VGCSA WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY
Virginia Golf Course Superintendents Association (“VGCSA”) will investigate any possible fraudulent or dishonest use or misuse of VGCSA resources or property by management, employees, volunteers, or members. Because of the management contract between VSAE and Norman & Associates, employees of Norman & Associates are deemed to be “employees” of VGCSA for purposes of this Whistleblower Policy. Anyone found to have engaged in fraudulent or dishonest conduct will be subject to disciplinary action by VGCSA including, but not limited to, civil or criminal prosecution when warranted.
All members of the VGCSA community are encouraged to report possible fraudulent or dishonest conduct (i.e., a whistleblower). An employee should first report his or her concerns to a supervisor or manager. Managers and supervisors are required to report suspected fraudulent or dishonest conduct to the Executive Director, who shall in turn report to the President. If for any reason someone finds it difficult to report his or her concern to the Executive Director, he or she shall instead report it to the President.DefinitionsBaseless Allegations:
allegations made with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. People making baseless allegations may be subject to institutional disciplinary action and/or legal claims by individuals accused of such conduct.Concern:
good faith belief that Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct has occurred.Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct:
a deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:
- forgery or alteration of documents
- unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files
- fraudulent financial reporting
- pursuit of a benefit or advantage in violation of the VGCSA’s conflict of interest policy
- misappropriation or misuse of VGCSA resources, such as funds, supplies, or other assets
- authorizing or receiving compensation for goods not received or services not performed
- authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked
an employee who informs a manager, supervisor, the Executive Director or the President, about conduct that he or she believes to be fraudulent or dishonest.Rights and ResponsibilitiesManagers and Supervisors
Managers and supervisors are required to report suspected fraudulent or dishonest conduct to the Executive Director. Failure by a manager or supervisor to report misconduct within the scope of this Whistleblower Policy may result in adverse personnel action against the manager or supervisor, including but not limited to dismissal. The Executive Director is available to assist management in establishing management systems and recognizing improper conduct.
Reasonable care should be taken in dealing with suspected misconduct to avoid:
- baseless allegations
- premature notice to persons suspected of misconduct and/or disclosure of suspected misconduct to others not involved with the investigation
- violations of a person's legal rights
Accordingly, a manager or supervisor faced with suspected misconduct:
- should not contact the person suspected to further investigate the matter or demand restitution
- should not discuss the case with anyone other than the Executive Director, the President, or a duly authorized law enforcement officer
- should direct all inquiries from any attorney retained by the suspected individual to legal counsel for VGCSA
- should direct all inquiries from the media to VGCSA’s Executive Director, or in the event that Executive Director cannot be contacted, then to the President
VGCSA will protect whistleblowers as defined herein.
Handling of Reported Violations
- VGCSA will use its best efforts to protect whistleblowers against retaliation, as described in this Whistleblower Policy. It cannot guarantee confidentiality, however, and there is no such thing as an "unofficial" or "off the record" report. VGCSA will keep the Whistleblower's identity confidential, unless (1) the person agrees to be identified; (2) identification is necessary to allow VGCSA or law enforcement officials to investigate or respond effectively to the report; (3) identification is required by law; or (4) the person accused of Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct is entitled to the information as a matter of legal right in disciplinary proceedings.
- VGCSA employees may not retaliate against a Whistleblower with the intent or effect of adversely affecting the terms or conditions of employment (including but not limited to, threats of physical harm, loss of job, punitive work assignments, or impact on salary or wages). Whistleblowers who believe that they have been retaliated against may file a written complaint with the Executive Director or President. A proven complaint of retaliation shall result in the initiation of disciplinary action against the retaliating person, including but not limited to dismissal. This protection from retaliation is not intended to prohibit managers or supervisors from taking action, including disciplinary action, in the usual scope of their duties and based on valid performance-related factors.
- Whistleblowers must be cautious to avoid Baseless Allegations.
The Board shall address all reported Concerns. The President shall immediately notify the Board and the Executive Director of any report of Concerns. The President will notify the Whistleblower and acknowledge receipt of the Concern within five business days, if possible. It is not possible to acknowledge receipt of anonymously submitted Concerns.
All reports of Concern will be promptly investigated by the Board, and appropriate corrective action will be recommended if warranted by the investigation. In addition, action taken must include a conclusion and/or follow-up with the Whistleblower for complete closure of the Concern.
The Board has the authority to retain outside legal counsel, accountants, private investigators, or any other resource deemed necessary to conduct a full and complete investigation of the allegations.
Questions related to the interpretation of this policy should be directed to the Executive Director.Adopted by the Board of Directors