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Ethics and whistleblowing officer

Ethics and whistleblowing officer

Ethics and whistleblowing officer

Methods of referral to the ethics and whistleblowing officer:

Pursuant to amended Article 28 bis of Law No. 83-634 of 13 July 1983, which provides that "all civil servants have the right to consult a professional ethics officer, responsible for providing any advice that may be useful in complying with ethical obligations and principles (...). This advisory function is without prejudice to the responsibility and prerogatives of the head of department").

Mr Pierre Valleix, the Ethics Officer at Sorbonne University, was appointed on 2 October 2019 by the President of Sorbonne University. He is responsible for advising all public officials at Sorbonne University (civil servants, contract and temporary staff) on the application of ethical principles. 

Any public official may refer an ethical question to him. The ethics officer is subject to the obligations of professional secrecy and discretion. The employer will not be informed of the officer's referral, it remains strictly confidential.

The ethics officer thus appointed may be directly approached by staff:

Note: the e-mail address of the author of the referral must clearly identify the author as an agent of Sorbonne University. The officer may only process referrals coming from an official e-mail address - : @sorbonne-universite.fr

It should be specified that the ethics officer is not supposed to intervene in a dispute between the agent and his administration. His role is limited to ethical principles and he has an advisory role. Thus, he must provide a response and an opinion adapted to the specificities of the service and the missions of the staff members who request it.

Sample questions: 

  • Can I combine my job with another job in the private sector or help my spouse who has a business? 
  • Can I post my political views on social networks? 
  • How to deal with a conflict of interest situation? Can I accept a gift from a company that works with the University? 
  • Can I disobey my supervisor if his instruction is illegal? 

The Ethics Officer is not competent to answer questions relating to career development, organisation of services or working hours.

A few questions of questions that do not fall within the Ethics Officer’s remit:

  • Why haven't I been promoted? 
  • Why haven’t I received a pay raise? 
  • Does my supervisor have the right to refuse an adjustment of my working hours / a promotion / an increase? 
  • Does the behaviour of my colleagues constitute harassment? 

Whistle-blower officer:

The whistle-blower officer is responsible for collecting "alerts" within the framework of the mechanism created by the Act of 9 December 2016 on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernisation of economic life. 

A whistle-blower is an individual who, disinterestedly and in good faith, reveals or reports a crime or offence, a serious and manifest breach of an international commitment duly ratified or approved by France, a unilateral act of an international organisation taken on the basis of such a commitment, a law or regulation, or a serious threat or harm to the general interest, of which he or she has personal knowledge.

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