Frequently Asked Questions

What is EthicsPoint? Reporting – General Reporting Security & Confidentiality Tips & Best Practices

What is EthicsPoint?

EthicsPoint is a comprehensive and confidential reporting tool created by NAVEX Global to assist The Texas A&M University System member's management and employees to work together in addressing fraud, abuse, and other misconduct in the workplace, all while cultivating a positive work environment.

Why do we need a system like EthicsPoint?

The Texas A&M System is committed to promoting a culture of ethical conduct and adherence to law and policy, and provides several channels for staff, faculty and other members of the System community to report or discuss concerns. While we recommend that you report your concerns directly to your supervisor or human resources, we understand that in certain circumstances you may wish to remain anonymous. The EthicsPoint tool, the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline, enables you to communicate issues and concerns associated with unethical or illegal activities while maintaining your anonymity and confidentiality.

Reporting – General

What types of situations should I report?

The Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline should be used for situations, events or actions by individuals or groups that you believe carry a negative impact on the Texas A&M System and its members’ reputation and financial well-being or are detrimental to productivity or personal safety.

Are there any situations that should not be reported through the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline?

The Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline is not a 911 or emergency services. Do not use the hotline to report events presenting an immediate threat to life or property or another emergency. Reports submitted through the hotline may not receive an immediate response. If you require emergency assistance, please call 911.

Why should I report what I know? What’s in it for me?

We all have the right to work in a positive environment and with that right comes the responsibility of acting in an ethical manner and letting the appropriate people know if someone is not acting appropriately. By working together, we can maintain a healthy and productive environment.

Does management really want me to report?

We certainly do. In fact, we need you to report. You know what is going on in the Texas A&M System- both good and bad. You may have initial knowledge of an activity that may be cause for concern. Your reporting can minimize the potential negative impact on the Texas A&M System and our community. Also, offering positive input may help identify issues that can improve and promote a positive work environment.

Reporting: Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline Reporting Process

How do I file a report?

The Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You have the ability to file a confidential, anonymous report by telephone or via the Internet. EthicsPoint representatives are able to take your information in numerous languages in addition to English.

If you call the hotline number, a specially trained EthicsPoint phone representative will walk you through the reporting process by identifying the broader compliance categories and specific issues within each category that you may report. Similarly, the online reporting system interface provides a series of questions to assist you in accurately identifying the category and issue you want to report.

Whether you file your report via phone or online, you will be asked to describe the suspected compliance problem with as much detail as possible, including when and where the incident occurred and who was involved.

Once you complete your report, you will receive a unique report key and create your own password. This information enables you to return to the EthicsPoint system—either by Internet or by phone—to access your report.

What happens after I file my report?

The Texas A&M System assures that reports submitted via the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline will be handled promptly and discretely. No retaliatory action will be taken against anyone for reporting or inquiring in good faith about potential breaches of the Texas A&M System policies, regulations or member rules or seeking guidance on how to handle suspected breaches. Reports submitted through the hotline will be given careful attention by the Texas A&M System and its members. The process is designed to maintain your anonymity.

How do I follow up with more information or hear about the outcome of a report?

By using your report key and password, you can access your report in the hotline throughout the investigation process—from initial review through resolution and closure. It is important that you check the system regularly for updates. The University may reach out to you through the hotline to ask questions or request further information to aid their investigation.

Unless you choose to identify yourself, all interactions within the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline are anonymous.

Please note that the results of our investigations are confidential in order to protect reporters and other individuals providing information to the investigation. However, if upon closure of a report you continue observe inappropriate behavior, we encourage you to submit an additional report.

Reporting Security & Confidentiality

Am I required to identify myself?

No. You do not have to reveal your identity to use the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline. However, our ability to investigate and address concerns might be limited for certain types of reports if you do not want your identity known.

Can the Hotline report be traced back to me?

No. You may submit your report from any Internet portal (work, home, or public computer), and the EthicsPoint system strips away Internet addresses to maintain complete anonymity. Calls are not traced or recorded. EthicsPoint does not generate or maintain any internal connection logs with IP addresses, so no information linking your computer to EthicsPoint is available.

What protection do I have when I report?

The Texas A&M System strictly prohibits retaliation against any member of its community for reporting or inquiring in good faith about suspected wrongful or unlawful activity or participating in an investigation or proceeding relating to such activity. The Texas A&M System considers such actions to be protected activities in which all members of its community may freely engage without worry of negative consequence as a direct result.

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. EthicsPoint and the Texas A&M System are committed to safeguard individuals who submit reports.

Does the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline replace existing reporting channels?

The hotline supplements the many existing reporting channels across the Texas A&M System. Ideally, you should report any concerns to your direct supervisor or chain of command so that possible violations of policy or law can be addressed promptly and appropriately. We recognize, however, that there may be circumstances when you are not comfortable reporting an issue in this manner. We would rather you report anonymously through the hotline than keep the information to yourself.

What if my supervisor or other manager is involved in the violation? Will they get a copy of the report?

Conflict screening is built into the report review and investigation process. Initially EthicsPoint ensures that any individual identified in a report will not receive system notification or have access to the report. The Texas A&M System performs additional conflict(s) screening to ensure that it will not include any individual who has a conflict or is cited in the report.

Are there confidentiality protections regarding the person a report is about?

The investigator maintains confidentiality throughout the investigative process to the extent that they can do so while completing their review. All reports are shared with the minimum number of individuals necessary to complete the investigation, and all individuals involved are apprised of the confidential nature of these reports. All reports are treated as allegations only. No actions will be taken before conclusion of an investigation, unless temporary measures are necessary to address immediate institutional concerns as to personal safety or the protection of property.

Tips & Best Practices

I am aware of some individuals involved with unethical conduct, but it doesn't affect me. Why should I bother reporting it?

Unethical behavior, at any level, ultimately hurts all of us. In a worst-case scenario, unethical behavior jeopardizes the Texas A&M System in its entirety, and that affects all of us and our jobs. If you know of any incidents of misconduct or ethical violations, it is your duty as a member of the Texas A&M System community to report it.

I am not sure if what I have observed or heard is a violation of the Texas A&M System policy, or involves unethical conduct, but it just does not look right to me. What should I do?

File a report. During the submission process (whether done by phone or Internet) you will be asked specific questions designed to ensure you provide as much detailed information as possible to ensure your concerns are thoroughly reviewed. We would rather you report a situation that turns out to be harmless than let possible unethical behavior go unchecked because you were not sure.

What if I remember something important about the incident after I file the report? Or what if the university or agency has further questions for me concerning my report?

Use your report key and password to return to the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct Hotline and access your original report to provide additional or updated information or to answer questions posed by the investigation team.

We strongly suggest that you return to the site often for updates.

Are these follow-ups on reports as secure as the original report?

All hotline correspondences are held in the same strict confidence as the initial report.

Can I still file a report if I do not have access to the Internet?

You can file a hotline report from any computer that can access the Internet. You can file from home. Many public locations, including the public library, have Internet computers.

If you do not have access to or are uncomfortable using a computer, you can call the Risk, Fraud and Misconduct toll-free hotline, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at (888) 493-1870.

If you still have questions, please contact the System Ethics and Compliance Office at (979) 458-6162 or email acraft@tamus.edu.