Reporting Improper Activity
Portland Community College employees are considered public employees and are held to the same ethics laws as other Oregon public employees. See the PCC Ethics Guide or Oregon Government Ethics Commission website for more information about those ethics laws.
Employees are encouraged to report any concern about the College’s compliance with any law, regulation, or policy or about criminal, unethical or wasteful activities at PCC. Any person, including students, faculty, staff, suppliers, contractors, and members of the public at large, with such concerns may submit a good faith report through the EthicsPoint website or by calling EthicsPoint at 1-888-219-3658 without fear of retaliation of any kind. All reports submitted through EthicsPoint will be investigated by PCC. Reports may be made confidentially and anonymously. EthicsPoint is designed to report suspected improper activities including financial, information technology, and safety matters. Incidents such as assaults or sexual harassment should be reported to the Office of Equity and Inclusion or Human Resources.
Under Oregon law, the College may not prohibit an employee from discussing the activities of a public body or a person authorized to act on behalf of a public body with a member of the Legislative Assembly, legislative committee staff acting under the direction of a member of the Legislative Assembly, any member of the elected governing body of a political subdivision, or an elected auditor of a city, county, or metropolitan service district.
The College may not prohibit an employee from disclosing, or take or threaten to take disciplinary action against an employee who discloses, information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of (1) a violation of a federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation by the College, (2) mismanagement, gross waste of funds, or abuse of authority by the College, (3) a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety resulting from actions of the College, or (4) the fact that a recipient of government services is subject to a felony or misdemeanor arrest warrant.
If the College were to prohibit, discipline, or threaten to discipline an employee for engaging in an activity described above, the employee may file a complaint under PCC’s Nondiscrimination and Non-Harassment Policy, or with the Bureau of Labor and Industries, or the employee may file a civil action.
An employee’s objectively reasonable and good-faith belief that the College has committed a violation of a federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation is an affirmative defense to civil or criminal charges related to the disclosure of information about the alleged violation, including information that is exempt from disclosure under Oregon’s public records law, if the following conditions are met:
- The information was lawfully accessed in the first instance;
- The information was disclosed in confidence to a manager, a law enforcement or public regulatory agency, or an Oregon-licensed attorney and not disclosed or re-disclosed to any other party by the employee or any person at the employee’s direction;
- The information was not contained in an exclusive commercial negotiating agreement or commercial nondisclosure agreement (unless the agreement is related to the employee’s employment with the College);
- The information disclosed was not related to the representation of a client if the disclosing employee is an attorney or is employed, retained, supervised, or directed by an attorney; and
- The disclosure was made consistent with federal law regarding the disclosure of that kind of information. (Information that is protected from disclosure under federal law, including but not limited to HIPAA and FERPA, may only be disclosed in accordance with federal law.)
Additionally, this affirmative defense, subject to the same restrictions, is available to an employee who discloses information related to an alleged violation of a federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation by a coworker or supervisor if the alleged violation relates to the coworker or supervisor’s employment.
Effective date: January 1, 2017