UCR Policies and Procedures

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 For a hardcopy pdf of this document, contact the Office of Compliance (2-8246).



Policy Title:                   Whistleblower and Whistleblower Protection - Local Procedures


Policy Number:             650-90


Responsible Officer:

Locally Designated Official

Responsible Office:

Chief Compliance Office

Origination Date:


Date of Revision:

N/A - First Version

Date of Last Review:





I.       Introduction and Purpose


II.      Definitions


III.     Retaliation, Confidentiality and Duty to Cooperate

A.    Retaliation

B.    Confidentiality and Anonymity

C.   Duty to Cooperate; Investigation Interference Prohibited  


IV.     Whistleblower Procedure for Reporting an Improper Governmental Activity and Report Assessment and Response

A.    Scope and Purpose of the Whistleblower Policy

B.    Filing a Report and Management Responsibilities

C.   Initial Assessment of Reports

D.   Intake and Interim Measures

E.    LDO Reporting (to UCOP or External)

F.    Investigations

G.   Remedial and Corrective Action

H.   Case Management and Records

V.       Whistleblower Protection Procedure for Reporting Retaliation and Complaint Assessment and Investigation

A.    Scope and Purpose of WPP

B.    Filing a Complaint and Determination of Eligibility

C.   Investigation Process

D.   Chancellor’s Determination


VI.     Appendices, Forms and Related Policies


VII.    Approval, Revision and Review History



I. Introduction and Purpose


The University of California, Riverside (UCR) is committed to operating in good faith, with integrity and accountability.  When people report concerns (“blow the whistle”) it helps UCR fulfill this commitment, by alerting the campus to potential illegal or unethical acts so that they may be addressed.  This UCR local procedure implements the University of California (UC) whistleblower policies—the UC Whistleblower Policy (Policy on Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Suspected Improper Governmental Activities) and the Whistleblower Protection Policy (the WPP)—and  provides campus  procedures under which whistleblower and whistleblower protection complaints are reviewed and investigations conducted. Nothing contained in these local implementing procedures should be read or interpreted to contradict the underlying UC Whistleblower Policy.


Generally, the Whistleblower Policy is a framework for the university to address reported or suspected illegal or unethical activities by university employees or agents, and the WPP is a grievance procedure for employees who have experienced certain types of retaliation for whistleblower activities.1

1The WPP is designed to be consistent with the California Whistleblower Protection Act.  (See Section III(A) of the WPP).  The California Whistleblower Protection Act does not apply to students (unless they are employees); the WPP is consistent with this and therefore is not available to students (unless they are also employees).


II. Definitions


Adverse Action: An action that would deter or dissuade a reasonable person from filing a complaint or engaging in another Protected Activity–if the action is taken because of the Protected Activity.  An Adverse Personnel Action is a form of Adverse Action.  See Appendix A for further definition.  


Adverse Personnel Action: As defined in the WPP, a management action that affects the Complainant’s existing terms and conditions of employment in a material and negative way, including, but not limited to, failure to hire, corrective action (including written warning, corrective salary decrease, demotion, suspension), and termination.


Illegal Order: As defined in the UC Whistleblower Policy and the WPP, a directive to violate or assist in violating a federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation, or an order to work or cause others to work in conditions outside of their line of duty that would unreasonably threaten the health or safety of employees or the public.


Improper Governmental Activity (IGA): As defined in the UC Whistleblower Policy, any activity by a state agency or by an employee that is undertaken in the performance of the employee’s duties, undertaken inside a state office, or, if undertaken outside a state office by the employee, directly relates to state government, whether or not that activity is within the scope of his or her employment, and that (1) is in violation of any state or federal law or regulation, including, but not limited to, corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of government property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious prosecution, misuse of government property, or willful omission to perform duty, or (2) is in violation of an Executive order of the Governor, a California Rule of Court or State Contracting Manual, or (3) is economically wasteful, involves gross misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency.


Investigations Group: The Investigations Group is established in compliance with the UC Whistleblower Policy, to advise the LDO and provide oversight of investigations: 

·       Assists the LDO with initial assessment of reports and in deciding on the appropriate investigation channel

·       Helps ensure that campus officials with a need-to-know are informed of investigation matters

·       Addresses any conflict of interest of any party involved in an investigation

·       Assists the LDO in monitoring investigations to ensure timeliness

·       May advise or facilitate corrective and remedial action that may be initiated in response to investigation findings. 

Additional information regarding the Investigations Group is provided in Appendix B.


Protected Activity: An action that you are protected from retaliation for, such as

·       making a Protected Disclosure;

·       refusing to obey an Illegal Order;

·       generally, filing a good-faith report or complaint of serious misconduct by a member of the UCR community under a campus, UC or external process;  

·       assisting others in filing a complaint or participating in an investigation process; or

·       participating in a campus investigation or adjudicative proceeding.


Protected Disclosure: As defined in the WPP, a good faith2 communication, including a communication based on, or when carrying out, job duties, that discloses or demonstrates an intention to disclose information that may evidence either (1) an IGA or (2) a condition that may significantly threaten the health or safety of employees or the public if the disclosure or intention to disclose was made for the purpose of remedying that condition.


