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Whistleblowing

Author: David Lewis
US Consultant: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

Summary

  • Federal and state legislation protect certain workers who make a protected disclosure regarding an unlawful activity in good faith to a specified recipient. See What Is Whistleblowing?
  • Having effective arrangements for reporting concerns about wrongdoing is likely to encourage the supply of information about organizational problems, deter external disclosures and help the employer to demonstrate that it had adequate procedures in place. See Benefits of Whistleblowing.
  • Employers should create a culture where employees feel confident that their concerns will be dealt with appropriately and do not fear retaliation. Support from senior management for the organization's whistleblowing arrangements is vital to creating such a culture. See Creating a Culture of Openness.
  • The organization's whistleblowing policy and procedure should set out the principles on which it is based, who can invoke it, the types of wrongdoing that should be reported and the amount of evidence that a reporter should have before raising a concern. Employers should widely disseminate the policy to ensure that workers can identify the policy easily. See Content of the Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure.
  • Workers should be encouraged to raise concerns about wrongdoing with their supervisor, but employers should make alternative reporting procedures available as well. See Recipients of Concerns.
  • Employers should keep a central record of disclosures made through the whistleblowing policy and procedure. See Recordkeeping.
  • Employers should explain that they will maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent legally possible, but that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Multiple avenues for making disclosures, including avenues for anonymous reporting, may be provided. Reports made anonymously must not be ignored. See Confidentiality; Anonymity.
  • When a disclosure is made, the employer should conduct an initial screening process, conduct an investigation if appropriate, provide feedback to the reporter and consider whether or not to notify the alleged wrongdoer of the investigation. See Investigations.
  • Employers should train all workers to ensure that they are familiar with the organization's whistleblowing arrangements. Individuals who receive and process concerns require additional training. See Training.
  • Regular monitoring and review of the organization's whistleblowing arrangements will help to ensure that they are working effectively. See Monitoring and Review.