Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Lab unveils new Employee Concerns Program

By Krista D. Wilde

December 13, 2006

Providing Laboratory employees and subcontractors a mechanism for reporting concerns without fear of retaliation is one of the goals of a new Employee Concerns Program.

The program also gives workers an opportunity to have concerns addressed through an independent and objective evaluation, said Stacey Chados of Ethics and Compliance (EA-ETHICS).

The Employee Concerns Program, which replaces the Lab’s whistleblower program, will address good faith reports of improper activities or situations that constitute a threat to security, health, safety, the environment, or quality. Issues pertaining to safeguards and security, waste, fraud, abuse, workplace violence, harassment, retaliation and discrimination, gross misconduct, gross inefficiency, gross incompetence, or violation of law also can be reported to the ECP, said Chados.

“This program is designed to encourage people to think about and address ethical issues that arise on the job. The function of this program is to allow good people to do the right thing and succeed,” said Chados.

The Employee Concerns Program was developed to meet Department of Energy Order 442.1A, which among other things, requires the Lab to have a single location to track employee concerns. Chados added that the Employee Concerns Program will work in concert with Employee Relations (HR-ER), Internal Inquiries (SAFE-IIS12), and other Laboratory investigative bodies.

Employees can report a concern by calling the ECP 24-hour help line at 5-9999, calling 7-4257, writing to MS A249, writing to, or by speaking to ECP personnel in person at TA-00, Building 786, Room 208.

When ECP personnel are notified of a concern, they first decide whether the concern is appropriate for processing under Institutional Policy and Implementation Procedure (IPP) 793 (Adobe Acrobat Reader required). If it is appropriate for the ECP to address the concern, a reporting form will be completed and the case will be assigned an ECP tracking number. The receipt of the concern will be acknowledged verbally or in writing within three working days. The concern will then be referred to the appropriate organization for investigation and the concern will be tracked until it is closed. Finally, the ECP will complete a closure report and notify the concerned worker of the results unless there are legal restrictions, explained Chados.

Employees can make confidential reports, but must indicate during the initial written or verbal submission that they wish to keep their identity confidential. If an employee calls the ECP helpline and wishes to remain anonymous, the case number will be provided so that he or she can follow up on the status of the case. However, employees who wish to remain anonymous must provide sufficient evidence to justify the initiation of a case, Chados explained.

For more information about the Employee Concerns Program, call 7-4257 or write to by electronic mail.


Opinions sought on new Standards of Conduct and Business Ethics Booklet

Employees are asked to voice their opinions about a new, Lab-wide Standards of Conduct and Business Ethics Booklet.

Ethics and Compliance (EA-Ethics) developed a Standards of Conduct and Business Ethics Booklet in order to communicate the Lab’s standards of conduct to employees, and to establish a Laboratory-wide process to assist employees in obtaining guidance and resolving ethical issues that arise in the workplace, said Stacey Chados of Ethics and Compliance (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

The booklet addresses topics ranging from the responsibilities of employees, supervisors, and managers to environmental concerns, safety and health concerns, and the process for reporting unethical behavior. It also provides information about the sanctions for those who do not behave according to the principles described in the booklet.

The Standards of Conduct and Business Ethics Booklet will supplement the Lab’s Code of Conduct.

When the final version of the Standards of Conduct and Business Ethics Booklet is released, employees will receive a copy and be asked to sign an Employee Certification Form stating that they have received and understand the booklet (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Employees may read the document and the Employee Certification Form and send any questions or comments to Chados from today through December 22.

For more information, contact Chados at 7-7506 or at by electronic mail.

And, as an added bonus, users of LANS's new Employee Concerns Program get a free subscription to the equally new, upcoming LANL RIF List!
Much as I hope I am wrong, it is a rare company that doesn't punish a whistle blower. If anyone is considering such behavior, I urge the person to consider doing so completely anonymously from the beginning. For advise on how to do this look up the web site for POGO, Project on Government Oversight. They will provide you with a book on how to report things anonymously.
I have seen it happen on more than one occasion, albeit not with LANS, yet.
LANL sure is a good place to be gone from. Distance provides perspective, and from where I sit now the place looks even more screwed up than at any time during the 20+ years that I worked there. LANS is clearly a large step down in terms of quality of management. I guess that's the bad news. The good news is that it is not that far down to rock-bottom.

Good luck to those of you remaining, and if I were you, I'd be a bit leery of using any of those corporate "Employee Concerns Programs".
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