Georgia Tech employees have always been expected to steward the Institute’s resources and protect its reputation by exercising ethical judgment and reporting misconduct. But reporting unethical behavior can seem disadvantageous, especially if there’s the perception that punishment could follow such reporting.
While Georgia Tech has always worked to protect employees from retaliation, it has clarified its stance with a new standalone Institute Non-Retaliation Policy that recently took effect. The policy acknowledges Georgia Tech’s responsibility to protect its employees from unlawful retaliation and provides definitions that will help employees feel more confident about reporting.
Retaliation is defined as any materially adverse action taken or threatened against an employee because the employee has done any of the following:
- Filed a complaint or grievance in good faith.
- Sought the aid of Human Resources.
- Testified or participated in investigations, compliance reviews, proceedings, or hearings.
- Opposed actual or perceived violations of policy or unlawful acts.
A report filed in good faith means the employee held a reasonable and sincere belief that the information they provided was true.
Georgia Tech’s policy also outlines a response to reports filed in bad faith, where the employee knowingly or recklessly provided false information. Such behavior can result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Ethical behavior is among Georgia Tech’s core expectations for its employees, and the Institute is working to make training and tools more relatable, accessible, and timely. Earlier this year, Georgia Tech Human Resources announced its New Hire Learning and Compliance program, a new onboarding training initiative that covers ethical decision-making, workplace conduct, Institute policies, and more to ensure new employees are better equipped from the start of their employment at Georgia Tech.
In addition, the annual Integrity and Compliance Campaign has been revamped to focus on real-life opportunities for meaningful employee learning and behavior change. This year’s program features The Science of Standing Up, a new module that explores the science of individual decision-making including acting with integrity in difficult situations. The campaign began on March 7 and ends April 6.
Last revised May 15, 2020