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Policy on Non-Retaliation

University policy prohibits the taking of any retaliatory action for reporting or inquiring about alleged improper or wrongful activity.

Encouragement of Reporting

Northwestern University faculty and staff members are encouraged to report in good faith all information regarding alleged improper or wrongful activity that may constitute:

  • Discrimination or harassment;
  • Fraud;
  • Unethical or unprofessional business conduct;
  • Academic, scientific or research misconduct;
  • Noncompliance with University policies/procedures;
  • Circumstances of substantial, specific or imminent danger to a faculty or staff member or the public’s health and/or safety;
  • Violations of local, state or federal laws and regulations; or
  • Other illegal or improper practices or policies.

The University is firmly committed to a policy that encourages timely disclosure of such concerns and prohibits retribution or retaliation against any faculty or staff members who, in good faith, report such concerns.  No faculty or staff member will be exempt from the consequences of misconduct or inadequate performance by reporting his or her own misconduct or inadequate performance.

Protection from Retaliation

Any Northwestern University faculty or staff member who, in good faith, reports such incidents as described above will be protected from retaliation (defined as an adverse action taken because an individual has engaged in protected activities), threats of retaliation, discharge, or other discrimination including but not limited to discrimination in compensation or terms and conditions of employment that are directly related to the disclosure of such information. In addition, no faculty or staff member may be adversely affected because they refused to carry out a directive which constitutes fraud or is a violation of local, state, federal or other applicable laws and regulations. 

Reporting Process

Faculty and staff members should timely report evidence of alleged improper activity as described above by contacting their immediate supervisor, department chair, dean, or administrative head.  Any instances of alleged retaliation or retribution should be reported in the same manner.  Where the faculty or staff member is not satisfied with the response of the supervisor, department chair, dean or administrative head, or is uncomfortable for any reason addressing such concerns to one of these individuals, the faculty or staff member may contact the Office of Human Resources or the Office of the Provost.  For faculty or staff members who do not wish to address these issues through the reporting process outlined above, the University has selected EthicsPoint, a phone- and web-based resource available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

All reports will be handled as promptly and discreetly as possible, with facts made available only to those who need to know to investigate and resolve the matter.

Responsible Office: Office of the Provost

Who Needs to Know This Policy: All Northwestern community members


If you have any questions on this Policy, contact  

Dated: May 1, 2013