Retaliation: Retaliation is an Adverse Action taken against someone because they engaged in a Protected Activity.  Certain types of retaliation that include an Adverse Personnel Action against an employee or applicant of employment may be grieved through the WPP; see Section V.


Subject: A person who is the focus of investigative fact finding either by virtue of an allegation made or evidence gathered during the course of an investigation.

2If the whistleblower made a good faith report that disclosed or demonstrated an intention to report an improper governmental activity, it is a "protected disclosure" under the policy. While the motivation of the whistleblower is irrelevant to the consideration of the validity of the allegations, the intentional filing of a false report is itself considered an improper governmental activity that the university has the right to act upon. https://www.ucop.edu/uc-whistleblower/faqs/faq-subject-of-whistleblower-investigation.html.

III.    Retaliation, Confidentiality and Duty to Cooperate


UCR encourages and supports whistleblowing as part of its ethics and compliance program.  UCR employees are expected to respect whistleblowing and other Protected Activities, and to avoid any retaliation.  UCR respects confidentiality and requests for anonymity, as required by law and policy, in order to help avoid retaliation and to preserve the rights of those involved in reports and investigations.  All employees are expected to cooperate with whistleblower investigations.  

A.   Retaliation

UCR prohibits retaliation and encourages people to speak up without fear of retribution. 

Retaliation protections under this procedure are available to people who engage in Protected Activities.  This includes whistleblowers and witnesses as well as someone who assists a whistleblower in their Protected Activity or participates in a whistleblower investigation or proceeding. In addition, those associated with someone who engaged in a Protected Activity are protected from retaliation.  For example, retaliating against an employee by disciplining their spouse, who is also a UCR employee, is prohibited.

Certain types of retaliation against an employee or applicant of employment may be grieved through the WPP procedure (see Section V).  Other forms of retaliation—such as retaliation that occurs against someone who is not covered by the WPP (e.g., students) or that did not include an Adverse Personnel Action—may be addressed under this Whistleblower Procedure (see Section IV) and/or through other appropriate complaint or disciplinary processes.3  See Appendix A FAQs about retaliation.


Under the Whistleblower Policy, all reports of retaliation will be carefully considered and appropriate action taken.  In some instances, the appropriate response will be management action to stop the alleged retaliation.  In other cases, particularly with more serious allegations, fact-finding is required in order to determine whether retaliation occurred.  In these more serious cases, an investigation or adjudicative process (such as a hearing) generally will seek to establish whether a Protected Activity and Adverse Action(s) occurred and, if so, whether there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the Adverse Action was taken because of the Protected Activity—or if there was a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the Adverse Action.4

Whether and what other process(es) are available to address retaliation depends on the identity of the people involved (for example, certain employees may file complaints under PPSM-70) and the nature of the retaliation.  Potential complaint options include: PPSM-70, UCR Policy 650-75, APM 140, Senate Bylaws 335 and 336, grievance options under collective bargaining agreements, and the student code of conduct (PACAOS).  In addition, management, particularly in instances alleging less severe retaliatory acts, may be able to address reported retaliation through performance management or other supervisory actions, for example by directing the person to cease the alleged activity. 

In some instances, there may be evidence of legitimate and retaliatory reasons for an Adverse Action.  For example, an employee disciplined for tardiness may have in fact been tardy (a legitimate reason), but targeted for discipline under a previously-unenforced policy.  In these situations, retaliation could be found to have occurred unless the evidence shows that the Adverse Action would have been taken/occurred regardless of the Protected Activity.  

B.   Confidentiality and Anonymity.

1.  Confidentiality.  UCR will protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers and participants in whistleblower investigations to the extent required by law and by University policies and procedures.

·    Whistleblowers should be cautioned that their identities might become known for reasons outside the control of the investigators or university administrators. Should the whistleblower’s identity be self-disclosed, UCR will no longer be obligated to maintain such confidentiality.


·    Some information-sharing is necessary to conduct an investigation and to avoid retaliation and investigation interference. In formal investigations involving faculty or staff, information is typically shared with the supervisor and/or unit head of the unit(s) in which the parties are employed.  


Specific expectations as to confidentiality and information sharing may be established and communicated to parties, witnesses, or others, on a case-by-case basis.  See also Section IV(F)(6) below regarding confidentiality and sharing of whistleblower investigation reports.


2. Anonymity.  Reports under the Whistleblower Policy may be filed anonymously.  See Section IV(B) below for reporting options.  In order to assist with the initial assessment process and for the commencement of an investigation, anonymous whistleblowers must provide sufficient corroborating evidence.  Because investigators are unable to interview anonymous whistleblowers, it may be more difficult to evaluate the credibility of the allegations and thus less likely for an inquiry or investigation to be initiated.

Complaints under the WPP may not be anonymous. 

Complainants and witnesses may also request that their identity be protected, to be treated as an anonymous reporter/witness.  These requests will be honored to the extent consistent with the campus’s obligations to conduct a thorough investigation (or otherwise respond to the report) and with the rights of subjects.

5A subject’s right to receive information is heightened in situations where disciplinary action is/may be pursued.

