Reporting and EthicsPoint Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following are frequently asked questions with answers about reporting to the Office of Ethics, Compliance, and Risk (OECR) and using EthicsPoint. More general information on reporting and accessing EthicsPoint can be found on our Reporting Page

What is EthicsPoint?  

EthicsPoint is the university’s reporting system for concerns of ethical misconduct or noncompliance with laws, regulations, or university policies. Reports can be submitted anonymously and the system allows university officials to communicate with anonymous reporters. In conjunction with OECR, EthicsPoint is managed by a third-party provider, NAVEX, Global, which allows community members to submit concerns without collecting any identifiable information, including IP addresses. Reports can be submitted online or by calling the EthicsPoint Hotline Phone Number at (888) 508-5275.  

Why do we need a system like EthicsPoint?   

We believe that the individuals who comprise the GW community are our most important asset. By creating open channels of communication with our community, we are able to look into and address ethical misconduct or noncompliance with laws, regulations, or university policies. Under the Code of Ethical Conduct, members of the GW community are responsible for reporting ethical misconduct or noncompliance as soon as possible to an appropriate university authority.  

If I see a violation, shouldn't I just report it to my manager, GWPD, or my HR Business Partner? 

Under the Code of Ethical Conduct, members of the GW community who have a good-faith reason to believe noncompliance or unethical conduct has occurred are responsible for reporting that noncompliance as soon as possible. Concerns can be brought forward to a university official (e.g., your manager or unit leadership, if applicable) or an established reporting avenue. It is understood, however, that there may be circumstances or barriers to reporting in this manner. In such circumstances, we have partnered with EthicsPoint. We would rather you report anonymously than keep the information to yourself. The decision to report anonymously however may impact the university’s ability to fully address the concern. The university’s Non-Retaliation Policy states that retaliation against members of the university community who make good-faith reports regarding potential university-related violations of law, regulations, or university policies is prohibited. The university will review complaints of retaliation, and any attempted or actual retaliatory action covered under the policy may subject the violator to disciplinary action.   

Why should I report what I know?  

We all have the right to reside in a positive and inclusive educational and work environment, and with that right comes the responsibility of acting in an ethical manner by letting the appropriate officials know if another member of our community is not living up to our values or standards. If other community members have knowledge of any unethical conduct or potential policy violations, encourage them to submit a report as well.  

Is my report “confidential?” 

Reports are entered directly on the EthicsPoint secure server to prevent any possible breach in security and then are reviewed by NAVEX Global. From there, the report is then routed to the appropriate OECR team member(s) who are charged with triaging and evaluating the report. Privacy considerations are given and evaluated with special regard to the nature of the incident that is being reported. 

What if my boss or other managers are involved in a violation?  How can a conflict be avoided in addressing my report?  

The EthicsPoint system and report distribution practices are designed so that implicated parties are not notified or granted access to reports where they have been implicated. Further, we expect our community members to identify and address any potential, real, or perceived conflicts of interest when working to resolve a given situation.   

What should I include in my report? 

Be as detailed and specific as possible. List all of the involved parties, including the implicated individual(s), witnesses, and your information if you are not reporting anonymously. Be sure to select the correct corresponding Issue Type before providing a narrative. When writing the narrative of the situation, include what behavior(s) you observed the implicated parties engage in and provide information in sequential order. Lastly, if applicable, add what effects or harms caused by the behavior of the implicated parties happened as a result. Having as much first-hand information as possible is helpful for the university to fully respond and address matters that are reported. Is there a dollar threshold for disclosure?

What if I remember something important about the incident after I file the report? Or what if the office working to address my report has further questions for me as the reporter? 

When you file a report with EthicsPoint, you receive a unique username and are asked to choose a password. With that username and password, you can return to the EthicsPoint system again, and access the original report to add more detail or answer follow-up questions posed to you to add further information. We suggest that you return regularly to see if there are any updates or questions for you in the system. 

What happens to my report after I submit it? 

A team member in OECR will confirm receipt of your submission and will ask any initial follow-up questions to you. After you complete your report, you will be assigned a unique code called a "report key." Please follow up on a regular basis using your report key, in case you have questions, updates, or feedback. 

Will I be told the outcome of an investigation? 

Depending on the type of incident you reported, there may be limitations on what can be shared with regard to specific findings, outcomes, or actions that are taken as a result of receiving a report. If you have questions regarding the status of a report you submitted, please direct them to an OECR team member.  

Is EthicsPoint appropriate for reporting emergencies? 

While steps are taken to review and resolve reports in a timely fashion, EthicsPoint is NOT a 9-1-1 or emergency service. Do not use this site to report events presenting an immediate threat to life or property. If you are experiencing an emergency situation, please call your local emergency services at 9-1-1 or the GW Police Department at (202) 994-6111.