Whistleblower Act -Definition protection and Rights
What is whistleblowing? Importance and benefits of whistle blowing policy in Business
Whistleblowing is very essential tool in an organization. All organization expects honesty from its employees. The employees should be dedicated to the organization’s mission and success. By placing whistle blowing culture, the organization promotes effective and clear communication system. The whistleblowing policy is intended to encourage employees to make good faith towards company’s goal/objectives and good will. The Whistleblowing policy in business is very important in order to prevent any kind of wrong doing within the organization. The importance of whistleblowing policy is to encourage employees to come forward and raise concerns.
What is Whistleblowing and how to define Whistleblower?
Whistleblowing in Business is when an employee voices their concern or raise voice against any wrong doing, illegal act or practice that is happening which may harm the company business or reputation defined as whistleblowing. The person or employee who raises his voice is defined as whistleblower.
The wrongdoing can be in the form of any misconduct, fraud, misrepresentation of data, any kind of discrimination etc. The whistle-blowing is done to protect an institution’s or a company's reputation. The Companies now motivate their employees to blow the whistle in case of any illegal activity or wrongdoing which may risk the prestige of the company or put the organization in trouble. Whistleblowing sometime becomes a problem issue as well for the employee therefore most of them avoids coming in front or get noticed.
Why employee hesitate to blowing a whistle
There are certain reasons because of them, employee hesitate to blow the whistle, the reasons are
•Loss of job or Transfer
•No increment given
•Fear of Losing Friendly relations
Difference between a complaint and Whistle blowing:
A complaint is related to an employee on individual basis for instance rude behavior by the boss.
Whistle blowing is a process of raising a concern against any wrong doings or illegal activity, which may affect the organization badly.
A complaint is generally made by an individual who feels that they have been wronged in some way. This can cover a multitude of issues; poor service, faulty product, attitude of a staff member, low standards of quality, etc.
Whistleblowing however can only refer to the act of escalating a genuine concern about the wellbeing and safety of at least one individual.
A complaint is often made by someone who has a vested interest in the issue at hand – often it is themselves who has been treated incorrectly or who has received a sub-standard level of service.
when someone blows the whistle they are raising a concern about danger or illegality that affects others
Need of Whistle blowing policy in the workplace:
Whistleblowing policy is defined as raising concern against any wrong doings or any illegal act in the workplace. This policy also provides the opportunity to enhance the employee belongingness and togetherness for the organization. The whistleblowing reasons can be many such as fraud, illegal activity or misrepresentation of facts or documents. The whistleblower policy prevents both the employer and employee from the risk or Losses. That is why whistle blowing policy is in place in the most of the organizations.
Types of whistleblowing
There are two types of Whistle Blowing :
An employee raises concern over any wrong doing within the organization. The reasons can wary and can be indiscipline, disobedience, improper of mis conduct etc.
When any illegal or wrong doing against the company or against the management of the company is raised outside the organization it is known as external whistle blowing
Open whistle blowing: A whistleblowing is considered as open when the identity of whistleblower is disclosed clearly. Personal: When an whistleblowing affects any individual it is called personal whistleblowing Impersonal: When a whistleblowing process harms a third party it is known as impersonal whistle-blowing Government: When any wrongdoing or illegal activity is conducted by government officials, it is known as government whistleblowing. Corporate: When any wrong doing is done in business it is known as corporate whistle blowing.
How to promote whistleblowing culture:
1. Open door culture: Whistle blowing policy is successful only when it has an open door culture. Any employee can raise their concern against any wrongdoing, illegal activities or malpractices without any fear. The senior management must put on best efforts to build an ethical and open door culture in an organization. When any concern is raised by an employee in open door culture, it removes the negativity attached to whistleblowing
2. Right Training: Employees should be trained to know their rights and duties on whistleblowing and its procedure. The Employee must be trained and educate enough of various ways and aspect of whistle blowing so that they can raise concern freely against any wrong doing happening in an organization. A company should have policies to protect whistleblower and the same should be well communicated to employee as well. Proper training should be imparted to employees so that they can raise concern with their immediate manager or HOD and never hesitate to blow the whistle. They should be trained to differentiate between grievance and whistle blowing.
3. Involvement of all stakeholders: All the stakeholders, vendors, contractors, suppliers etc. should be given visibility on the whistle blower policy. They must be clearly aware of the whistleblowing procedure to raise any concern. The policy should be made available on the company's website.
4. Need to Act: Whistle blowing policy and procedure are not something that is just for listening. Appropriate action should be taken once the compliant received. There is the most critical gap between a problem raised by an employee and the time taken to act. This gap should be reduced to make whistleblowing policy successful.
5. Commitment: Organization should show commitment towards building a culture wherein every effort is made to make the whistleblowing policy on ethical grounds and ensure promoting it as and required.
6. Communication: Official communication can be done through inter office memos, newsletters and presentation to promote whistleblowing within the employee of the company.
7. Proper investigation and follow up: Whistle blowing concern should be taken care properly. In case of any delay the concern loses its meaning and the organization loses its credibility. The Managers therefore should take prompt action and report to Management or The Audit Committee (if any).
Benefits of whistleblowing:
•Increased security of organization: By implementing whistle blowing process and procedure in an organization where employees fear of being caught and punished hence preventing any wrong doings in an organization.
•Increases the image of the organization: Company’s commitment towards following the ethics and code of conduct increases the image and reputation of the organization outside.
•Advance the management: The whistle blowing policy ensures that the Management which adheres to moral standards will be successful always.
Barriers to whistleblowing:
1. Resistance from Senior management: Many organizations have whistleblowing policy but it is not followed and implemented well within the organization.
2. Cultural Obstacle: This type of obstacle arises when the environment of the organisation does not motivate employees to raise their concern fearlessly.
3. Employee union resistance: Where the trade unions are functional in the organizations they generally do not promote voice raising against any breach of contract and conduct.
4. Employee Fear of Retaliation: employees are scared and hesitate in reporting any whistleblowing activity as people in higher authority may take revenge on them.