 C.  Duty to Cooperate; Investigation Interference Prohibited 

     Persons reporting an IGA should be prepared to be interviewed by investigators. Whistleblowers have the responsibility to be candid to those whom they make a report and to set forth all known information6 regarding any alleged IGAs.  However, whistleblowers are “reporting parties” not investigators.  They are not to act on their own in conducting any investigative activities, nor do they have a right to participate in any investigative activities other than as requested by investigators.


UCR employees who are interviewed, asked to provide information or otherwise participate in a whistleblower investigation have a duty to fully cooperate with the investigator.  (See Section IV(F)(1) of the UC Whistleblower Policy and Section III(D)(4)(c) of the WPP). 

UCR employees must respect the rights and responsibilities afforded by the UC Whistleblower Policy and WPP, including preserving evidence and abiding by any interim measures and admonitions and instructions provided by the LDO or investigator.  Refusing to provide, destroying or spoiling evidence is prohibited.  Coaching, pressuring, or attempting to influence witnesses is prohibited. 

Failure to cooperate or investigation interference will be considered misconduct and referred for disciplinary action as appropriate.

6Whistleblowers, however, shall refrain from obtaining evidence for which they do not have a right of access.  Such improper access may itself be considered an IGA in accordance with Section IV(E)(2) of the Whistleblower Policy. 

IV.  Whistleblower Procedure for Reporting an Improper Governmental Activity and Report Assessment and Response


This local procedure establishes the protocols used by the campus in addressing whistleblower reports.  This procedure may also be used to conduct non-whistleblower investigations, at the discretion of the responsible investigative unit and with modifications as appropriate.

The whistleblower process is administered by the Locally Designated Official (LDO), who at UCR is the Chief Compliance Officer, with support and advice from the Investigations Group. 
Capitalized terms used in this procedure and not defined have the meanings given in Section II of the UC Whistleblower Policy.


Whistleblower reports and investigations are vital to the campus’s ability to identify and address IGAs. 

The intentional filing of a false report, whether orally or in writing is considered an IGA, which may be acted upon (see Section IV(E)(1) of the UC Whistleblower Policy).

A.   Scope and Purpose of the Whistleblower Policy 

 The whistleblower process is:

·    Designed to ensure unbiased, professional review of reports, complaints and other information of suspected IGAs.  For examples of IGAs, see Appendix A.  

·    An important means for the campus to detect and remedy illegal or unethical acts, and to mitigate risk to the campus.  



The whistleblower process is not:

·    A disciplinary process.  If actionable misconduct is detected through the whistleblower process, it will be referred to the appropriate campus office or process to be addressed. 

·    A way to address common workplace disputes or disagreements.  Employees are encouraged to raise workplace concerns and complaints with their supervisors or other established channels. 

  • A right to an investigation.  Investigations are one method by which reported IGAs may be addressed; other options include referral to management, non-investigative remedial action, and internal controls improvements, in the discretion of the LDO. 

B.   Filing a Report and Management Responsibilities

·       Who May File A Whistleblower Report?  Anyone may file a whistleblower report—a reporter does not need to be a UCR student or employee. 

·       Where and How Do You File a Whistleblower Report?  Written reports with as much specific factual information as possible are preferred.  UCR encourages whistleblowers to file reports using the EthicsPoint reporting system, which allows people to report online or by phone, anonymously or using their names.  EthicsPoint is a third-party managed system used by the entire University of California system.  EthicsPoint also allows whistleblowers to report directly to the UC Office of the President, in cases where the alleged IGA involves UCR’s Chancellor or the LDO (Section III(1)(A)(4)).  

You may also file your report using the UC WHistleblower Hotline at 800-403-4744 or with UCR's LDO ldo@ucr.edu, via EthicsPoint at universityofcalifornia.edu/hotline or by contacting the LDO office at 951-827-6223.  See help.ucr.edu for other reporting options (depending on the nature of the report, e.g., financial fraud).

o       Reports may also be made to the California State Auditor at 800-952-5665 or www.auditor.ca.gov/hotline. 

o       Employees have additional reporting options:  You may report to your supervisor or a more senior administrator in your organization (for example, your supervisor’s supervisor or the head of your department). If there is a conflict of interest in reporting to your supervisor or other administrator in your unit, or confidentiality or other problems in reporting within your unit, you may make a report to another campus official who has responsibility (1) for the unit or (2) for the employee you believe to be engaging in the IGA.

  • What Does a Report Need to Include?  Reports need to provide enough information for the LDO to assess it and determine the appropriate course of action.  If a report does not have enough detail to be actionable, the LDO typically will attempt to contact the reporter to request additional information (see Section III(1)(A)(2) of the UC Whistleblower Policy).
  • I am a UCR Supervisor -What Are My Whistleblower Responsibilities? 

o      The Whistleblower Policy encourages all UC employees, particularly supervisors, to be aware of and alert to any communication (written, oral, formal or informal) that may be a report of an IGA (see Section III(1)(A)(6) of the UC Whistleblower Policy). Although the campus encourages people to file their reports directly with the LDO or via EthicsPoint, the goal is to identify IGAs—not to set up technical barriers to reporting.

o       When you receive a report or complaint, or information indicating an IGA, review it carefully to identify the issues raised.  In some cases, you are required to report the matter to another office, or to make some type of notification as described in the following Reporting Obligations chart:   

Your Position & Matter Reported

Required Action

If (1) you are a manager, supervisor, faculty, UCPD officer, or HR or AP administrator or Title IX professional, and (2) you learn that anyone affiliated with UCR may have experienced conduct prohibited by the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (SVSH Policy) or the UCR Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint and Resolution Policy,


then (3) you must promptly contact UCR’s Office of Title IX, Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action (Title IX/EOAA).[1]    Filing a report online is encouraged.


