What you should know before making a report to UNIS

UNIS shall assure that your physical and psycho-social working- or learning environment at the university centre is safe and secure, and is responsible for implementing corrective measures in the event that problems are discovered. The most serious cases – categorized as whistleblowing at UNIS – will be handled confidentially so you do not experience negative consequences or retaliation associated with the situation that you reported.

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What can you report?

You may report HSE deviations (injuries, damage, almost-accidents, LAB-matters), matters relating to buidling/infrastructure, praise and critics in general and you may whistleblow on matters of especially seriuos charachters (see next paragraph). UNIS have separate forms for the different matters. 

What is whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is reporting censurable conditions at UNIS. Of primary concern are situations that violate the law or ethical norms. Whistleblowing ultimately helps the university to improve our educational environment or the working environment for everyone, and should be considered if students or staff observe any of the following:

  • Unethical, illegal, or punishable conditions associated with the learning and work environment, pollution, corruption, misuse of public resources or abuse of power
  • Problems or deficiencies that can contribute to serious injury or loss of life
  • Students or staff being bullied, harassed, or discriminated against in connected with their work or studies at UNIS.

As a student, you can also report situations that you have experienced yourself.

UNIS’s web form for reporting and whistleblowing

The web form is encrypted and sent over a secure connection to UNIS archive system where the staff member/case worker responsible for the matter in question will be alerted about the report. Your report will not be anonymous, but will be handled by staff that is bound by a confidentiality agreement so that your privacy will be maintained.

Who will know that you have complained?

Your identity will not be known to any more people than are necessary to resolve your case. The person who is the subject of a complaint has the right to know about, see the details of, and comment on the complaint. That is to say that in most cases, a person accused of wrongdoing will know the identity of the person who has accused them.

Verbal reporting

You can make a report by telephone or in person to a person at your department.

Anonymous reporting

It is possible to make an anonymous complaint via telephone or letter to a person in your department or to UNIS at post@unis.no. The Student Council or your attorney can also make an anonymous report on your behalf. Be aware that anonymous complaints against staff or fellow students rarely lead to sanctions. In most cases, UNIS needs to know your identity to follow your complaint.

UNIS’s duty to investigate

Whether you report a case anonymously or via web-form, the person who receives your complaint is obliged to forward your case to the appropriate manager or department so that work can begin on researching and resolving the reported problem.

Support

A caseworker will keep in contact with you while the case is being investigated as well as after the case has been resolved. It can be a good idea to discuss the case you wish to report with someone (student advisers, colleagues, your leader) before you make your report, as they can be an important resource, attending meetings and supporting you while the case is resolved. Whistle blowing can be difficult because you need to describe what you have experienced for those who will investigate the case. You may also, in the event a court case is initiated, be asked to be a witness. Be prepared to experience resistance and denial from the person or persons accused of wrongdoing – this may make you feel uncomfortable.

Documentation

Be sure to keep documentation that supports your case (e-mail, sms, letters, pictures, etc.). Write what you experienced down as soon as possible.

Claim against claim

Understand that UNIS may have limited possibilities for action or implementing sanctions against a staff member if there is no evidence to support an accusation of misconduct. Your complaint may, in any case, have an effect in that it may discourage similar cases in the future.

Protection from retaliation and independent oversight

Staff members are not permitted to retaliate against you after you have reported a case (for example, by giving you a poor grade or limiting your carrier opportunities). UNIS’s archives every whistle blowing case that is submitted and is responsible for ensuring that these cases are handled appropriately. If you do feel that you are experiencing negative consequences associated with your report, please use the online form.

Police reporting

If the actions or situation is punishable under law, you will be encouraged to make a police report. UNIS may also, either by its own decision or due to legal reporting obligations, report the case to the police.

False accusation

Be aware that making false accusations against an individual is a criminal offence. If you are unsure whether you should report a case, consider contacting a colleague, your leader or student advisers at UNIS for advise.

Follow-up

Read more about the follow-up when you have reported a serious problem.

Injured at UNIS?

If you have been injured at UNIS, contact the nearest supervisor, staff at the logistics department or any of the UNIS student advisers to report the incident. If you do not know who to report to, you can use the online form.

Working Environment Committee (AMU)

The Working Environment Committee  – AMU – at UNIS is a forum at UNIS that will check that reported issues are being followed up properly.

 

What happens after a whistleblowing case is submitted?

Who receives your report?

Your report is sent via an encrypted exchange to UNIS archive system and a case worker will be given your case. Your report is stored in UNIS archive system (graded access) and the Working Environment Committe (AMU) forsee that all reported matters are followed up correctly.

In the case of whistleblowing, a dedicated group will take part in the case handling. The group will consider your report and decide who else need to be involved to resolve the case in the best way.
The group is made up by:

  • The HSE director
  • The Main Safety Delegate (Hovedverneombud)
  • A staff member
  • For cases involving a student a student representative will be added to the group.

 

What happens next?

Within about one week, you will receive information from the UNIS about the status of and further actions to be taken with regards to your report. The whistleblowing group at UNIS will determine where your case will be processed (e.g., at the department or central-administrative level). You will then be told the name of the person responsible for following up your report. The UNIS director, the HSE director  and the Head of departments are responsible for ensuring that an appropriate learning and working environment is maintained within their departments. In the event that your case pertains to a department the appropriate head of department will be involved.

  • All received reports will be investigated in a serious and exhaustive manner.
  • All sensitive documents associated with the case will be held in confidentiality. This entails that your name will not be known by people other than those who are needed to follow up your case.
  • If a determination is made that misconduct has occurred or that the physical environment is unsafe, corrective measures will be enacted to correct the situation.

 

What rights do you have once you submit a report?

If you are not personally part of the case but, rather, are passing on information that you have become aware of, you will not be involved further. You will be contacted in the event that the person handling the case needs more information. You will receive a message that your report was received and a follow-up message when the case has concluded.

If you report a case in which you are personally involved, you will be included in the case going forward. Your inclusion in the case means that you have a right to be heard and will be invited to a meeting where you can more precisely articulate your side of the case. You may bring another person to this meeting if you desire. This person can be a friend, family member, student ombud, advisor, or a lawyer. You will have the opportunity to review and give feedback on the meeting notes. Your inclusion in the case means that you will be held up to date regarding developments and outcomes of the case to the extent that such information does not impact the rights to privacy that third parties involved in the case may posses.

You should not experience negative consequences as a result of your involvement with the case that you report. If you experience any negative consequences stemming from your report, please tell us by using the online form.

What rights does a person accused of misconduct have?

Individuals who are accused of misconduct have the right to know about, be given an understanding of the substance of, and express their side of the case. The person or persons who are accused will be called into a meeting (or meetings) such that the case can be illuminated from as many sides as possible. All involved parties will be informed at the conclusion of a case.

Employee: If an employee is found responsible for serious misconduct connected to their work at UNIS, a additional case may be started following the guidelines as provided in the  Civil Service Act (lovdata.no) (Norwegian).

Student: If a student has been found to be unreasonably disruptive, a case may be started by an appeals committee. Rules regarding such cases can be found in the Act relating to universities and university colleges § 4.8 (lovdata.no) (Norwegian).

 

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