GUIDANCE FOR UN VOLUNTEERS ON REPORTING MISCONDUCT
If you are witness to or a victim of any kind of misconduct during your assignment as a UN Volunteer, there is a system in place to help you understand your rights and how we can support you.

If you’re unsure whether to report something or want to explore your options before making a complaint, click and read through the sections below to understand available possibilities.
WHAT IS MISCONDUCT?
Misconduct is the failure a UN Volunteer or otherwise to follow the principles and values of...
HARMING PEOPLE, PROPERTY OR THE ORGANISATION IS MISCONDUCT
Allegations, such as these eight, are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
Misconduct that one may experience could be but is not limited to:
01

DISCRIMINATING

Misconduct includes being unfair or subjecting personal prejudices on others based on:
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Language, race, nationality
  • Ethnic or social origin
  • Or sexual orientation and more reasons
02

ANY FORM OF HARASSMENT

  • At workplace (and outside of work) including sexual harassment.
  • Improper, unwelcome, offensive and humiliating behaviour is banned.
03

ABUSE OF AUTHORITY

Misusing power, seniority or influence over any other person.
  • Blackmailing or threatening.
  • Being forceful, offensive, hostile or intimidating.
  • Influencing the victim's career or assignment conditions.
04

BREAKING LAWS

Criminal behaviour is misconduct, including:
  • Drug or drunk driving.
  • Selling, smuggling or owning illegal goods.
  • Committing a fraud, theft or deceptive scam.
05

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OR ABUSE

Making sexual comments or threats. Or forcing someone vulnerable to do a sexual act, perhaps for financial, social or political benefits.

“sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. Similarly, the term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions

06

MISLEADING THE UN

Lying, out loud or in writing, is misconduct. For example:
  • Hiding or forging information to receive benefits and entitlements.
  • Submitting fake medicals bills for reimbursement.
  • Keeping facts to create a false impression of the truth to benefit from it.
07

MISUSING OFFICIAL UN PROPERTY

Such as:
  • Files and data (electronic or paper).
  • Assets and equipment.
08

BREAKING RULES AND REGULATIONS

Violating UNV Code of Conduct and/or administrative rules from UNV and host entity.

Read this document to understand what constitutes medical insurance fraud and how to prevent it.

Find answers to your questions on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) here. Know the rules, there is no excuse.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO:

01. REPORT

any incident that you deem to be misconduct to the duly authorized investigative body of your Host Entity.

02. BE PROTECTED FROM RETALIATION

if you report instances of misconduct or cooperate with an investigation.

03. GUIDANCE AND TRAINING

on the UNV Code of Conduct and other regulations.

04. COUNSELLING SERVICES

see below.

5. CONSULT THE UN OMBUDSMAN

to informally resolve an issue.

HOW TO REPORT MISCONDUCT?
01. BE AWARE ❱

BE INFORMED

about what misconduct is and know all your rights and obligations. (see above)

YOUR HOST ENTITY HAS THE PRIMARY OBLIGATION

to provide relevant information and support to UN Volunteers in responding to allegations of misconduct.

YOU WILL BE PROTECTED FROM RETALIATION

after making a complaint in good faith of any breaches of UNV Code of Conduct or other misconducts at UNV or your host entity.

Keep a detailed record of all misconduct related incidents (save screenshots, files, notes on what you saw or heard). It will help you provide detailed account of the incident during investigation.

02. ACT ❱

Reporting misconduct either orally or in writing to the authorized investigative body of your host entity is your duty as a UN Volunteer. Or try your supervisor or HR person at your host entity as per their guidelines. As the avenues of reporting vary somewhat between host entities, when you’re ready, please go to your host entity’s website and look for:

A TELEPHONE NUMBER

If your host entity offers a hotline, please call. Put in your complaint with their investigations team and get support, such as for sexual harassment.

A BUTTON TO UPLOAD A LETTER

Or a comment box, a form or an email address. Most host entities offer online ways to report your complaint in writing.

OR INSTRUCTIONS

on how and who to report misconduct to at your host entity. Some prefer you contact your supervisor first.