(1) Unless you are a Confidential Resource, if (2) you learn that a student may have experienced Prohibited Conduct under the SVSH Policy,[2]


then (3) you are required to promptly notify the Title IX Officer. Please complete the online report form or email titleix@ucr.edu.

If (1) you are a Campus Security Authority (CSA) and (2) you become aware of a report or allegation that a Clery Act crime is alleged to have occurred on UCR’s Clery Act geography,


then (3) you are required to notify UCPD or the Clery Act Coordinator.  See UCR's Clery Act web page for further guidance.   


If (1) you are a Mandated Reporter under CANRA and (2) you become aware of actual, reported or suspected child abuse or neglect occurring on UCR’s campus or at an official UCR activity or program,

then (3) you are required to (a) make a verbal external report to any of the following: local law enforcement, child protective services, or county welfare departments; (b) no later than 36 hours after the verbal report, fill-out Form SS 8572 and submit it to the agency with whom a verbal report was made; and (c) make an internal* report (may be anonymous) to a supervisor or through the University Compliance Hotline at (800) 403-4744 or http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/hotline/ (See UCR CANRA Reporting Requirements for more details)

If you receive or are aware of (1) violence in the workplace,


Then (2) any perceived violations of the policy are to be reported to the next-in-line supervisor or to an academic administrator.  See Section V of the Violence Prevention in the UCR Community policy


If (1) you are a supervisor and/or department management and (2) you become aware of a serious injury (amputation, concussion, fracture, injury with significant bleeding, severe burn, and/or any injury requiring overnight hospitalization),

Then (3) you must (a) immediately get first aid and call 911; (b) report the incident using the Report and Incident, Injury, or Safety Concern form; and (c) report and provide details of the serious injury to EH&S within 24 hours at (951) 827-5528 during business hours or (951) 827-5222, if after hours.

If (1) you receive a report or information that alleges an IGA,


Then (2) you must elevate it to the LDO if: 

Ø The reported IGA results from a significant internal control or policy weakness likely to exist elsewhere on campus or in the system

Ø Media or public attention is likely

Ø The matter involves misuse of UC resources

Ø There is potentially significant liability

Ø There is a significant possibility of a criminal act (such as disappearance of cash)

Ø There is a significant threat to the health and safety of employee or the public.  

When in doubt, refer the matter to the LDO so that it can be assessed.  (See Section C below for a full discussion of the possible outcomes of LDO assessment.)


[1] The reporting obligation arises if the employee learns, in the course of employment, that Prohibited Conduct may have occurred.  Certain exceptions apply.  See Section II(C)(7), Responsible Employee, of the SVSH Policy and Section VIII, Responsible Employees, of the Discrimination Policy.  Note that under the Discrimination Policy, Resident Assistants and Graduate Teaching Assistants are also required to report in these situations.   

[2] See Section II(C)(7) of the SVSH Policy for the Responsible Employee reporting obligation, and Section II(B) for definitions of the various forms of Prohibited Conduct.  



o   Help prevent retaliation and protect the integrity of the investigation (if relevant). See Sections II and IV of this procedure, and Appendix A (FAQs).

·       What Are Other Ways That the LDO Receives a Whistleblower Report?  Reports are referred by other campus units and officers who have investigative responsibilities, who receive complaints or information regarding IGAs, or who have responsibilities for addressing matters that may constitute an IGA, such as Human Resources (particularly Employee & Labor Relations), Audit & Advisory Services, the Academic Personnel Office, the Privilege and Tenure Committee7, and Title IX/EOAA.  These offices will refer reports or confer with the LDO when they become aware of a potential IGA, including through the Investigations Group as described in Appendix B.  In addition, managers and other employees may elevate to the LDO matters that they observe or receive information about, when they identify it as involving a potential IGA. 

7 Upon receipt of a written grievance that includes allegations of IGAs and/or allegations of retaliation for reporting IGAs, the Privilege and Tenure Committee shall report these allegations to the LDO. Academic Senate Bylaw 335.

