AOC’s annual whistleblower policy notification – corrected.

Posted on August 1, 2012

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If you are an AOC or Trial Court employee believe in this policy at your own peril.

Please note that this recently amended policy has the same end result as the old policy. Come forward and you will be fired for an unrelated reason. Cooperate with any investigation and you will be fired for an unrelated reason as well. In most cases, significant time will pass during which time you will be considered “the walking dead”. Your career has ended by coming forward. It is only a matter of time (and if you work for the AOC, they actually like to wait a year) before terminating you. The pages of this blog thoroughly document what happens when you follow these guidelines. As much good as you may believe that you are doing, no one has observed any action taken on any complaint at any time ever!

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS Policy 9.3
PERSONNEL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Revised 07/12/12
Policy Number:
9.3
Title:
Whistleblower Policy and Protection From Retaliation
Contact:
Administrative Services Division, Human Resources Office
Policy Statement:
The AOC encourages employees to raise concerns of improper governmental activities as soon as possible, without fear of retribution. (not true.)
Contents:
(A) Overview
(B) Application
(C) Reporting and Investigating Improper Governmental Activities
(1) Report to AOC Internal Audit Services Unit – (they’re charged with disposing of any and all evidence you turn over)
(2) Report to State Auditor – an anonymous report here is really your only safe bet.
(3) Report to State Attorney General – who will promptly turn the evidence over to IAS
(D) Protection from Retaliation – does not exist.
(E) References

(A) Overview
The AOC is committed to conducting its work ethically and in compliance with applicable law, including ensuring responsible use of public funds. (Ha!) In keeping with this commitment, as well as the AOC’s goals of fostering open communication and early resolution of work-related concerns, the AOC encourages employees to promptly raise concerns about improper governmental activities—such as waste, fraud, abuse of authority, misuse or abuse of resources, violation of law or rule of court, noncompliance with judicial branch contracting manual, or threat to public health or safety by the judicial branch or by an employee—without fear of retribution. In compliance with the California Whistleblower Protection Act (Gov. Code, § 8547 et seq.), this policy:
 Provides a procedure for reporting and addressing complaints of improper governmental activities;

 Prohibits retaliation against employees who report improper governmental activities;

 Provides a procedure for reporting and addressing complaints of retaliation prohibited by this policy.

 All roads of resolution to your complaint start and end with IAD who is tasked with flushing you out from the cold and putting a name to the complaint by being friendly and understanding, all while and disposing of any and all evidence you turn over. All calls to the hotline are recorded so that in the event they cannot flush you out, they can figure out who you are by the sound of your voice.

For purposes of this policy, “judicial branch” refers to the AOC and the California Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and superior courts.

(B) Application
The procedures set forth in this policy are not intended to serve as a general complaint procedure for concerns otherwise arising under other AOC policies. In particular, this policy does not generally apply to:
 Complaints that involve allegations of discrimination or harassment;
 Complaints of retaliation for filing a discrimination or harassment complaint or participating in an investigation of such complaints; or
 Other work-related concerns not involving improper governmental activities, as defined in this policy.
AOC employees with such concerns should refer to the Open Door Policy and Internal Complaint Review Process, policy 9.1 or Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Complaint Resolution Policy, policy 9.2, as applicable.

(C) Reporting and Investigating Improper Governmental Activities
Consistent with the AOC’s Open Door Policy and Internal Complaint Review Process, policy 9.1, employees with work-related concerns are encouraged to discuss them with their supervisor or manager as soon as possible, so they can be promptly resolved. Employees wishing to raise concerns about improper governmental activities more formally may do so under any (or more than one) of the following options:
(1) Report to AOC Internal Audit Services Unit
Employees may report concerns by contacting the Judicial Branch Whistleblower Hotline (1-866-865-6400). Reports received by supervisors or through the Judicial Branch Whistleblower Hotline are referred to the AOC’s Internal Audit Services Unit. (all roads lead to the branch cleaners)
Upon receipt of a report concerning the AOC, Internal Audit Services—in consultation with the Human Resources Office and the Office of the General Counsel—will determine whether further investigation is warranted. Internal Audit Services will contact the reporting individual and request any further information necessary to evaluate the report. If Internal Audit Services decides that an investigation is warranted, it will arrange for an impartial investigator to conduct the investigation and prepare a report of the findings. (No matter how much merit your complaint has, it will not be investigated. Instead, YOU will be investigated and put on the “walking dead career track”)

The investigator will provide a copy of the report to Internal Audit Services (unless Internal Audit Services performs the investigation- because internally, only IAD investigates complaints.), which in turn will provide the report to the Chief Deputy Director, in consultation with the appropriate division director. If the investigation leads Internal Audit Services to conclude that a crime may have been committed, the group will also report the results of the investigation to the appropriate law enforcement agency. (though this has NEVER happened.)
If the report concerns a judicial branch entity other than the AOC, Internal Audit Services will contact the applicable judicial branch authority to resolve the issue and may, where appropriate, partner with that authority to resolve matters at the local level.
The identity of the AOC employee who made the report will be kept confidential unless the reporting employee authorizes disclosure or disclosure is to a law enforcement agency or otherwise required by law. (Of course, Mr. Judnick has no intention whatsoever of keeping anything confidential. Everything is escalated to the Chief Deputy Director, General Counsel, your director and HR – or your court executive officer and presiding judge with your name attached. )

(2) Report to State Auditor – Your only safe bet is to file an anonymous complaint here.
Under the California Whistleblower Protection Act (Gov. Code, § 8547 et seq.), the State Auditor is authorized to receive and investigate reports of suspected improper governmental activities. If the State Auditor finds that an employee may have engaged or participated in improper governmental activities, the State Auditor will send a copy of the investigative report to the Administrative Director of the Courts. The State Auditor may also report the results of substantiated allegations to other government authorities, as deemed appropriate by the State Auditor. Information on filing a complaint with the State Auditor is at http://www.auditor.ca.gov/hotline.

(3) Report to State Attorney General (aka Peter Krause, former AOC Attorney, current managing attorney for the AG’s office who only represents the AOC, not the people and certainly not you)
Under California Labor Code sections 1102.5 to 1106, the State Attorney General is authorized to receive calls from persons who have information regarding possible violations of state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations. Such activities may be reported through the California State Attorney General’s Whistleblower Hotline. The Attorney General will refer calls to the appropriate government authority for review and possible investigation. Reports may be referred to the AOC’s Internal Audit Services Unit as the appropriate government authority for review and possible investigation.

(D) Protection From Retaliation
Employees who, in good faith, report improper governmental activities or who participate in the investigation of such reports, are protected from retaliation.
Employees who believe they have been retaliated against for reporting improper governmental activities should immediately report the matter through the procedures outlined in Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Complaint Resolution Policy, policy 9.2.

Employees who file a written complaint under AOC’s policy 9.2 alleging retaliation for reporting improper governmental activities may (should, must) also file a copy of the written complaint with the State Personnel Board, together with a sworn statement that the contents of the written complaint are true or that the employee believes them to be true, under penalty of perjury. The complaint must be filed with the State Personnel Board within 12 months of the most recent alleged act. The State Personnel Board will investigate the complaint and make a recommendation to the AOC regarding the alleged retaliation. Information on filing complaints of retaliation with the State Personnel Board is at http://www.spb.ca.gov/legal/appeals/retaliation.htm.

(E) References
Judicial Branch Whistleblower Hotline 1-866-865-6400 (This line is recorded)
California State Auditor
California Attorney General
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Gov. Code, § 8547 et seq.; Lab. Code, § 1102.5 et seq. (whistleblower statutes)