Adam Rivas

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Cefaratti, Meghann

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Accountancy


The Sarbanes Oxley act of 2002 states that all publicly traded companies in the United States must have their audit committees establish a system of receiving, retaining, and treating complaints that are submitted by employees, both anonymous and non-anonymous (2002). However, there are no clear guidelines or rules identified for how these complaints must be handled. Because of this, there have been multiple instances of companies that fail to act upon complaints made by employees, leading to fraud going uninvestigated. This paper examines the best practices and possible guidelines that could be established in order to remedy the failure to act upon complaints. I examined past company employee complaint system structures through document analysis, and I also conducted a semi-structured interview of a group of audit committee members and public auditors, in order to better understand complaint systems. The results of my research will show a clear set of guidelines that public businesses should follow in order to have a more effective employee complaint system. These results also have significance for future research on the complaint systems in the public business spaces by providing some “best practices” to test in the future.


30 pages




Northern Illinois University

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