C.   Initial Assessment of Reports


Upon receipt of a report the LDO conducts an initial assessment.  The initial assessment often involves consultation with the Investigations Group or appropriate members thereof, and may include other consultation or information gathering8 (See Appendix B).  The assessment first determines whether the report, on its face, plausibly alleges an IGA, and if not, refers or dismisses the matter as appropriate.  In some cases, data collection or limited inquiry is necessary in order to determine whether it alleges an IGA, which office the report should be referred to, where the matter should be escalated, or other initial assessment outcomes.  Each report is reviewed and assessed on a case-by-case basis, however, there are common responses to certain types of allegations; see Appendix A.   For reports that contain multiple allegations, the assessment applies to each allegation, and different actions may be taken for different allegations (for example, certain allegations may be dismissed, others referred, and another accepted for investigation under this procedure):


1.  If a Report Does Not Allege an IGA, the LDO typically will dismiss (close) the matter or may refer it for management attention or to a different complaint or grievance process, if applicable.

2.  If a Report Alleges an IGA:

a.  but is required to be handled by another office or through a dedicated grievance/complaint procedure, the LDO will re-direct the reporter or directly refer the matter (or, if multiple issues are raised, certain allegation(s)), as appropriate.  For example, allegations of research misconduct (i.e., fabrication, plagiarism, or falsification are addressed under the UCR Policies and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct, Policy 529-900).


b.  for which a full investigation does not appear necessary9 or feasible10, the LDO may refer the matter to management or take other steps to address any internal control weaknesses or other issues presented by the report.  If information-gathering is needed to inform management response, the LDO may conduct or oversee additional assessment or inquiry as provided in Section IV(C)(3), below.

c.  for which a fact-finding investigation appears necessary to inform campus response, the LDO will consult with the Investigations Group or appropriate members thereof to determine the most appropriate investigative body or process.  This may result in referral to an established grievance or complaint process, or an investigation may be initiated.  (See Section IV(F) regarding the investigation process.) The UC Whistleblower Policy provides that investigations should be launched only after preliminary assessment establishes that the report is accompanied by information specific enough to be investigated, or directly points to corroborating testamentary or documentary evidence that can be pursued.


Whenever a matter is referred, precautions will be taken as appropriate to protect anonymity and prevent retaliation, such as summarizing or redacting the report and providing admonitions or guidance to the receiving entity.  

8 An investigation is most likely necessary where extensive evidence collection or formal fact-finding is required in order for the campus to stop or prevent recurrence of misconduct, or to address the internal control weakness or health or safety risk. 

9 The Whistleblower Policy provides that an investigation should be “launched only after preliminary consideration that establishes that…the allegation is accompanied by information specific enough to be investigated, or…. has or directly points to corroborating evidence that can be pursued.”

10 Section IV(C) of the Whistleblower Policy provides that the LDO is responsible for determining the need for consultation with the Investigations Group, select members thereof or other subject matter experts when initiating an investigation, and that “procedures guiding the initiation of investigations should not impede prompt action by the LDO or investigators when warranted.”  

D.   Intake and Interim Measures

The steps outlined in this section typically are reserved for matters assessed as warranting an investigation, although in some situations may be taken as part of initial assessment. 


1.  Intake.  Intake refers to communications between the whistleblower (typically, or other person(s) reported to have direct knowledge of the IGA) and the investigative unit or other appropriate office.  When an intake process is conducted the purpose is to share information, including regarding available campus resources, and gather information about the reported IGA.  Intake process ranges from a single anonymous communication to lengthy series of meetings and discussions.


2.  Interim Measures.  Generally, interim measures are taken only if an investigation is to be conducted or as part of alternative dispute resolution.  Interim measures are implemented when needed to stop the alleged misconduct, preserve evidence, protect the integrity of the investigation, prevent retaliation, or otherwise mitigate risk.  Interim measures often require management approval or action. 


E.   LDO Reporting (to UCOP or External) 

Certain IGA reports must be elevated to the systemwide LDO, under Section II(1)(C)(1) of the UC Whistleblower Policy.  The relevant UCPD office shall be notified of such reports, if it appears that a crime may have been committed.  


Certain IGAs must, either initially or, more commonly, after some investigation, be reported to an external agency, such as a funding entity.  The LDO will consult with the relevant unit head and the systemwide Senior Vice President-Chief Compliance and Audit Officer in making such external reports. 

F.   Investigations

Investigations seek to make factual findings regarding the allegations.  A fact-finding investigation collects evidence and makes findings as to whether alleged conduct occurred and whether the conduct violated policy or otherwise constituted an IGA, including by conducting credibility assessments if necessary.  An investigation may be:

·       Conducted by a UCR investigator (such as an investigator within the Chief Compliance Office)

·       Conducted by an investigator employed at the University of California Office of the President

·       Conducted by an external investigator, which is appropriate when the campus lacks the technical expertise to address the matter and the expertise cannot be obtained through consultation with subject-matter experts, when internal workload will result in undue delay, or when there is a conflict of interest.  The Chancellor’s Office approves the retention of external investigators for the LDO. 

1.  Investigation Charge and Scope.  To initiate an investigation, the LDO charges the investigator, specifying the scope and purpose of the investigation and allegations. The allegations are identified by the LDO through the initial assessment process, and typically specify the incidents or conduct that are reported or suspected to have occurred, and may indicate the policies or other rules or principles at issue.  The allegations generally are not identical to the complaint(s) filed; for example, the allegations may not include all issues raised by the reporter.  Allegations may be revised over the course of the investigation, most commonly in response to new information received or events occurring over the course of the investigation (such as alleged retaliation). 

