Whistleblowers' Protection Policy

Policy Type: 

I. Policy: Whistleblowers' Protection Policy

II. Who Does This Policy Affect

This policy should be read by all Henry Ford College employees, faculty, staff, and students, as well as visitors and vendors.

III. Purpose

To provide a policy to encourage the good faith reporting of suspected violations of College policies and/or laws or ordinances and prohibit retaliation against those making or assisting in the investigation of such reports. Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, Act 469 of 1980, MCL 15.361 et seq.

IV. Policy Statement

Henry Ford College (“College”) expects all its employees to conduct themselves with integrity and to maintain the highest ethical standards in their working relationships and in the performance of their duties. All members of the College are encouraged to report violations or suspected violations of laws, regulations, College policies and procedures, fraud, and inappropriate business, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll practices, falsification of records or other related functions.

The College has controls and procedures already in place which are designed to prevent and detect violations of laws, regulations and College policies. Even given these safeguards, the College recognizes that sometimes violations may occur. This Policy provides another method to bring suspected violations to the attention of the College and the appropriate authorities. Henry Ford College encourages its faculty, staff and students to make good-faith reports of College-related misconduct. The reporting of violations is vital to the well-being of our college community. Retaliation will not be condoned or tolerated by the College. The College considers acts or threats of retaliation a serious violation of College policy. No individual, who in good faith makes a report regarding a suspected violation, shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment or academic consequences for making a report, or for participating in an investigation, hearing, inquiry or court action regarding the suspected violation. If the reporter is an employee, their job will not be jeopardized because they reported in good faith a suspected violation. An employee who retaliates against another employee, who in good faith reported or is about to report a suspected violation, is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. This policy is enacted consistent with the State of Michigan's Whistleblower Act.

The College will, to the extent permitted by law, maintain the confidentiality request of the reporter. The President and/or his or her designee shall develop and implement procedures for reporting suspected violations.

Complaints regarding personal or employment grievances, general compensation benefits or other such related complaints should proceed through the established channels and in accordance with either the Collective Bargaining Agreements or the procedures of the College’s Human Resource Department.

Anyone making a protected disclosure concerning a suspected violation or violation must be acting in good faith (with the intent to inform the public on matters of public concern and not out of personal vindictiveness) and have reasonable grounds to believe that the information being disclosed indicates a violation of law, regulations and/or college policy.

Reports made under the Whistleblower Protection Act may have a significant impact on the professional and personal lives of those suspected of violations. Employees should not intentionally misuse this Policy. Some examples of intentional misuse are:

  1. asserting frivolous claims;
  2. not having a good faith belief that there is a suspected violation;
  3. using the process to attempt to address a personnel dispute or personal grievance;
  4. knowing that the complaint was false at the time it was made; or
  5. making malicious or misleading statements.

This is not an exhaustive list

The State of Michigan Whistleblower’s Poster shall be posted outside the Human Resources Office and on the College website to advise employees of certain protections and obligations for employees and employers under Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection law.

If an individual is uncertain where to submit a complaint, they may contact the Legal Department for guidance.

V. Definitions

  1. “Whistleblower” is someone who reports to an employer, a regulatory body, or an oversight or review authority, the violation of a regulation, standard, or ethical obligation. A Whistleblower may be college employees, students, vendors, and volunteers.

  2. “Reporter” for the purpose of this Policy means a Whistleblower.

  3. “Violation” is a behavior of wrongful conduct that is contrary to applicable state and/or federal laws and regulations; a serious action or behavior that is contrary to college policies and procedures; the use of college property resources or authority for personal gain or other non-college related purpose not otherwise permitted under college policy and procedure.

  4. “Confidential/Protected Disclosure” is a protected communication about actual or suspected violations engaged in by a college employee, student, vendor, or volunteer based on a good faith and reasonable belief that the conduct has both occurred and is wrongful under applicable law and/or college policy.

  5. “Retaliation” is an adverse action against an individual because she or he has made a protected disclosure or has participated in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing involving a protected disclosure.

VI. Responsible Party for Policy Interpretation/Review

Vice President of Human Resources
Assistant Director of Human Resources

VII. Related Documents

• State of Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, Act 469 of 1980. MCL 15.361 et seq

• Reporting Complaint Form for Filing Suspected Violation(s)

• Non-Retaliation Policy

  • Whistleblower Procedure


VIII. Policy History:

a. Adopted by Board: August 14, 2017

March 22, 2022 – Reviewed with no changes.

This policy supersedes and replaces any and all policies related to this subject

Adopted Date: 
Monday, August 14, 2017
Board Approved