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Ethics office

Protection Against Retaliation

Requesting Protection Against Retaliation

Retaliation means any harmful action threatened or taken because an individual reported misconduct or cooperated with an official audit or investigation. While staff members may contact the Ethics Office if they fear retaliation, staff only become eligible for protection once retaliation occurs.

Staff members wishing to request protection against retaliation should complete and return the Ethics Office’s Protection Against Retaliation Form to the Ethics Office.

Upon receiving a protection against retaliation request, the Ethics Office conducts a preliminary review to determine whether a complainant engaged in a protected activity (i.e. reported misconduct or cooperated with an audit or investigation) and, if so, whether the protected activity can be linked to the alleged retaliation.  The Ethics Office may request additional documentation from the complainant, or seek the complainant’s consent to obtain additional case information from third parties.  The preliminary review includes an analysis of the relevant rules, regulations, and administrative issuances that have a bearing on the case. 

If the Ethics Office determines a prima facie case of retaliation on the basis of its preliminary review, the case is referred to the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) for investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the Ethics Office conducts an independent assessment of the investigation report and supporting evidence, and makes a final determination on whether retaliation has been established.

Staff members are notified in writing as to the outcome of all protection against retaliation requests submitted to the Ethics Office.

All protection against retaliation requests received by the Ethics Office, and all communications with retaliation complainants, are kept strictly confidential. A staff  member’s case will not be discussed with others without prior permission. Seeking help from the Ethics Office does not prevent staff from approaching other UN bodies such as the United Nations Dispute Tribunal or the Management Evaluation Unit in relation to violations of the protection against retaliation policy.

To contact us, please call our Helpline: +1-917-367-9858 or email us: ethicsoffice@un.org.

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