2.  Notification to Parties.  Parties to an investigation typically are notified of the investigation at or near the outset of the investigation.  When appropriate, the LDO will notify the whistleblower (reporter) of the allegations being investigated and, if applicable, the reasons why other allegations are not being investigated.  The LDO or investigator also notifies the parties of their rights, protections, and obligations under the Whistleblower Policy.  The LDO may delay notification to the Subject, in consultation with the investigator, to avoid spoilage of evidence, witness tampering, retaliation, or as otherwise deemed beneficial for the investigation process. 


The Subject(s) of an investigation may provide the investigator with a written response to the allegations. 


3.  Interviews.  The investigator will interview parties and witnesses deemed to have information relevant to the scope of the investigation.  Parties and witnesses will be allowed a reasonable amount of paid time off from their University duties to participate in interviews conducted by the investigator. 


The investigator will provide parties with the opportunity to suggest possible witnesses.  The investigator will select witnesses for interview based on the investigator’s professional judgment as to whether the witnesses are likely to have relevant evidence to provide.  Character testimony is not considered relevant evidence.


·    The investigator will provide interviewees with admonishments and information about their rights and responsibilities under the UC Whistleblower Policy or the WPP.11

·    When practicable, interviews will be conducted in person.  Zoom or other video conferencing, telephonic interviewing or written interrogatories (questions and responses) may be used when deemed appropriate by the investigator.12

·    The university does not permit parties, witnesses, or other participants to record interviews or meetings, except where required by law.13


4.   Advisors.  Parties are permitted to have an advisor who may accompany the party to interviews or other meetings.  Parties shall notify the investigator of their advisor’s identity in advance, so that the investigator can confirm that the advisor is not a witness or a supervisor/manager of a party.


5.   Evidence Collection.  The investigator will gather evidence relevant to the scope of the investigation and provide parties with an opportunity to share evidence they determine relevant.  In instances where an investigator needs access to electronic evidence without a user’s consent, authorization must be obtained in accordance with UCR Policy 400-31 Electronics Communications Policy (ECP) Overview and Implementation at UCR.


The investigator determines the relevance and weight of evidence based on their professional judgment, best practices, the issues in dispute, the scope of the investigation, and applicable policy.   


The investigator will consult with administrators or others with subject matter expertise as needed, including in making determinations as to whether a policy violation occurred.


Before the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will provide the Subject of the investigation the opportunity to respond to all the allegations and material evidence.  Typically, this is done during an interview.       

6.  Investigation Report.  An investigation report makes factual findings and may make determinations as to whether the alleged conduct violated UC policy or law.  The format and content of the report will depend on the scope of the investigation.  Generally, the report will document the scope and methodology of the investigation, the allegations and the relevant evidence collected, and the findings including credibility assessment where relevant.  Before submitting the final report to the LDO, the investigator will provide the LDO with a draft of the investigation report for review.  The LDO will review the investigation report for completeness and policy compliance, and may return the report for additional investigation or clarification.  See paragraph (8) below regarding access to the report.  

7.  Investigation Closure.  The LDO may conclude an investigation prior to its completion and production of an investigation report when further investigation is deemed unnecessary to address the reported IGA (for example, if the employee reported to have engaged in the misconduct is no longer a UC employee and internal controls were improved to prevent repetition of the misconduct), when a reporter withdraws the report, or when it is determined that further investigation is significantly unlikely to find sufficient relevant evidence to support a finding.

8.  Determination of Investigation Outcome and Notifications.  The LDO determines the investigation outcome, accepting or modifying the findings made by the investigator and determining whether any substantiated misconduct constituted an IGA.  (See Appendix A for examples of IGAs.) The LDO notifies the parties of the determination and the investigation findings that relate to them.  A redacted copy of the investigation report will be made available to investigation parties upon request or pursuant to the relevant disciplinary process, if applicable; however, the information provided may be limited to information relevant to the person receiving the report.14 Parties shall be cautioned about the investigation report’s sensitivity and that sharing the report may constitute or contribute to retaliation.  UCR cannot and does not advise parties of the potential civil liability that could arise from disclosing the report or its contents more broadly.  


9.  No Right of Appeal.  Investigation reports and LDO determinations are not subject to appeal or revision in response to party objections.  If a report forms the basis of disciplinary action, the disciplinary process typically provides opportunity for the employee to respond and object.15

10. Accommodations and Interpretation.  The university provides reasonable accommodations and interpreter services for parties as required by law.  

11 If material new evidence or information indicating a significant mistake or omission is uncovered in this process, typically this information should be considered in the disciplinary process, with consultation of the LDO/investigator to help assess the relevance of the information or evidence.  In rare situations, supplemental investigation or modification of the LDO’s findings may be warranted.    

12 The policies provide information regarding the role of various parties in the investigation.  See UC Whistleblower Policy Section II(E) and IV(E) regarding whistleblowers, Section IV(F) regarding witnesses and other participants and Section IV(G) regarding subjects and WPP Section III (D)(4)(c). 

13 The investigator will consider factors such as the nature of the information the witness is believed to have to offer and the feasibility of an in-person interview.

