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Of Record
March 3, 2009, Volume 55, No. 24

Supporting Principles of Responsible Conduct

As we announced in the Principles of Responsible Conduct, in pursuing Penn’s mission and to ensure the continued excellence of the University and its reputation, all members of the University community need to uphold both legal requirements and the highest of ethical standards. Today, we are announcing three new initiatives in support of such efforts. 

First, Penn has developeda Policy Against Retaliation (below) to assure members of the Penn community of our support of individuals who report possible cases of non-compliance in good faith. This policy, coupled with the Principles of Responsible Conduct and many other policies and programs at Penn, strengthen our collective commitment to responsible conduct throughout our institution. 

Second, Penn’s Office of Institutional Compliance (OIC) is making available a web-based service to allow online reporting of questions and concerns related to compliance. This tool, and information about compliance resources in general, is available at www.upenn.edu/215pcomply.

Third, OIC is continuing to promote the use of Penn’s reporting phone hotline as a mechanism to raise compliance concerns or questions; however the telephone number has changed from 1-888-BEN-TIPS to 215-P-COMPLY. The new name is to better inform members of the Penn community that it is a reporting line to raise questions and concerns about compliance. 

We urge you to do your part to bring concerns and questions forward to one of the many resources available to you at Penn.  Penn can and must adhere to and support the Principles of Responsible Conduct—and we must do so together. 

Amy Gutmann

Vince Price

Craig Carnaroli

Arthur Rubenstein


Interim Provost

Executive Vice President

Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Dean of the Medical School



Policy Against Retaliation

HR Policy # 718

I. Purpose

In many instances, the University must rely on individual faculty, staff, and students to report to the appropriate University office cases where it appears that a member or members of the University community are not complying with applicable law or policy. A major deterrent to such reporting is the fear that the person or persons against whom the report is made will retaliate against the person making the report. The purpose of this policy is to clearly articulate that the University prohibits retaliation against those who make bona fide reports of possible non-compliance.

II. General Statement of the Policy Against Retaliation

Penn faculty, administrators, and staff shall not intimidate or take retaliatory action, as defined below, against any member of the University community or a relative of such a person who is an employee or student at the University, who makes a report of the type defined below in good faith and without malice. 

This Policy also prohibits persons from knowingly and intentionally making a report of non-compliance that is false.

III. Types of Reports Covered by the Policy Against Retaliation

The prohibition against retaliation applies to: 

A. The disclosure of information concerning conduct that the reporter believes is illegal or in violation of University policies;

B. The provision of information or testimony to, or the filing of a complaint initiating proceedings before, a duly constituted
investigatory body of the University or the University Health System;

C. Disclosures made during a compliance review or a peer review process;

D. The filing of a legitimate complaint or incident report.

IV. Types of Retaliation That Are Prohibited

The types of retaliation that are prohibited include but are not limited to:

A. Intimidation;

B. Adverse actions with respect to the reporter’s work assignments, salary, vacation, and other terms of employment;

C. Unlawful discrimination;

D. Termination of employment;

E. Adverse actions against a relative of the reporter who is a University employee or student; and

F. Threats of any of the above.

Note that an adverse personnel, academic or other disciplinary action against an employee or student whose conduct or performance warrants such action for reasons unrelated to the reporting of a concern will not be deemed a violation of this policy. 

V. Sanctions for Violation of the Retaliation Policy

Individuals who violate this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary proceedings as set forth in the faculty, student, and staff handbooks, and, if found to have violated the policy, they may be subjected to the full range of available sanctions, up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from an academic program.

Persons who knowingly and intentionally make a false report of non-compliance may also be subjected to the full range of available sanctions, up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from an academic program.

VI. Offices that the Reporter May Consult

There are many resources available to individuals who are concerned about retaliation. These include:

The Division of Human Resources
The Office of the Provost
School and Center Leadership Offices
School and Center Human Resources Offices
The Office of the Ombudsman
The Office of Audit, Compliance and Privacy
The Office of General Counsel



Almanac - March 3, 2009, Volume 55, No. 24