Chapter 23 - Reporting Concerns and Undue Influence
The University of Pittsburgh strives to ensure a culture of compliance with respect to the protection of human subjects involved in research. Despite the best efforts of members of the research community, there may be instances where 1) an area of concern is identified related to the conduct of a study, or 2) an individual believes s/he is being subjected to undue influence. The mechanisms to report instances of noncompliance or undue influence are described in this policy.
Concerns related to the conduct of human subjects research can be reported in a number of ways:
- Contact the Human Research Protection Office through firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Contact the Education and Compliance Office for Human Subject Research by calling 412-383-1711;
- Utilize the University of Pittsburgh AlertLine (1-866-858-4456), which is a toll-free telephone line (see additional information about AlertLine below).
If any HRPO staff member, IRB member, Vice Chair or member of the research community believes s/he has been subjected to undue influence, they should report this matter to the IRB Chair, who will investigate the matter and, in collaboration with the Vice Provost for Research Protections (the Institutional Official), will take appropriate action. If an HRPO staff member or Vice Chair feels that the IRB Chair is responsible for the undue influence, this matter will be brought directly to the attention of the Vice Provost for Research Protections, who will investigate the matter and take appropriate action. If the Vice Provost for Research Protections is responsible for the undue influence, the IRB Chair will bring this matter to the attention of the Provost, who will investigate the matter and take appropriate action.
University of Pittsburgh employees can use AlertLine to report certain irregular or troublesome workplace issues so that they can be investigated and resolved.
AlertLine is available to all full-time and part-time faculty, staff, and research associates at the Pittsburgh and regional campuses and other off-campus work locations. Callers can remain anonymous. The line answers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be accessed from any telephone in North America, including pay telephones.
Issues that can be reported on the AlertLine include:
- Financial improprieties, including fraud, theft, falsification of records, and improper use of University assets.
- Human resource matters, including perceived harassment, discrimination, misconduct, and other workplace issues.
- Research compliance concerns, including conflict of interest, improper charging of grants, violation of human subject research regulations, and violation of other research compliance rules.
- Other legal/regulatory matters, such as those pertaining to environmental health and safety.
Employees who report concerns are protected by the “Whistleblower Law” of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For further information about this law see the Staff Handbook (http://www.hr.pitt.edu/staff-handbook/general-policies#Whistleblower_Laws).