Allegations of Misconduct

Marine Biological Laboratory
Policy No. G.1.20

Human Resources

Initiated by: Compliance Committee
Approved by: MBL Board of Trustees/Audit Committee
MBL Presidnet/Director

Date: January 19, 2006
Revision: #1, November 27, 2007
Updated:  February 2013
Distribution: MBL Community

1.0 Policy Statement
It is the obligation of all members of the MBL community to exercise sound judgment and seek advice when appropriate, and to report any concerns or complaints regarding what they suspect as violations of law, ethical standards, or MBL policies.  The process for responding to such reports of suspected violations is intended to ensure a thorough institutional response that protects all parties concerns and that addresses any problems identified.  Expectations for appropriate conduct are outlined in MBL Policy G.1.19 Code of Conduct.

2.0  Reporting Individuals can be assured that there will be no reprisals or retaliation of any kind for reporting any suspected problem or possible violation if the report is made in good faith.  This includes, but is not limited to, protection from retaliation in the form of an adverse employment action such as termination, compensation decrease, or “poor work” reassignment.  Any person who has made such a report of a suspected violation who believes he/she is being retaliated against must contact the Compliance Coordinator, Jonathan Gitlin at 508-289-7270 or, or the Chairman of the Audit Committee, Tom Crane at 617-348-1676 or,  immediately.  Any member of the MBL community who threatens or harasses a person making an allegation will themselves be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

3.0  This policy is intended to assure that reports of suspected violations are appropriately made and investigated.  However, it is not appropriate for employees to undertake their own investigation of concerns.  Their obligation is to raise the concern appropriately.

4.0  A perception of misconduct may be conveyed from incomplete information or misunderstanding, when in fact no misconduct has occurred.  Such misperceptions can often be resolved through direct communication with either the person in question or his/her supervisor.

5.0  If direct contact fails to resolve the concern or the response is inappropriate, an allegation of misconduct can be directed, in writing, to the Deputy Director of Research and Programs or the Chairman of the Audit Committee, who will conduct a fair and impartial investigation and will ensure accountability and prompt, consistent action. Contact information is:

Deputy Director of Research and Programs
Marine Biological Laboratory
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA  02543
Telephone: 508-289-7270

Thomas S. Crane
Mintz Levin
One Financial Center
Boston MA  02111
Telephone:  617-348-1676

5.1 If unsure about making an allegation, the Deputy Director of Research and Programs is available to discuss the issue in confidence.
5.2 Although every effort will be made to maintain the confidentiality of the person making the allegation, confidentiality cannot be assured for a variety of reasons.  Therefore no supervisor or manager should assure confidentiality.
5.3 Reports can be made anonymously.  However, it is often not possible to assure that such reports will receive the same consideration as those made by identified individuals.  The principal reason is that it is often necessary for the person investigating the problem to check certain facts with the person making the complaint, and if a report is made anonymously there is no way to verify such needed facts.
5.4  The Deputy Director of Research and Programs will review allegations with the Compliance Committee, MBL President/Director, and/or the Audit Committee as appropriate.

6.0  If a party still prefers they may submit written confidential allegations of misconduct via a metallic drop box located on the ground floor of Lillie across from the elevator.  Such written reports should include a general description of the issue of concern and if possible the specific policy or regulation he/she feels has been violated.

On a rotating basis two members of the MBL Compliance Committee will collect all written allegations submitted, prepare copies for all the Committee members, and schedule a meeting of the Committee to jointly review any allegations received.  A fair and impartial investigation of each confidential allegation received will be conducted by an assigned member of the MBL Compliance Committee who has no conflict-of-interest with the outcome of that particular allegation.

7.0 For general guidance or if these contacts do not adequately address an issue, employees may also contact Jonathan Gitlin, the Compliance Coordinator at 508-289-7270 or via e-mail at  If an issue is one that you believe may involve fraud or illegal activity, you should provide a copy of all materials to Jonathan Gitlin.  In any case, you should feel free to contact him directly without going to any of the identified resources.

8.0 If the allegation involves a potential violation of law; fraud or dishonesty; or issues regarding financial accounting, controls or reporting, or other financial matters; the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees will be informed of the allegations and its substance, as well as the outcome of the investigation.  The Audit Committee shall also receive an annual report summarizing all such investigations and their status.  As noted above, it an individual would prefer to report an issue directly to the Board of Trustees, the Chairman of the Audit Committee is Tom Crane who may be contacted at 617-348-1676.

9.0 The MBL may have an obligation to report suspected violations of law to government authorities with jurisdiction over the issues in question.

10.0 As part of its investigation into a suspected compliance issue, if the investigation finds that the report has merit, the MBL will consider appropriate sanctions against the individual(s) responsible including any supervisor who directs or approves any conduct in violation of the Code of Conduct.  Also corrective action should be taken, which may include among other things, new or revised policies to assure that the problem does not reoccur.

11.0 The reporter of the violation must exercise sound judgment to avoid baseless allegations. An employee who intentionally files a false report of wrongdoing will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.

12.0 Policy Clarification and Updates
Clarifications and updates of this Policy will be made available from the Human Resources Office.