14 Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, California Government Code § 3300 to § 3313.

15 Generally, when parties request information, they are entitled only to the final investigation report at the completion of the investigation, which the University may redact to protect the privacy of personal and confidential information regarding all individuals, and are not entitled to other investigation-related records.  Non-parties’ rights to records are as provided in applicable laws.  Exhibits to the investigation report are not typically provided, unless the requester is entitled to them under the California Public Records Act or the Information Practices Act or to the extent that the investigation findings are used in a disciplinary process. 

G.   Remedial and Corrective Action

If assessment or investigation of a whistleblower report reveals evidence of misconduct, internal control weaknesses, or other matters warranting management attention, the LDO or other UCR official will take appropriate action, which may include: 

1.    Recommendation of policy, procedure or internal control improvements or changes

2.    Communication of risk or other issues to management

3.    Education or training

4.    Referral to Audit & Advisory Services

5.    Initiation of disciplinary process by management. 

The Whistleblower Policy provides that the Investigations Group may advise regarding “the corrective and remedial action that may be initiated in accordance with applicable faculty or staff conduct and disciplinary procedure.”  Human Resources (for staff) or APO (non-Senate academic personnel) and the CCO may also provide advice to ensure that personnel processes are followed and that action taken “reinforce[s] individual accountability and responsibility for ensuring compliance to UC policies and/or regulatory obligations by the administration of equitable disciplinary actions commensurate with the severity of the infraction.”16 For Senate faculty, the matter may be referred to the Dean or other appropriate administrator, in consultation with the VPAR, for consideration in accordance with APM-015.  (See Section VIB.)

[1] University of California Ethics and Compliance Program Plan.

H.   Case Management and Records

The LDO office logs whistleblower reports and records key information regarding the disposition of each matter in case management systems, such as (i) whether the matter required notification to UCOP or any external entity, (ii) the disposition/outcome of the LDO assessment and, if an investigation was conducted, the investigation findings, and (iii) the remedial and corrective action taken, if applicable. 

Investigations records are retained in accordance with the UC Records Retention Schedule.



V.     Whistleblower Protection Procedure for Reporting Retaliation, Complaint Review and Investigation


The University of California Whistleblower Protection Policy (WPP) is a grievance process available to employees (and certain other people, as described in Section A below) who believe they have been retaliated against for having made a Protected Disclosure (most commonly, a report of an IGA, or refused to obey an Illegal Order). This is the procedure used by UC Riverside to implement the WPP.17

Capitalized terms used in this procedure have the meanings given in the WPP (see Section II of the WPP).  References to Sections are references to the WPP.  In the event of any conflict between this procedure and the WPP, the WPP will govern.

17 WPP Section III(B) and (J).  

A.   Scope and Purpose of WPP


The WPP is a specialized grievance procedure designed to ensure compliance with the California Whistleblower Protection Act, a state law prohibiting certain forms of retaliation by a UC employee.  

The WPP is:

·        Designed to remedy certain instances of retaliation, specifically Adverse Personnel Actions taken against someone for refusing to obey an Illegal Order or making a Protected Disclosure.  

·        Available to employees, applicants for employment and former employees who experienced retaliation (as defined in the WPP) while they were employees. 

·        A process you can pursue even if you have initiated another complaint or grievance process.18



The WPP is not: 

·       A general or “catch-all” grievance or retaliation procedure.  There are strict requirements for complaints to be eligible for processing under the WPP.  For example, the following types of retaliation may not be eligible for processing under the WPP:


o   retaliation for reporting student misconduct.  The WPP generally is focused on misconduct by the University, its employees, or agents.


o   retaliation for reporting actions that did not constitute an IGA or a serious threat to health or safety. 


·       The Whistleblower Procedure or other grievance or complaint mechanism19 may be available to address complaints not eligible for processing under the WPP.  See Section IV(A) of this procedure.


·       Protection from disciplinary action or other personnel action justified by legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons (WPP Section III(E)(1)).


18 An employee can file a report under the WPP or other grievance processes available to them—or both. The employee has the option to choose the appropriate process(es). However, only the WPP process satisfies the administrative exhaustion requirement in the Whistleblower Protection Act. If retaliation is alleged under both the Whistleblower Policy and the WPP, and it is actionable under the WPP, it will be investigated under the WPP.

19 Other internal policies and procedures that may be available:

·       For members of the Academic Senate whose rights or privileges as a faculty member have been violated, the Senate grievance process.

·       For non-represented employees, the PPSM-70 complaint process. 

·       For employees who have experienced discriminatory retaliation, the Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Complaint and Resolution Policy.

·       For employees and students who have experienced retaliation for reporting conduct prohibited under the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy, the applicable adjudication procedure under that Policy.  


B.   Filing a Complaint and Determination of Eligibility


The Locally Designated Official (LDO) is the campus official responsible for processing WPP complaints.  The LDO reviews complaints to determine whether they are eligible for processing under the WPP and, if so, the allegations to be investigated.  The UC Riverside LDO is the Associate Vice Chancellor/Chief Compliance Officer.


