ALERTLINE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Alertline – The System
We work with a third party, Global Compliance, which provides Alertline which can be reached by web or phone: https://gpreinc.alertline.com/gcs/welcome or 877-874-8416
Alertline is a comprehensive and confidential reporting tool to assist our Company to address fraud, abuse, misconduct and any other violations of laws or policies in the workplace, all while cultivating a positive work environment.
Why do we need a system like this?
- We believe that our employees STRIVE to do their best and do the right thing. By creating open channels of communication, we promote a positive work environment and maximize productivity
- An effective reporting system will augment our other efforts to foster a culture of integrity and ethical decision-making.
- Publicly traded companies are expected, and required by law, to have an anonymous reporting vehicle with access by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.
Reporting – General
May I report using either the Internet or the telephone?
Yes. With Alertline, you have the ability to file a confidential, anonymous report via the telephone or the Internet.
What type of situations should I report?
The Alertline system is designed for employees to report any violation of our Code of Conduct, fraud, abuse, misconduct and any other violations of laws or policies in the workplace or other concern you may have.
If I see a violation, shouldn't I just report it to my manager, security, or human resources and let them deal with it?
When you observe some behavior that you believe violates our Code of Conduct, we expect you to report it. Ideally, you should bring any concerns forward to your direct supervisor, or other member of your management team. We recognize, however, that there may be circumstances when you are not comfortable reporting the issue in this manner. It is for such circumstances that we have partnered with Alertline. We would rather you report anonymously than keep the information to yourself.
Why should I report what I know? What’s in it for me?
We all have the right to work in a positive environment and with that right comes the responsibility of acting in an ethical manner and letting the appropriate people know if someone is not acting appropriately. By working together, we can maintain a culture of integrity and a healthy and productive environment. Corporate misconduct can threaten the livelihood of the entire company.
Does management really want me to report?
We certainly do. In fact, we need you to report. You know what is going on in our company - both good and bad. You may have initial knowledge of an activity that may be cause for concern. Your reporting can minimize the potential negative impact on the company and our people. Also, offering positive input may help identify issues that can improve corporate culture and performance.
Where do these reports go? Who can access them?
Reports are entered directly on the Alertline secure server to prevent any possible breach in security. Alertline makes these reports available only to the Audit Committee Chairmen of GPRE and GPP, and the General Counsel.
Reporting Security & Confidentiality
It is my understanding that any report I send from a company computer generates a server log that shows every web-site that my PC connects with, and won’t this log identify me as a report originator?
Alertline does not generate or maintain any internal connection logs with IP addresses, so no information linking your PC to Alertline is available. In fact, Alertline is contractually committed not to pursue a reporter’s identity.
If you feel uncomfortable making a report on your work PC, you have the option of using a PC outside our work environment through the Alertline secure website. Again, you can always call the Alertline 24 hours a day.
Can I file a report from home and still remain anonymous?
A report from home, a neighbor’s computer, or any Internet portal will remain secure and anonymous. An Internet portal never identifies a visitor by screen name and the Alertline system strips away Internet addresses so that anonymity is totally maintained. Plus, Alertline is contractually committed not to pursue a reporter’s identity.
I am concerned that the information I provide Alertline will ultimately reveal my identity. How can you assure me that will not happen?
The Alertline system is designed to protect your anonymity, and it directly impacts our reputation. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, you - as a reporting party - need to ensure that the body of the report does not reveal your identity by accident. For example, “From my desk next to Jan Smith…” or “In my 33 years…”
Is the telephone toll-free hot line confidential and anonymous too?
Yes. You will be asked to provide the same information that you would provide in an Internet- based report and an interviewer will type your responses into the Alertline Web site. These reports have the same security and confidentiality measures applied to them during delivery.
What if I want to be identified with my report?
There is a section in the report for identifying yourself, if you wish.
Tips & Best Practices
I am aware of some individuals involved with unethical conduct, but it doesn't affect me. Why should I bother reporting it?
Our company chooses to promote ethical behavior. All unethical conduct, at any level, ultimately hurts the company and all employees, including you. You only have to consider what happened in recent corporate scandals to see the disastrous effects that a seemingly harmless lapse in ethics can have on an otherwise healthy company. So if you know of any incidents of misconduct or ethical violations, it is your duty to report it.
I am not sure if what I have observed or heard is a violation of company policy, or involves unethical conduct, but it just does not look right to me. What should I do?
File a report. Alertline can help you prepare and file your report so it can be properly understood. We'd rather you report a situation that turns out to be harmless than let possible unethical behavior go unchecked because you weren't sure.
What if my boss or other managers are involved in a violation? Won’t they get the report and start a cover-up?
The Alertline system and report distribution are designed so that implicated parties are not notified or granted access to reports in which they have been named.
What if I remember something important about the incident after I file the report? Or what if the company has further questions for me concerning my report?
When you file a report at the Alertline Web site or through the Alertline Call Center, you receive a unique user name and are asked to choose a password. You can return to the Alertline system again either by Internet or telephone and access the original report to add more detail or answer questions if posed by a company General Counsel and add further information that will help resolve open issues. We strongly suggest that you return to the site in the time specified to answer company questions. You and the company now have entered into an “anonymous dialogue” where situations are not only identified but can be resolved, no matter how complex.
Are these follow-ups on reports as secure as the first one?
All Alertline correspondences are held in the same strict confidence as the initial report, continuing under the umbrella of anonymity.