Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library (APAML) requires its directors, officers, current and past employees and independent contractors doing business with APAML (each, a “Protected Person”), to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the performance of their duties on the behalf of APAML. As employees and representatives of the APAML, Protected Persons are expected to practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities and are required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
The objectives of this policy are to encourage and enable Protected Persons, without fear of retaliation, to raise concerns regarding suspected unethical and/or illegal conduct or practices on a confidential and, if desired, anonymous basis so that the can address and correct inappropriate conduct and actions
This policy is not intended as a vehicle for reporting problems with co-workers or managers, or for reporting issues related to alleged employment discrimination or sexual or any other form of unlawful harassment, all of which should be dealt with in accordance with the APAML’s personnel policies and procedures.
This policy is designed to comply with New York State Labor Law Section 740, which provides expanded protections to employees (past, present and independent contractors) under the law. All Protected Persons are encouraged to review the law to learn more about their protections.
It is the responsibility of all Protected Persons to report in good faith or reasonable belief any concerns they may have regarding actual or suspected activities which may be illegal or in violation of the APAML policies with respect to, without limitation, fraud, theft, embezzlement, accounting or auditing irregularities, bribery, kickbacks, and misuse of the APAML’s assets, as well as any violations or suspected violations of high business and personal ethical standards, as such standards relate to the APAML (each, a “concern”), in accordance with this policy.
No Protected Person who in good faith or reasonable belief reports a concern shall suffer intimidation, harassment, retaliation, discrimination or adverse employment consequence because of such report. Adverse employment actions or threats to take such adverse actions against an employee in the terms of conditions of employment including but not limited to:
- Discharge, suspension or demotion
- Actions or threats to take such actions that would adversely impact a former employee’s current or future employment; or
- threatening to contact or contacting United States immigration authorities or otherwise reporting or threatening to report an employee’s suspected citizenship or immigration status or the suspected citizenship or immigration status of an employee’s family or household member, as defined in subdivision two of section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law, to a federal, state, or local agency.
Any director, officer or employee of the APAML who retaliates against someone who has reported a concern in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including removal from the APAML’s board of directors and/or termination of employment. Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, this policy is not an employment contract and does not modify the employment relationship between the APAML and its employees, nor does it change the fact that employees of the APAML are employees at will. Nothing contained herein is intended to provide any Protected Person with any additional rights or causes of action, other than those provided by law.
Protected Persons should report concerns as soon as practicable to the APAML board of trustees, or board-designated Compliance Officer. Any questions with regard to the scope, interpretation or operation of this policy should also be directed to the Compliance Officer.
The Compliance Officer is responsible for investigating and resolving all reported concerns and shall advise the Audit Committee and, if the Compliance Officer deems it appropriate, the Executive Director, of all reported concerns. The Compliance Officer shall report to the full Board of Directors at each regularly scheduled board meeting on compliance activity.
Accounting and Auditing Matters
The Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees shall address all reported concerns regarding accounting practices, internal controls or auditing (“accounting concerns”). The Compliance Officer shall immediately notify the Audit Committee of any accounting concern and shall work with the committee until its resolution. Promptly upon receipt, the Audit Committee shall evaluate whether a concern constitutes an accounting concern and, if so, shall promptly determine what professional assistance, if any, it needs in order to conduct an investigation. The Audit Committee will be free in its sole discretion to engage outside auditors, counsel or other experts to assist in the investigation and in the analysis of results.
The Compliance Officer may delegate the responsibility to investigate a reported concern, whether an accounting concern or otherwise, to one or more employees of APAML or to any other individual, including persons not employed by the APAML, selected by the Compliance Officer; provided that the Compliance Officer may not delegate such responsibility to an employee or other individual who is the subject of the reported concern or in a manner that would compromise either the identity of an employee who reported the concern anonymously or the confidentiality of the complaint or resulting investigation. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the scope, manner and parameters of any investigation of a reported concern shall be determined by the Audit Committee in its sole discretion and the APAML and its employees shall cooperate as necessary in connection with any such investigation.
Acting in Good Faith and Reasonable Belief
Anyone reporting a concern must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing that the information disclosed may indicate a violation of law and/or ethical standards. Any allegations that prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.
The APAML takes seriously its responsibility to enforce this policy and therefore encourages any person reporting a concern to identify him or herself so as to facilitate any resulting investigation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in reporting a concern, a Protected Person may request that such report be treated in a confidential manner (including that the APAML take reasonable steps to ensure that the identity of the reporting person remains anonymous). Concerns may also be reported on an anonymous basis. Reports of concerns will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.
Handling of Reported Concerns
The Compliance Officer will acknowledge receipt of each reported concern within five business days, but only to the extent the reporting person’s identity is disclosed or a return address is provided. All reports will be promptly investigated; the scope of any such investigation being within the sole discretion of the [Audit] Committee, and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the investigation.
The Audit Committee will retain on a strictly confidential basis for a period of six years (or otherwise as required under the APAML’s record retention policies in effect from time to time) all records relating to any reported concern and to the investigation and resolution thereof. All such records are confidential to the APAML and such records will be considered privileged and confidential.
Distribution and Posting
APAML shall make available a copy of this policy to all Protected Persons. Notice regarding retaliation protection for Protected Persons will also be posted in the APAML building in the staff break room.
Compliance Officer Contact Information
Vice-President, APAML Board of Trustees
Approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees on February 15, 2022; reviewed July 11, 2023.