BELOW YOU CAN FIND THE DIFFERENT BODIES AND MEANS IN THE PROCESS OF REPORTING MISCONDUCT:

PRIMARY

• Office of the Ombudsman
If you are not sure which mechanism to use to report retaliation, misconduct or related matters, this office can guide you and provide you with relevant information on how best to approach this and whom to contact.

• Your supervisor / HR Focal Point - for advice

RESIDUAL

• UNV’s Service Desk at support@unv.org (although this is limited as Host Entity is primary responsible party)

PRIMARY

• Your organization’s duly authorized investigative body

• Sexual harassment hotline or other such hotlines of your host entity (where applicable)

• The Ethics office of your host entity

For protection against retaliation after reporting misconduct

REMEMBER, IF YOU DISCOVER OR HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF WRONGDOING, YOU SHOULD:

BE PROMPT AND TIMELY

Report misconduct, in as much detail as you can, either orally or in writing, to the duly authorized investigative body of your host entity. Or in cases where appropriate your supervisor

BE TRUTHFUL

Explain the whole story to the best of your knowledge. If you’re unsure, it’s best to say so.

Lying about misconduct is misconduct and disciplinary measures may be imposed.

BE CONFIDENTIAL

Keep your allegations to yourself, as much as you can, even when our investigation’s finished and the case is closed.

BE GUIDED

If you feel that disclosing information to your host entity could adversely affect you. Or the wrongdoing involves a direct supervisor, then you may seek informal guidance from the United Nations Ombudsman for the United Nations Funds and Programmes on how to best proceed.

03. SEEK HELP ❱

01. Feel safe, protected from retaliation by the ethics office of your host entity

You’re protected when you report misconduct or help an audit or investigation by the Secretary-General’s bulletin ST/SGB/2005/21 and host entity policies.

Any threats to you, personally or professionally, will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly. Talk to the host entity Ethics Office if you are concerned or feel at all in danger.

02. Need help overcoming your ordeal? Speak to councillors as a family or ask for support. When you’ve reported misconduct, contact:

Here’s the details you’ll need:

THE AMERICAS & EUROPE

Ms Anne-Marie Serrano Banquet

 anne-marie.serranobanquet@un.org

 +1-917-209-4615

THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA

Mr Abdalla Mansour Amer

 mansouramer@un.org

 +1-917-402-5182

ASIA & PACIFIC

Ms Kalhari Hewage

 hewagem@un.org

 +1-917-209-9047

WEST & CENTRAL AFRICA

Ms Djeneba Coulibaly

 colibaly45@un.org

 +1-646-659-5649

EAST & SOUTH AFRICA

Mr Sohail Ali

 ali173@un.org

 +1-718-663-1520

OR CONTACT HEADQUARTERS FOR HELP

STRUGGLING TO GET HELP?

If you’re not getting the advice you need from your host entity or Ombudsman, as a last resort, you may contact UNV’s Service Desk at support@unv.org. Get in touch with your questions about reporting misconduct.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE ACCUSED OF MISCONDUCT?

01

You’re told there’s been a complaint and the disciplinary process has started.

02

If you’re put on temporary administrative leave while you’re investigated, you’ll earn entitlements (payments, time off) as usual.

03

UNV Advisory Panel on Disciplinary Measures and Claims reviews and makes recommendations on reports of misconduct.

04

UNV Executive Coordinator decides.

You’re found guilty of misconduct and given a disciplinary measure
Perhaps you will be:
  • Dismissed from your assignment with immediate effect.
  • Early separated and sent home early. Barred from UN Volunteer assignments for 10 years.
  • Excluded for 5 years, from UNV Talent Pool, at the end of your current contract.
  • Banned from having your contract extended.
  • Or sent a formal letter of censure detailing our disappointment and disapproval.
You’re proven innocent
You will be exonerated.

The more serious the nature of misconduct, the more severe the disciplinary sanctions. If you are found guilty of misconduct, you will face disciplinary measures and may never work for the UN again. In case of sexual misconduct, you may be added to a UN database barring future UN Volunteer assignments as well as employment with any UN entity. Information about your disciplinary record may be shared with other UN entities and national authorities.

It is the Duty of UNV to inform all UN Volunteers about the administrative consequences of committing misconduct while on assignment. UNV hopes to prevent misconduct taking place by fully informing you of these consequences and of the process you would have to undergo.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 29 June 2021, 9:58 AM