• Scope
      • These guidelines apply to all Wicomico County Board of Education employees, including part time and contractual employees.
    • Purpose
      • The Wicomico County Board of Education is committed to the highest possible standards of ethical, moral and legal business conduct. We are proud of our employees and the high quality of service we provide to the community. In order to ensure that we maintain and improve on the quality and integrity of our services, it is important that we provide employees with an avenue to report their concerns. In line with this commitment and Wicomico County Board of Education's commitment to open communication, these guidelines aim to provide an avenue for employees to raise concerns and reassurance that they will be protected from reprisals or victimization for whistleblowing in good faith. If an employee feels that their anonymity is not required then they should follow our existing grievance procedure. Additional information about the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline, including frequently asked questions, is available within the staff link section of the Board's website.

        The Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline is intended to cover serious concerns that could have a large impact on Wicomico County Board of Education, such as actions that:

        • May lead to incorrect financial reporting;
        • Are unlawful;
        • Otherwise amount to serious waste or abuse.

        Regular business matters that that do not require anonymity should be directed to the employee's supervisor and are not addressed by these guidelines. Do not use the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline to report complaints or grievances involving wages, working conditions, discrimination, and other personnel issues. These issues should be reported to your direct supervisor or designated Human Resource representative.

    • Safeguards
      • Anonymous Allegations
        These guidance allows employees to remain anonymous at their option. Concerns expressed anonymously will be investigated, but consideration will be given to:
        • The seriousness of the issue raised;
        • The credibility of the concern; and
        • The likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributed sources.
      • Harassment or Victimization
        Harassment or victimization of the complainant will not be tolerated.
      • Confidentiality
        Every effort will be made to protect the complainant's identity. Please note that the information provided by you may be the basis of an internal and/or external investigation into the issue you are reporting and your anonymity will be protected to the extent possible. However, your identity may become known during the course of the investigation.
      • Malicious Allegations
        Malicious allegations may result in disciplinary action
    • Fraud, Waste, Abuse Reporting
      • Reporting
        Wicomico County Board of Education provides a Fraud, Waste and Abuse reporting hotline to employees who wish to report any of the following incidents anonymously:
        • Ethical Violations
        • Theft and Embezzlement
        • Theft
        • Misuse of Company Property
        • Fraud
        • Conflict of Interest
        • Bribery
        • Fraudulent Financial Reporting
        • Kickbacks
        • Falsification of Contracts
        Serious concerns relating to the incidents above should be reported using the Toll Free Hotline. The Hotline is operated by Lighthouse Services, an independent third party and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number of the toll free hotline is 1-800-401-7239.

        Callers to the Hotline will have the ability to remain anonymous if they choose. Should you choose to identify yourself, or if your identity becomes known during the course of the investigation, your anonymity will be protected to the extent possible by law. Complaints are submitted by Lighthouse to Wicomico County Board of Education or its designee, and may or may not be investigated at the sole discretion of Wicomico County Board of Education.

        Employment-related concerns should continue to be reported through your normal channels.
      • Timing
        The earlier a concern is expressed; the easier it is to take action.
      • Evidence
        Although the employee is not expected to prove the truth of an allegation, the employee needs to demonstrate to the person contacted at Lighthouse Services that there are sufficient grounds for concern.
    • How The Complaint Will Be Handled
      The action taken will depend on the nature of the concern. The appropriate personnel at Wicomico County Board of Education will receive a report on each complaint and a follow-up report on actions taken.
      • Initial Inquiries
        Initial inquiries will be made to determine whether an investigation is appropriate, and the form that it should take. Some concerns may be resolved by an agreed upon action without the need for investigation.
      • Report to Complainant
        Complainants will be given the opportunity to receive follow-up on their concern by the Lighthouse Services Operator:
        • Acknowledging that the concern was received;
        • Indicating how the matter will be dealt with;
        • Giving an estimate of the time that it will take for a final response;
        • Telling them whether initial inquiries have been made;
        • Telling them whether further investigations will follow, and if not, why not.
      • Further Information
        The amount of contact between the complainant and the investigating team will depend on whether the complainant indentified themselves and the nature of the issue, the clarity of information provided, and whether the complainant remains accessible for follow-up. Further information may be sought from the complainant.
      • Information
        Subject to legal constraints the complainant will receive information about the outcome of any investigations.