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ESSENTIUM, INC. COMPLIANCE HOTLINE AND REPORTING MISCONDUCT POLICY
Essentium is firmly committed to conducting business with integrity and in compliance with this policy and the spirit of the law. Our commitment to conducting business with the highest level of ethics, standards and responsibility is reflected in our compliance policies and procedures, and the implementation of the Compliance Hotline. A successful compliance program depends upon all of us being alert and committed to compliance.
These procedures govern the compliance hotline for Essentium, Inc.
The objective of the compliance hotline is to allow employees, visitors, vendors, customers, leads and business partners to report instances of suspected noncompliance outside the normal chain of command. The hotline also allows for anonymous reporting, helps promote confidentiality, and provides safeguards against nonretaliation.
Essentium employees should use the hotline when they are not satisfied with their supervisors’ response to a compliance issue, or if they fear retaliation by a supervisor. Under normal circumstances, compliance issues should be addressed through normal managerial and administrative channels.
Proper Uses of the Hotline
The compliance hotline may be used to report any instance of noncompliance with a federal, state, or local law; other legal obligation; or any corporate policy or procedure. The following are examples of noncompliance that may be reported through the compliance hotline:
The compliance hotline is not a general complaint hotline. Only matters involving noncompliance with law or policy will be reviewed, and if appropriate, investigated. Employees, and others with noncompliance related complaints should pursue normal managerial, or administrative channels, as appropriate under the circumstances.
Supervision of Hotline
To help protect the anonymity and confidentiality of reports, Essentium has appointed the Chairman of the Board, to manage the compliance hotline.
Anonymity and Confidentiality
“Anonymity” relates to protecting the identity of the individual who reports an issue of noncompliance. “Confidentiality” relates to protecting the information reported. The compliance hotline is designed and administered to help protect the anonymity of reporters and the confidentiality of the information submitted. Nonetheless, depending on the facts and circumstances, the corporation cannot guarantee anonymity and confidentiality in every situation. Those who use this hotline to report compliance issues may choose to do so anonymously. This hotline does not generate or maintain any internal connection logs with IP addresses, so no information automatically linking the reporter to this hotline is available. This hotline does not track or attempt to identify the reporting party or his or her location unless the reporting party voluntarily discloses that information. Still, information disclosed by reporting parties may reveal their identity, whether inadvertently or because of the necessities of investigating the relevant facts. Information disclosed in a report generally will be treated as confidential, except as provided below. Anyone involved in receiving, investigating, or resolving a compliance hotline report must exercise reasonable care in protecting the anonymity of the reporter and the confidentiality of the information reported. Neither the identity of an anonymous reporter (if discovered) nor confidential information disclosed in a report or during an investigation will be disclosed to anyone who is not properly authorized to receive, investigate, or resolve the issues in the report, unless
(1) the reporter consents to such disclosure;
(2) disclosure is necessary to comply with federal, state, or local law (including legally mandated disclosure, such as a lawfully issued subpoena, warrant, or court orders), or with Essentium’s policy or procedure; or
(3) maintaining anonymity or confidentiality would interfere with investigating, stopping, preventing, remedying, or imposing discipline for the reported misconduct, and those to whom the information is disclosed have a legitimate need to know the information in order to perform those responsibilities.
Noninterference and Nonretaliation
Essentium does not tolerate any form of improper interference or retaliation against those who use or desire to use the compliance hotline in good faith. Accordingly, officers and employees may not
(1) interfere with or prohibit anyone from reporting in good faith compliance concerns or wrongdoing through the compliance hotline; or
(2) take any adverse action (employment, or otherwise) against someone who, in good faith, either submits a compliance hotline report or otherwise cooperates with an investigation of a report. Those who engage in such improper interference or retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action by Essentium, including but not limited to the possibility of suspension or termination.
Conflicts of Interest
To the extent reasonable under the circumstances, if a compliance hotline report or information learned in investigating the report includes a specific allegation of noncompliance by an employee or officer, then such employee or officer will be excluded from access to the hotline record for that report and from any responsibility for investigating or making determinations or decisions based on that report. If necessary, in circumstances involving a conflict of interest, the review, investigation, and resolution of the report will be reassigned to one or more employees or officers who do not have such a conflict of interest.
False Reports / False Information
The compliance hotline is not meant to shield, or provide a forum for, those who, in connection with a compliance hotline report, knowingly provide false information, recklessly misrepresent facts, or intentionally withhold pertinent information in an attempt to mislead. Employees or officers who engage in such activities may be subject to disciplinary action by Essentium, including the possibility of suspension or termination. Nonetheless, those who, in good faith, report instances of noncompliance will not be subject to disciplinary action for such reporting.
