As stated in its code of conduct, Washington University is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct. To achieve this goal, the university relies on each member of the university community to transact university business in compliance with all laws, regulations and university policies related to their positions and areas of responsibility, as well as on their behavior, honesty, integrity and good judgment.

Even the best systems of procedures and controls cannot provide absolute safeguards against irregularities. Intentional and unintentional violations of laws, regulations, policies and procedures may occur. The university relies on members of the university community to identify and report suspected improper activities.

Reporting Actual or Suspected Violations

As stated in the university’s code of conduct, each university community member is expected to report actual or suspected violations of laws, regulations or university policies or procedures, or other suspected wrongdoings that come to their attention, including violations of ethical and professional standards. Managers have a special duty to recognize violations.

As outlined in the university’s code of conduct, the following channels are available for reporting suspected or actual violations:

  • Report it directly to your supervisor or department head or chair.
  • Report it to the related area-specific compliance office.
  • Utilize the Washington University Hotline and/or other available resources to report concerns. Refer to this site for more information.

Reports to the hotline should provide sufficient, precise and relevant information concerning dates, places, persons, numbers, etc., to allow for a reasonable investigation to take place.

Investigations are typically conducted as quickly as possible, based on the nature and complexity of the report and the issues raised.

Protection of Whistleblowers

Anyone who, in good faith, reports a suspected or actual violation of law, regulation, university policy or procedure, or ethical or professional standards, will be protected from retaliation as a result of such reporting regardless of whether or not, after investigation, a violation is found to have occurred.

No member of the university community shall discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or discriminate against the whistleblower for reporting what the whistleblower sincerely believes to be a serious actual or suspected violation or unethical act.

This whistleblower protection extends to individuals who provide information in relation to an investigation of a report by a whistleblower.

Any act of retaliation shall be treated by the university as a serious violation of policy, which will result in disciplinary action.

If a whistleblower believes he/she is being retaliated against after reporting a violation, he/she should contact the Executive Director of Compliance and Audit.

Policy Questions

Questions about this policy may be directed to the Executive Director of Compliance and Audit.