Chapter Six: Statutory Compliance

Procedure Title: Whistle Blower Act
Based On: Board Policies 1 and 3
Procedure Number: 6.12
Date Adopted/Revised: June 25, 2001; November 21, 2006; May 15, 2007

  1. Policy Statement

    In accordance with the “Arkansas Whistle-Blower Act” (Arkansas Code Annotated §§ 21-1-601 through 609) South Arkansas Community College will not discharge or retaliate against an employee who reports in good faith the existence of any waste of public funds, property, or manpower excluding federal funds, property, or manpower; or a violation or suspected violation of State law, rule, or regulation. This policy excludes federal funds, property, or manpower. Specifically, no adverse action will be taken against an employee or a person authorized to act on behalf of the employee, in the following situations:

    1. If an employee alleges a violation under this Act, and does so “in good faith”;

    2. If an employee alleges a violation under this Act, and does so “in good faith,” and participates or gives information in an investigation, hearing, court proceeding, legislative or other inquiry, or in any form of administrative review; and/or

    3. If an employee alleges a violation under this Act, and does so “in good faith,” and has objected to or refused to carry out a directive that the employee reasonably believes violates a law, rule, or regulation adopted under the authority of the State.

  2. Definitions/Clarifications

    1. An “adverse action” is defined as discharging, threatening, discriminating, or retaliating against the employee in any manner that affects the employee’s employment, including compensation, job location, rights, immunities, promotions, or privileges.

    2. “Good faith” is lacking when the employee does not have personal knowledge of the waste or violation, or when the employee knew or reasonably should have known that the report is malicious, false, or frivolous.

  3. Procedure for Reporting

    A report of waste or violation should be made verbally or in writing to one of the following:

    1. Employee’s superiors or to an appropriate authority, such as any member of the President’s Cabinet;

    2. A state, county, or municipal government department, agency, or organization having jurisdiction over criminal law enforcement, etc.;

    3. A member, officer, agent, investigator, auditor, representative, or supervisory employee of the body, agency, or organization; or

    4. The office of the Attorney General, Auditor of State, Arkansas Ethics Commission, Legislative Joint Audit Committee, Division of Legislative Audit, or prosecuting attorney’s office.

    5. Reports of waste or violation must be made prior to any adverse action by the agency/institution, at a time and in a manner which gives the agency/institution reasonable notice of need to correct the waste or violation.

  4. Grievance Procedure

    1. An employee who believes that the College has acted adversely towards him/her as a result of a report of waste made in good faith should file a grievance in accordance with APM 2.12.

    2. If the grievance is not resolved, the employee may subsequently bring a civil action in chancery court within 180 days of the alleged violation of the “Arkansas Whistle-Blower Act.” Should such civil action occur, the employee has the burden of proof in establishing that he or she has suffered an adverse action for an activity protected under the Act. Additionally, the College shall have an affirmative defense if it can establish that the adverse action taken against the employee was due to employee misconduct, poor job performance, or a reduction in workforce unrelated to a report made concerning violation under the Act.

    3. Grievance proceedings will be followed as outlined specifically in the Whistle Blower Act.