The Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise Board of Directors encourages its employees and applicants for employment to disclose improper governmental activities, based in part on California Education Code Section 44112(c), and to address written complaints that allege acts or attempted acts of interference, reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion or intimidation against employees or applicants who disclose improper governmental activities. Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise is committed to lawful and ethical behavior in all of its activities and requires Board Members, officers and employees to act in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies and to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. The objectives of the Whistleblower Policy are to establish policies and procedures to:
- Prevent or detect and correct improper activities;
- Encourage each Board Member, officer and employee to report what he or she in good faith believes to be a material violation of law or policy or questionable accounting or auditing matter; and
- Ensure the receipt, documentation, retention of records, and resolution of reports received under this policy to protect reporting individuals from retaliatory action.
Each reporting individual has an obligation to report what he or she believes is a material violation of law or policy or any questionable accounting or auditing matter by the School, its Board Members, officers and employees or other representatives. Reporters must also notify the School if an action needs to be taken in order for the School to be in compliance with law or policy or with generally accepted accounting practices. The types of concerns that should be reported include, for purposes of illustration and without being limited to, the following:
- Providing false or misleading information on School financial documents, grant reports, tax returns or other public documents;
- Providing false information to or withholding material information from School auditors, accountants, lawyers, directors or other representatives responsible for ensuring compliance with fiscal and legal responsibilities;
- Embezzlement, private benefit, or misappropriation of funds;
- Material violation of School policy, including among others, confidentiality, conflict of interest, whistleblower, ethics and document retention;
- Discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, or any other protected class; and
- Facilitation or concealing any of the above or similar actions.
Whenever possible, employees should seek to resolve concerns by reporting issues directly to the Principal until matters are satisfactorily resolved. However, if for any reason an employee is not comfortable speaking to the Principal or does not believe the issue is being properly addressed, the employee may contact the Chair of the Board of Directors.
Handling of Reporting Violations
Except as otherwise required by law, or as otherwise required by court order, the School will investigate all reports filed in accordance with this policy with due care and promptness. Matters reported internally without initial resolution will be investigated by the Principal or the Chair of the Board to determine if the allegations are true, whether the issue is material and what actions, if any, are necessary to correct the problem. The Board of Directors may conduct a further investigation upon receiving the report from the Chair. For matters reported directly to the Chair of the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors shall promptly acknowledge receipt of the complaint to the complainant if the identity of the complainant is known and conduct an investigation to determine if the allegations are true and whether the issue is material and what, if any, corrective action is necessary. Upon the conclusion of this investigation, the Board of Directors shall promptly report its findings to all pertinent parties.
Authority of Investigative Parties
The Investigative Parties (Principal, Chair of the Board or Board of Directors) shall have full authority to investigate concerns raised in accordance with this policy and may retain outside legal counsel, accountants, private investigators, or any other resource that is necessary to conduct a full and complete investigation of the allegations.
This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable board members, officers and employees to raise serious concerns within the organization for investigation and appropriate action. With this goal in mind, no board member, officer or employee who, in good faith, reports a concern shall be threatened, discriminated against or otherwise subject to retaliation or, in the case of an employee, suffer adverse employment consequences as a result of such report. Moreover, an employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a concern in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone reporting a concern must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the matter raised is a serious violation of law or policy or a material accounting or auditing matter. The act of making allegations that prove to be unsubstantiated, and that prove to have been made maliciously, recklessly, with gross negligence, or with the foreknowledge that the allegations are false, will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment. Depending on the circumstances, such conduct may also give rise to other actions, including civil or criminal lawsuits.
Reports of concerns, and investigations pertaining thereto, shall be kept confidential to the extent possible. However, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation, the School cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. Disclosure of information relating to an investigation under this policy by the principal or others involved with the investigation of the School to individuals not involved in the investigation will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and, with respect to School employees, may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment. Depending on the circumstances, such conduct may also give rise to other actions, including civil or criminal lawsuits.
Adopted on March 26, 2012