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What to Report

Employee misconduct involves behavior which violates established policy, procedures, regulations, laws, or the rights of other members of the University community. Internal Audit will investigate allegations of misconduct related to fraud, abuse and waste of University resources, conflicts of interest and non-compliance.

What are fraud, abuse, waste, conflicts of interest and non-compliance?

Fraud is a dishonest and deliberate course of action that results in the obtaining of money, property or an advantage to which the person committing the fraud would not normally be entitled.  It is the intentional misleading or deceitful conduct that deprives another of his/her resources or rights.  Fraud always involves intent and some violation of trust.

Abuse most often involves an employee exploiting “loopholes” in policies and procedures for personal benefit.  Abuse is very close to fraud, but is often not prosecutable as such.  Abuse includes, but is not limited to the misuse or destruction of resources, using the power of an official position inappropriately, or any other seriously improper practice that cannot be prosecuted as fraud.

Waste occurs when someone makes careless or extravagant expenditures, incurs unnecessary expenses, or grossly mismanages resources. This activity results in unnecessary cost.   It may or may not provide the person with personal gain.  Waste is almost always a result of poor management decisions and practices or poor accounting controls.

Conflicts of interests occur when a person's private interests compete with his or her professional obligations to the University to a degree that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the person's professional actions or decisions are materially affected by personal considerations, including but not limited to personal gain, financial or otherwise.

Non-compliance occurs when an employee either knowingly or unknowingly violates a policy, procedure, rule, regulation or grant agreement.

How can I prevent fraud, abuse, waste, conflicts of interest and non-compliance?

It is difficult to stop all fraud, waste, abuse, conflicts of interest and non-compliance.  However, a number of things can be done to help eliminate some of this activity.  For example:

  • Reduce opportunities through strong internal control
  • Create a sense of honesty and ethics in your area
  • Require employees to disclose real or potential conflicts of interest on a regular basis
  • Report fraud, abuse, waste, conflicts of interest and non-compliance when it is detected
  • Require employees to look for ways to eliminate this activity

Many individuals steal because they feel unappreciated or because they have a financial or other problem they are reluctant to share with others.  Listening to your coworkers, employees, and others as well as recognizing their achievements creates a more enjoyable workplace and it helps to prevent fraud by eliminating some of the feelings that contribute to a person’s decision to steal.  

How can I be protected from retribution?

The “Idaho Protection of Public Employees Act” (Title 6, Chapter 21) provides protections from “adverse action” for state employees who, in good faith, provide information concerning the waste of public funds, resources or manpower or who report potential violations of laws and regulations (both state and federal).  This law protects state employees who participate in investigations, court cases, or administrative reviews associated with such activity.  It also protects employees who refuse to carry out or object to directives to commit an illegal act.  State employees cannot be unreasonably restricted from documenting such cases.  Other federal and state laws also provide protection to individuals who report waste of government funds and/or violations of law.