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8.4 Whistleblower Policy

Policy:

The American Board of Optometry (ABO), a Missouri nonprofit corporation, expects all ABO directors, officers, employees, and volunteers to conduct business in accordance with the letter, spirit, and intent of all applicable laws and ABO policies and to not do anything that is illegal, dishonest, or unethical, or a violation of ABO policies.  The purpose of this Whistleblower Protection Policy (this “Policy”) is to provide a mechanism to report unprofessional, unethical or illegal conduct.  For purposes of this Policy, references to employees is intended to include those persons who are employed by other employers but are also leased or seconded to, or shared with, ABO, but only to the extent such persons are engaged in any activities or affairs on behalf of ABO.

Obeying all applicable laws and ABO policies, in letter, spirit, and intent, is important part of ABO’s professional and ethical standards.  No one acting for or on behalf of ABO should take any action (s)he knows or reasonably should know violates any applicable laws or ABO policies.  For purposes of this Policy, any reference to “laws” is intended to include any and all applicable governmental laws, regulations, rules, or orders, and any reference to “ABO policies” is intended to include any and all codes and policies adopted by ABO’s Board of Directors, including any code of professional and ethical practices and conduct, conflicts of interest policy, records retention policy, or this Policy.

Procedure: The following explains how any director, officer, employee or volunteer can report to ABO, on a confidential and, if desired, anonymous basis, any concern regarding any violation of laws or ABO policies.  It also explains ABO’s policies for receiving, and resolving complaints or reports it receives, regarding any such improper conduct.  In addition, the following is intended to make it clear that ABO will not retaliate against anyone who reports any such improper conduct or properly participates in any resulting investigation.

  1. Claims of improper action should be brought to the Executive Director.  In the event that the claim involves the Executive Director it may be brought to the President, or alternatively to any member of the Executive Committee if the President also is involved with the claim.
  2. The Executive Director, or alternatively the President or Executive Committee member to whom the claim is brought, shall appoint an investigating officer who shall initiate an investigation of the claim(s) and shall control the scope and activities of the investigation.
  3. Once a retaliation complaint is made, the investigative and hearing process shall be treated as a confidential matter by all parties until a final decision is rendered.
  4. The Board of Directors as a whole, without any member who is involved in the investigation or part of the claim present, shall review the reports and evidence of the investigating officer, shall make findings of fact in such cases, and have authority to issue binding decisions in accordance with the provisions of this policy.
  5. It is the Board’s expectation that all cases brought to its attention should be decided in a thorough but expedient manner.  As a guideline, a term of no more than sixty (60) calendar days is the expectation for resolution of complaints.

It is ABO’s intent to encourage and enable anyone acting for or on behalf of ABO to raise Concerns within ABO for investigation and appropriate action.  Consequently, no one who, in good faith, reports a Concern or cooperates in an investigation shall be subject to retaliation or, in the case of an employee, adverse employment consequences.  Moreover, an employee who retaliates against someone who has, in good faith, reported a Concern or participated in an investigation, is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

All Concerns received by the Chairman or other member of the ABO Board of Directors will be promptly investigated.

Anyone reporting a Concern must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation of law or an ABO policy, or a questionable or improper accounting or auditing matter.

Reports of Concerns and investigations will be kept confidential to the extent practicable, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation and, if warranted, implement corrective action.  Disclosure of reports of Concerns to individuals within ABO who are not involved in the complaint process or investigation will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

The ABO reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend or restate this Policy at any time and from time to time.