Ethics Line FAQs
Q. What is the Ethics Line?
LMU’s Ethics Line is a reporting tool that assists the University and its employees in addressing possible fraud, abuse, misconduct, and other violations in the workplace. It can be used via telephone or a web-based form. Reporters can choose to identify themselves or can file reports anonymously.
Q. Why do we need an Ethics Line?
We believe that open channels of communication help to create a safe and ethical environment. Our existing internal reporting remains in place and provides the opportunity to discuss potential concerns face to face with the appropriate offices on campus (e.g. Human Resources, Internal Audit, the Controller’s Office, Environmental Health and Safety and others).
Publicly traded companies are required by law to have an anonymous reporting system to address accounting and auditing misconduct. Though not required by law to implement the system, the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees and University management are committed to the operation of such a system which is seen as a best practice. The University’s external auditors recommended that a confidential and anonymous system such as this be implemented. The Ethics Line was implemented in 2005.
Q. What type of situations should I report?
If you have a concern about whether an activity or practice that you have observed at LMU is appropriate, you are encouraged to communicate that concern. The communication can be to your supervisor or University management or it can be made anonymously using the Ethics Line.
Anonymous reports of Human Resources issues or complaints are difficult to investigate. Concerns about these matters should be reported personally to the Human Resources representative for your division. LMU has detailed policies that provide guidance for reporting Discriminatory Harassment, staff complaints, faculty grievances and student misconduct. For those types of matters, consult the University policies (links available on this website).
Q. Why is the reporting line not suitable for complaints of discriminatory harassment?
LMU’s Community Standards include a Discriminatory Harassment Policy and Complaint Process. Discriminatory harassment may include, but is not limited to, race, age or gender discrimination, sexual harassment, hate crimes, and bias motivated incidents. The policy incorporates statutory requirements surrounding the review of reports of discriminatory harassment. Central to these requirements is that the report/complaint be communicated through one of the channels listed in the policy if the reporter chooses not to engage in direct conflict resolution. Anonymous reports of discriminatory harassment cannot be handled within LMU’s Discriminatory Harassment Complaint Process. The process provides for several options for reporting complaints.
Q. Why is the reporting line not suitable for complaints about or reports of student misconduct?
LMU’s Student Conduct Code details the manner in which complaints about or reports of student misconduct will be handled. Such matters are reviewed by the Office of Judicial Affairs in accordance with a process that is detailed in the Student Conduct Code. For more information please contact the Office of Judicial Affairs at 310.338.1821.
Q. It is my understanding that any report I send from an LMU computer generates a server log that shows every web-site that my PC connects with, and won’t this log identify me as a report originator?
The Network does not store logs with IP addresses so no information linking your PC to the Network is available. If the link to the Ethics Line is accessed from the LMU website, it is theoretically possible for this selection to be logged and then it would be possible to trace that access to the computer used. LMU does not log such access and has no intention of logging such access. A separate privacy concern relates to the browser cache on an individual's computer. The cache will maintain the addresses of websites accessed from that computer until it is cleared by the user (which can be done in Internet Explorer).
Reports can be filed from any device with internet access. Generally reports are filed outside of working hours.
Q. Can I file a report from home and still remain anonymous?
A report from home, a neighbor’s computer, or any Internet portal will remain secure and anonymous. An Internet portal never identifies a visitor by screen name.
Q. I am concerned that the information I provide the Ethics Line might reveal my identity. How can you assure me that will not happen?
The Ethics Line and the University’s administration of it is designed to protect your anonymity. However, you as a reporting party need to ensure that your comments in the report do not reveal your identity by accident, for example, “In office number 1234 or in the 12 years I’ve been here….”
Q. I am aware of some individuals involved with unethical conduct, but it doesn't affect me. Why should I bother reporting it?
The University chooses to promote ethical behavior. All unethical conduct, at any level, ultimately hurts the University community. So if you know of any incident of misconduct or ethical violations, we hope that you will be motivated to report it.
Q. What if I am not sure what I have observed or heard is a violation of policy, or involves unethical conduct? What should I do?
File a report. The Ethics Line will guide you as you file your report so it can be properly understood. We'd rather you reported a situation that turned out not to be a violation than let possible unethical behavior continue because you weren't sure.
Q. Where do these reports go? Who can access them?
Reports are entered directly on the Network Inc.’s (i.e. the service provider) secure server to keep them anonymous (if that is the reporter’s choice) . The reports are available only to designated individuals within the University who are charged with evaluating that type of report. Each of these report recipients understands that these reports are treated confidentially. LMU and The Network together ensure that no report is ever shared except as required by law and the University’s Reporting Misconduct policy.
Q. What if my boss or other managers are involved in a violation? Won’t they get the report and start a cover-up?
The Ethics Line is designed so that no report is ever distributed to implicated parties, their peers or their subordinates, except as required by law. There are protocols for appropriately handling even those reports implicating high-level employees. For example, if the Ethics Line administrator is implicated, the report is available only to a specified outside party and the Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees. Thus, all reports will be resolved objectively.
Q. What if I have additional information after I file the report? Or what if the University has questions for me about my report?
When you file a report through the Ethics Line webpage or via the toll-free number, you receive a unique code that you can use when you return to the Ethics Line system again. You can access your original report to add information or answer questions posed by an LMU representative. We strongly suggest that you return to the report form in 48 hours to answer any questions. Anonymous conversations can take place to help resolve the matter you reported, continuing to be kept confidential.
Q. Can I still file a report if I don’t have access to the Internet?
You can file a report from any computer that can access the Internet – from home or a public location such as the library. If you don’t have access or are uncomfortable using a computer, you can call the toll-free hotline at 866-294-6139 which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The same secure and confidential process is applied to the report that the interviewer who answers your call will enter on the report web form.