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Whistleblower Act -Definition protection and Rights

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Meaning of whistleblowing and whistleblower
When a former or existing employee voice their concern against any wrongdoing happening in the workplace within organisation is known as whistleblowing and the employee who shares the concern is known 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 a company's reputation. Employees are motivated by the company to blow the whistle in case they come across any illegal activity to prevent the company from the risk of losing its prestige.
 
However there are certain reasons because of them, employee hesitate to raise concern, the reasons are 
 
1. Threat to life
2. Loss of Job
3. Retaliation
4. Increment  and compensation loss
5. Breach of friendly relations.

Difference between a complaint and blowing a whistle:

The difference between a complaint and blowing a whistle is that a complaint is related to an employee on an individual basis. It can be anything in the form of grievances like something which is affecting the employee personally like rude behaviour by the boss whereas whistleblowing is raising a concern which might affect the employer or any third party. What all is covered under whistle blowing activities are explained in whistleblowing policy of organisation .
 
Need  for Whistleblowing  policy in the Workplace:

Whistleblowing as defined above occurs when an employee raises the concern against any wrongdoing happening in the workplace. The practice against which concern is raised can be anything illegal, misrepresentation, Fraud etc. With whistleblowing both the employer and employee workings are at risk, that is why there is whistleblowing policy in place.

Types of  whistleblowers as per whistleblowing policy 

a. Internal: An employee or person who raises the concern or any wrongdoing within the organisation like indiscipline, disobedience, improper conduct etc. 
b. External:  Whenever any wrongdoing or any wrong conduct is raised outside the organisation like media or public agency, it is known as  External whistleblowing. 
c. Open whistleblowing: A whistleblowing activity is said to be open when the identity of whistleblower is disclosed clearly. 
d. Personal: When any whistleblowing affects any person or an employee it is called personal whistleblowing.
e. Impersonal:When whistleblowing harms other's it is known as impersonal whistleblowing. 
f. Government:When any wrongdoing or any illegal act is done by government officials, it is known as government whistleblowing. 
g. Corporate: When any wrongdoing or illegal act is done in a business corporate, it is said to be corporate whistleblowing. 

 

Whistleblower protection act  2011:

Whistleblower protection act 2011 is an act of the parliament of India which gives complete guidance to investigate any complaint raised against an illegal activity or any wrongdoing in government bodies, projects or offices etc. The wrongdoing can be of any kind of fraud, fraudulent, corruption or any kind of mismanagement. The act was passed in loksabha on 27th December 2011. The bill became an act when it was passed by rajyasabha on 21st February 2014 and received the president assent on 9th may 2014.

How to promote whistleblowing culture:

1. Open door culture: Whistleblowing incorporate  is successful only when it has an open door culture wherein an employee can voice their concern against any wrongdoing without any fear of retaliation. In this regard, senior management needs to take care that they "walk the talk".  Senior management must put in best efforts to make sure they build an ethical and open culture in their organisations. When any concern raised by an employee is discussed with good faith, it removes the negativity attached to whistleblowing.
 
2. Right Training: It is necessary that employees are trained right on whistleblowing aspects. They must be trained on how concern can be raised? How can a company protect whistleblower? As the meaning of whistleblowing policy, an employee is supposed to blow the whistle against any wrongdoing happening around and training must be given to employees that they raise concern with their immediate manager and HOD with no fear. Employees must also be trained on the difference between the grievance and whistleblowing. Managers need training in the way of dealing with the concern raised by the employee.
 
3. Involvement of all stakeholders: All the stakeholders, vendors, contractors, suppliers etc. should be given visibility on the whistle blower policy. They must be aware of the whistleblowing mechanism to raise any concern. The policy should be made available on the company's website.
 
4. Need to Act:  Whistleblowing should not be seen as something for just to listen. It must be acted upon well. 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 minimal to make whistleblowing a success in corporate.  
 
5. Commitment:  Organisation should show commitment towards building a culture wherein every effort is being made for commitment towards ethical behaviour and promotion of whistleblower policy. 
 
6. Communication : Communication should be made through memos, newsletter as well as the presentation to personnel etc. 
 
7. Proper investigation and  follow up :In case whistleblowing concern are not taken care of properly for eg. If there is any inaction or very delayed action on the area of concern against the norms specified  in.
8. whistleblowing process the concern losses its meaning and the organisation its credibility,therefore, manager must act promptly and they must report it immediately to the human resource department or the audit committee.
 
Whistleblower examples:
 
Whistleblower example varies from corruption, harassment,and fraud. There are various examples of whistleblower cases. It can be a misrepresentation of data, any kind of discrimination on the basis of colour, caste, creed, race etc. and cases of sexual harassment.

Benefits of whistleblowing:

  1. Increased security of organisation: with the implementation of whistleblowing policy  it is generally seen that employees fearbeing caught by others prevent them from doing any wrongful activity.
  2. Increases the image of the organisation:  Company’s commitment towards following the ethical code of conduct increases the image of the organisation outside.
  3. Advance the management:  Ensure that management which considers about moral standard will be successful always.

Barriers to whistle blowing:

1. Resistance from Senior management:  Most of the organisations have whistleblowing policy and processes in writing but it's not well followed and implemented within the organisation. 
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: In the organisation where trade unions etc are functional they generally do not promote voice raising against breach of the code of conduct and it is more common when unions are consulted actively. 
4. Employee Fear of Retaliation Employee hesitate in reporting any whistleblowing event as people in higher authority may attack them and take revenge of any sort.
 
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