·       Complaints should be filed using the UC Riverside Whistleblower Retaliation Complaint Form.  A complaint must include the allegations required by the WPP and must be filed timely.  The Complainant must also provide a Sworn Statement, made under penalty of perjury, that the contents of the complaint are true or believed to be true by the Complainant (WPP Section III(C)).


·       The LDO reviews the complaint to determine whether it is eligible for processing under the WPP (WPP Section III(D)(1)).


o   The LDO may consult with members of the Investigations Group and conduct other confidential inquiry or preliminary investigation, particularly to determine whether the Complainant has alleged a Protected Activity or experienced an Adverse Action (WPP Section III(D)(1)(c)).

o   The LDO may request that the Complainant provide additional information or amend (“cure”) the complaint, for example if it is not clear from the information provided whether the Complainant made a Protected Disclosure (WPP Section III(D)(1)(c)).


·       If a complaint (or parts of a complaint) are not accepted for processing under the WPP, the LDO notifies the Complainant in writing.


o   The Complainant has the opportunity to appeal to the UC System LDO (WPP Section III(I)).


o   The LDO will refer or investigate any allegation(s) not accepted under the WPP as appropriate under the UC Whistleblower Policy or other applicable policies and procedures.  See Section IV. 


·       If an investigation is authorized, the LDO notifies the Complainant (WPP Section III(D)(1)(d)) and, at the appropriate time, the respondent(s)20 (WPP Section III(D)(2)), that the complaint has been accepted and of the allegations to be investigated.  (Allegations are discussed further under “Investigation Process” below.)


·       Certain complaints may be referred to the Office of the President (WPP Section III(H)).


20 Referred to as the accused, in the WPP.

C.   Investigation Process 

An investigation is conducted by an investigator from the Chief Compliance Office’s Fact-Finding Unit or an external investigator.  The LDO may appoint someone to act as a Retaliation Complaint Officer (RCO), to oversee the investigation, or may themselves act as RCO.   Similarly, the RCO may personally conduct the investigation or may delegate the fact-finding, in whole or in part, to an investigator (Section III(B)(4)).  The investigation is a fact-finding process through which relevant evidence is collected and analyzed under the WPP and other applicable policies or laws.  

1.  Investigation Procedures.  An investigation under the WPP follows generally the same investigatory procedures as the Whistleblower Policy, which is referenced above in Section IV(F) of this procedure, with some important differences described below.21   

2.  Investigation Report.  The investigator produces a draft investigation report with findings of fact and the investigator’s conclusion as to whether retaliation (as defined by the WPP) occurred, applying the standards of proof specified in the WPP (Section III(E)).  If the RCO did not conduct the investigation, the RCO reviews the draft report for completeness and policy compliance, and may return the report for additional investigation or clarification (WPP Section III(D)(4)(d)).  The RCO delivers the final investigation report to the LDO22 (WPP Section III(D)(4)(e)).


The investigation report is then reviewed by the Chancellor or designee, who makes a final determination as described in the subsequent section (D).  UCR strives to complete the investigation report within six months of the complaint being accepted under the WPP.  Extensions may be made for good cause, generally not to exceed twelve months.23

21 A WPP investigation may also address whistleblower complaints, particularly if the Protected Disclosure was a whistleblower complaint that has not been investigated or otherwise addressed.  Any whistleblower allegations will be processed in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy. 

22 For cases where the LDO is not serving as RCO.

23 Section III(D)(4)(e).  Good cause may be shown by university closure(s), illness or other reasonable unavailability of necessary parties or witnesses, other proceedings (e.g., law enforcement investigation) or other circumstances beyond the requesting party’s or administration’s control. 


 D.   Chancellor’s Determination 

The LDO submits the report to the Chancellor or designee, who renders a final decision as to whether a violation occurred and determines relief as appropriate.  The Chancellor’s written decision will be issued within 18 months after the filing of the complaint, absent extenuating circumstances (WPP Section III(F)).


·       The Chancellor may request further investigation or clarification in the report prior to making a decision.


·       The Chancellor will issue a written decision, which will be provided to the Complainant and the Respondent(s).


o   If the Chancellor determines that retaliation occurred, the Chancellor will determine any appropriate relief or remedial measures.


o   If the Chancellor decides that an employee violated the WPP, disciplinary action may be taken in accordance with applicable policy or collective bargaining agreement (WPP Section III(G)).   

  • The Chancellor’s decision is final and not subject to appeal (WPP Section III(I)).


VI.         Appendices, Forms, and Related Policies



A.    Frequently Asked Questions

B.    Investigations Group




Related Policies and Guidance:

A.  UCOP FAQs - Questions about WPP protections from retaliation for being a whistleblower

B.  UC Policy on Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Suspected Improper Governmental Activities (Whistleblower Policy)

C.   UC Whistleblower Protection Policy

D.   Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) Reporting Obligations

E.    Campus Security Authority (CSA) for Clery Act Reporting Obligations


VII.         Approval, Revision and Review History


Section V of this procedure was approved by the Chancellor effective March 1, 2019, in accordance with Section II(B)(1) of the WPP.  The procedure was expanded to add the local implementing procedure for the UC Whistleblower Policy, in amendments effective June 14, 2022.