NIC's Reporting Hotline Policy: Ensuring NIC's Integrity

As Last Amended on July 31, 2017

Table of Contents:

Overview
To Whom The Policy Applies
Reporting Procedure
Reporting Options
Scope of Matters Covered by This Policy
Treatment of Reports
Reporting and Retention of Reports and Investigations


Overview


NIC Inc. and its subsidiaries ("NIC") are committed to upholding stockholders’ trust, employees’ trust, and our government partners’ trust. Stockholders trust us when they purchase our stock, to operate NIC with integrity on their behalf. Employees trust NIC to provide a working environment with integrity. Government partners trust us to build and operate some of their most important functions for citizens and businesses, and choose NIC in part because of its integrity.

 

One way in which NIC upholds trust is by achieving compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.  Employees are directed to report any complaints or concerns regarding accounting and auditing matters, internal accounting controls, fraud, corruption, policy violations, violations of NIC's Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, or illegal activities, whether involving NIC’s employees, its contractors, its suppliers, or NIC’s Officers or Directors.  The Audit Committee of the NIC Board of Directors (the "Audit Committee") will oversee the handling and disposition of employee or external complaints or reports of concerns in these areas. The Audit Committee is made up of independent Directors who are not affiliates or Officers of NIC.


In order to facilitate reporting, the Audit Committee has established procedures for (1) the receipt, retention and handling of reports and (2) the confidential, anonymous submission by employees or others of reports regarding the items listed above.

 

If a Reporting Hotline report is made, it will remain anonymous unless the individual making the report voluntarily provides his or her name. With or without a name, reports are confidential to the extent reasonably possible 

 

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To Whom The Policy Applies


This policy applies to all employees, Officers and Directors of NIC Inc. and any of its divisions or subsidiaries.  It also applies to any other person wishing to report a concern regarding NIC’s employees, Officers and Directors, or those of any of its divisions or subsidiaries.

 

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Reporting Procedure


An employee, Officer or Director of NIC, or any other person, may submit a report through the procedures described in this policy.  These procedures permit those making a report to submit the report anonymously.

 

You have options when raising a concern of issue:

  1. Consider reporting any legal, ethical or business conduct issue to your supervisor.
  2. You may also reach out to NIC’s Human Resources Department, Legal Department or Internal Audit Department.
  3. If you have any concern or issue you feel you cannot discuss with your supervisor or the departments listed above, or if there are any issues that you believe should be brought to the attention of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors, you should use the NIC Reporting Hotline, through one of the ways detailed below (which can also be done anonymously).


Please note: NIC offers both anonymous web form reporting, anonymous USPS mail reporting and anonymous voicemail reporting options through an outside company independent of NIC, called EthicsPoint1. In addition to the ability to receive reports while maintaining complete anonymity of the reporter, it has the ability to receive a response to a reporter’s concern or complaint through the independent company’s anonymous database system, which completely protect the identity of the reporter, while also allowing ​NIC to communicate with the reporter without revealing the reporter’s identity.



1 EthicsPoint is now wholly owned by NAVEX Global.


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Reporting Options


Employees or others may file an anonymous report using any of the following methods:

 

  • Telephone: 855.290.3374.
  • USPS mail:
            EthicsPoint, Inc.
            Attn: NIC Inc. Client Care Specialist
            6000 Meadows Road
            Suite 200
            Lake Oswego OR 97035

The telephone number for EthicsPoint is: 855.290.3374. 

This contact information is also published on the NIC external website, intranet, and on posters located in each physical office.  The telephone will be answered, web form submissions will be answered, and USPS mail will be answered by a trained person not affiliated with NIC, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Persons reporting concerns or complaints by telephone, USPS mail, or web form will be furnished with a “control number” for the report by which communications back and forth can be conducted without compromising anonymity.

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Scope of Matters Covered by These Procedures


Honest errors or mistakes should be reported through the chain of command. The types of things that are important to report, whether through the chain of command or through using the NIC Reporting Hotline, are such things as:

 

  • Fraud or deliberate error in the preparation, evaluation, review or audit of any financial statement of NIC;
  • Fraud or deliberate error in the recording and maintaining of financial records of NIC;
  • Deficiencies in or noncompliance with NIC’s internal accounting controls;
  • Misrepresentation or false statement to or by a senior officer or accountant regarding a matter contained in the financial records, financial reports or audit reports;
  • Deviation from full and fair reporting of NIC’s financial condition; or
  • Deliberate violations of NIC’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, insider trading policy, travel and expense guidelines, or any other NIC policy.

 

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Treatment of Reports


The Audit Committee is responsible for oversight of the report handling process.  Reports will be directed as indicated below based on the type of issue being reported:

 

  • Any matter concerning fraud, accounting or financial reporting matters will be received by the Audit Committee Chair, who is also the Lead Director of NIC’s Board of Directors, and the Vice President of Internal Audit.
  • Any matter concerning a human resources or personnel matter will be received by the NIC Director of Human Resources and NIC’s General Counsel.
  • Any matter concerning a potential violation of NIC policy or law will be received by the NIC Director of Human Resources and NIC’s General Counsel.
  • Any matter concerning NIC operations or other general matters will be received by NIC’s Chief Operating Officer and NIC’s Chief Executive Officer.