Applicable Policies and Procedures
For hotline reports covered by an existing corporate policy or procedure (e.g., Sexual Misconduct Policy, Honor Code Investigation and Administrative Review Process), the report generally is reviewed, assigned, investigated, and resolved pursuant to such policy or procedure. Otherwise, the report generally is reviewed, assigned, investigated, and resolved as set forth herein. To the extent that this policy and procedure conflicts with another corporate policy or procedure, such other policy or procedure (not this document) will govern.
Submission of Hotline
Reports Individuals may submit compliance hotline reports through this hotline either by filling out and submitting a report form on the hotline website; As outlined above, reporters may choose to submit hotline reports anonymously and may choose to provide as much or as little information as they desire. Nonetheless, reporters are encouraged to provide as much information as possible (including their identity) to assist Essentium’s officials in stopping, preventing, and remedying the reported noncompliance. Upon submission of a hotline report, reporters might be provided with a code or login information that will allow them to check on the status of the report and to communicate with Essentium’s officials.
Receipt of and Access to Reports
This hotline automatically distributes the report received to the Hotline’s appointee for Essentium that is the subject of the report. Depending on the category of the report individuals with responsibility for that area also may receive hotline reports. The Hotline’s appointee also may grant other individuals access to individual reports on a case-by-case basis, as appropriate. The Hotline’ appointee works with officials at Essentium to determine who should have access to hotline reports for different reporting categories and for individual reports. Such access rights may be changed from time to time to support compliance efforts and to reflect the needs of Essentium.
Initial Review, Assignment, and Response
Upon receipt of a compliance hotline report, the Hotline Administrators, in consultation with the attorney within the Office of the General Counsel assigned to Essentium and anyone else assigned to receive that report, as reasonably appropriate and necessary (collectively, the “Case Review Team”) will conduct an initial review of the report to determine the following:
(1) Emergency. If any member of the Case Review Team determines that the report involves an immediate threat to the safety or security of a person or property, then, as soon as practical, such member of the Case Review Team should refer the report to appropriate emergency first responders and, if appropriate, to other relevant authorities, and then inform the other members of the Case Review Team that such referral has been made.
(2) Conflict of Interest. If the report or information learned in investigating the report includes a specific allegation of noncompliance by any employee or officer (including any member of the Case Review Team), then that person will be excluded from access to the hotline record for that report and from any responsibility for investigating or making determinations or decisions based on that report. If the report or information learned includes a specific allegation of noncompliance by a member of the Essentium’s council, then the Case Review Team will submit the report to the Essentium’s board, who may retain outside counsel or an outside investigator to conduct an independent investigation.
(3) Major Risk. If the Case Review Team determines that the report poses a substantial threat or major risk to Essentium, then unless there is an actual or potential conflict of interest, the General Counsel or an assigned member of the Case Review Team will provide notice of the report to the member of the Essentium’s council or, if appropriate, directly to the Essentium ‘s board.
(4) Frivolous Complaints. If the Case Review Team determines that the report is frivolous or implausible on its face or makes allegations that, even if accepted as true, would not constitute a legal or policy violation, then the Initial Review Team may decide either not to respond to the report or to respond to the reporting party that the report does not meet this minimum standard and will not be investigated without additional facts or evidence.
(5) Informal Resolution. If the Case Review Team determines that the issues raised in the report should be resolved informally without an investigation, then the report may be referred directly to the appropriate corporate official (e.g., the supervisor of the accused) for informal resolution. Essentium official then should report to the Case Review Team with information about the informal resolution.
(6) Mandatory Reporting Obligations. If the Case Review Team determines that the issues raised in the report necessitate mandatory reporting obligations to an outside person or entity, then the Case Review Team, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, should make a determination on whether to make such a report immediately or if further investigation is necessary before making such a report.
(7) Formal Investigation. If the Case Review Team determines that the report warrants a formal response or investigation, then (a) the Case Review Team will assign an individual (“Primary Case Manager”) who will coordinate the response and any investigation and be primarily responsible for following up on and, if possible, resolving the report; and (b) as soon as reasonably possible, the Primary Case Manager or another assigned member of the Case Review Team should respond to the reporter by acknowledging receipt of the report and, if appropriate, indicating that an investigation will occur or asking for additional facts and evidence regarding the report.
