VII-8.00-GC – UMGC Policy on Grievances for Nonexempt and Exempt Staff Employees; or
A complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, pursuant to Maryland Whistleblower law contained in Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the State Personnel and Pensions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Disciplinary Action for Retaliation
If it is determined that an employee or applicant has been retaliated against as a result of disclosing misconduct or participating in an investigation of alleged misconduct, appropriate disciplinary action shall be initiated against any employees found responsible for retaliation.
The UMGC President has designated the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) to administer this policy; to develop procedures as necessary to implement this policy; to communicate this policy to the UMGC community; and to post the policy and any applicable procedures on the UMGC website.
USM BOR VII-2.30: Policy on Employee and Applicant Disclosure of Misconduct for Nonexempt and Exempt Staff Employees and Applicants for USM Staff Positions