 

Procedures are in place for other Board of Directors members to receive and review reports as necessary if the Audit Committee Chair is absent.

 

The individuals listed above, possibly in conjunction with legal counsel, will determine whether the report actually pertains to NIC matters and, when requested by the sender (and when sender’s contact information is provided), will acknowledge receipt of the report to the sender.

 

The review conducted will be confidential to the extent possible consistent with the need to conduct an adequate review.

 

Members of management not involved in the report may be used to assist the committee. Appropriate corrective action will be taken when and as warranted in the judgment of NIC management, or in the case of fraud, accounting, financial reporting or auditing matters, the Audit Committee.


NIC will not discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or in any manner discriminate against any employee in the terms and conditions of employment (or against any other individual) based upon any lawful actions of such employee or person in reporting concerns in good faith to the Audit Committee or to a government or law enforcement agency regarding Accounting or Auditing Matters, or otherwise as specified in Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. As used here, “good faith” means a reasonable belief in the truth and accuracy of the information reported.  

 

 

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Reporting and Retention of Reports and Investigations


NIC’s Vice President of Internal Audit, (who reports directly to the Board of Directors’ Audit Committee), on behalf of the Audit Committee, will be copied on all reports received, will be responsible for maintaining a log of all reports, tracking their receipt, investigation and resolution and will prepare a summary report for the Audit Committee on a quarterly basis, or more frequently if warranted. If there have been no reports, the quarterly report will specifically state that fact. Copies of reports and the log may be maintained in accordance with a document retention policy.  If any report involves a concern with any member of Internal Audit, the Vice President of Internal Audit will be immediately removed from the report access listing and the report will be handled by the Audit Committee Chair and the Chief Executive Officer.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. Question: What concerns are covered by the Policy? 

 
Answer: You may report any suspected fraud, violations of NIC’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, or violations of any other NIC Policy through the Reporting Hotline.  If the matter relates to benefits, human resources matters or other general workplace inquiries, you should consider contacting your supervisor or human resources representative as a first step.

 

2. Question: I overheard a male employee repeatedly making inappropriate comments to a female employee. Should I report this through the hotline? 

 

Answer: If you feel uncomfortable reporting this to your supervisor (particularly if the supervisor was involved), your supervisor’s supervisor or to NIC’s Human Resources department, or you otherwise fear that the reporting would endanger your position, then you should report this conduct immediately through the hotline.

 

3. Question: I know that my supervisor is submitting expense reports that include items that were actually purchased for my supervisor’s spouse.  I know that the items were for personal use and were not authorized, but the total of the items is minimal. What should I do?

 

Answer: Use of NIC funds for the benefit of non-employees, to the extent not authorized by NIC policy or other action of NIC, is a violation of NIC policy and is theft, regardless of the amount involved.  You should report this behavior immediately, and given that the individual implication is your supervisor, going to HR, your supervisor’s supervisor or using NIC hotline are all acceptable methods to communicate your concern.

 

4. Question: I am an employee in the financial department, and I have knowledge of a financial matter that was not included in NIC’s financial reports.  In my opinion, leaving this information out of the financial reports means that the financial reports do not fairly and accurately reflect NIC’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.  I previously spoke with my supervisor about this issue, but my supervisor did not agree with my assessment.  Since I already brought this up to my supervisor, have I fulfilled my obligations as an employee, or should I report this matter?  In addition, if I need to report this information, do I have to go to my supervisor’s supervisor, or can I use NIC hotline? 

 

Answer: It is possible that your supervisor took your concern to his or her supervisor, the Chief Financial Officer and/or the NIC Disclosure Committee, and that they reached a conclusion that was different than yours. Regardless, if you have concerns that the result is inaccurate financial reporting, you should report the matter and at least receive confirmation that the decision to not include the information has been made by the individual(s) ultimately charged with making that decision.  You may use NIC hotline to report the matter.

 

5. Question: I work with an independent contractor hired by NIC on a sensitive, non-public matter.  I overheard the independent contractor making statements over the telephone regarding a sensitive, non-public matter to someone who was obviously a family member or close friend (i.e., someone not involved with the matter or NIC).  Since this individual is not an employee, I don’t have a reporting obligation, right? 

 

Answer: Wrong.  NIC policies often implicate non-employees, including independent contractors and other third parties. The best rule of thumb is that if an employee doing what the independent contractor/third party is doing would be a violation of NIC policy, then it is likely that the independent contractor/third party is likewise violating NIC policy.  In this particular instance, the independent contractor is violating NIC’s policy regarding confidential information, as well as the NIC Inc. Trading Policies and Disclosure of Non-Public Information document.  This should be reported immediately, using the procedure set forth in this policy.

 

Disclaimer: The information posted is as of the date indicated. We are under no obligation to update or remove outdated information other than as required by applicable law or regulation.