No formal investigation of a hotline report should begin without first conducting the initial review set forth above. Once assigned, the Primary Case Manager is responsible for the investigation and any resolution of the report but may consult with the Case Review Team or other responsible corporate officials, as long as the Primary Case Manager and others involved in the investigation respect the 5 principles of anonymity, confidentiality, noninterference, nonretaliation, and conflict of interest, as outlined above. If necessary to preserve the integrity of the investigation, the Case Review Team may remove the Primary Case Manager and assign a new one to investigate. Prior to an investigation, the Primary Case Manager, in consultation with members of the Case Review Team, as needed, should develop an investigation strategy to determine
(1) the proper scope of the investigation,
(2) the compliance issues and risks to the university,
(3) the individuals and offices that should (and should not) be involved in the investigation,
(4) any interviews that should be conducted, and
(5) any documents and information should be collected.
Simultaneously, the Primary Case Manager also should develop a communication strategy to determine when and how to provide information to and ask questions of parties affected by the allegations and the investigation. Prior to and during the investigation, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the Primary Case Manager should determine whether the report itself or any information discovered during the investigation gives rise to any notice or reporting obligations to an outside person or entity
If such obligations exist, the Primary Case Manager should coordinate and fulfill any such notice and reporting obligations. Throughout the investigation, the Primary Case Manager and others involved in the investigation should coordinate with the Office of the General Counsel on issues that may result in claims against or liability to Essentium, as well as efforts to preserve the attorney-client privilege. During the investigation, the Primary Case Manager, in coordination with the Case Review Team, should consider, recommend, and, upon approval from and in coordination with corporate officials with authority, implement appropriate interim measures that are necessary to stop, prevent, or remedy the harm caused by the reported misconduct. Such interim measures may include, among other things, steps to protect the reporting party, other witnesses, or the broader campus community during the course of the investigation. In conducting an investigation, the Primary Case Manager may request additional facts or evidence from the reporter, whether in the form of written documents or an interview. If the reporter does not provide such facts or evidence within a reasonable time, the Primary Case Manager may proceed with a limited investigation based on the facts and evidence available or may close the report and notify the reporter that the failure to provide such facts and evidence precludes further investigation of the report. If doing so will not compromise the investigation, and if authorized by the Office of the General Counsel, the Primary Case Manager will provide any individual(s) accused of wrongdoing in the report with notice of the allegations and an opportunity to respond. In doing so, the Primary Case Manager also should provide any accused with notice of
Essentium’s nonretaliation policies and the need to maintain the confidentiality of the information shared during the investigation. During the investigation, either before or after contacting any person accused of wrongdoing, as appropriate, the Primary Case Manager may also interview other witnesses and gather additional documents and information. In conducting the investigation, the Primary Case Manager and others involved in the investigation should use reasonable efforts to respect the principles of anonymity, confidentiality, noninterference, nonretaliation, and conflict of interest, as outlined above. Throughout the investigation, the Primary Case Manager and others involved in the investigation should collect and preserve relevant documents, information, and findings, including correspondence with the parties. In cases in which the reporter chooses to remain anonymous, this hotline should be used to communicate with the reporter.
All hotline compliance issues will be resolved as quickly as reasonably possible. Members of the Case Review Team should regularly review the status of any pending hotline report to determine what efforts may be made to resolve and close out the report. At all times, the status of a hotline report should be updated and tracked by the hotline appointee. Upon final resolution of a hotline report, the Primary Case Manager or other individual assigned by the Case Review Team should (1) record any investigation findings, ultimate resolution, and referral to another corporate official or group, or outside entity;
(2) if appropriate, communicate such findings, resolution, and referral to the reporter and any accused individual(s); and
(3) close out the report.
If the hotline report is resolved informally or through another policy or procedure, the resolution should be reported to the Primary Case Manager or the Case Review Team for proper tracking and recording of the resolution. If the Primary Case Manager deems it appropriate, or if requested by the Case Review Team or other corporate official with authority, the Primary Case Manager should prepare a final written report with findings and recommendations. If relevant, such a final written report should include, among other things,
(1) any investigation findings;
(2) any recommended remedial measures;
(3) any recommended disciplinary measures; and
(4) any recommended changes to Essentium’s policy, procedure, or practices relevant to the reported issue.
To the extent practical, the Primary Case Manager and the Case Review Team should work with corporate officials to implement any recommendations arising from the investigation of the hotline report and its resolution.
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