The growth of whistleblowing began with the global financial crisis of 2007/2008, which reawakened the globe to the need for corporate corruption to be addressed.
Whistleblowing is a word used when a person, generally an employee, discloses knowledge or activity within a private, public, or government institution that is unlawful, illicit, or fraudulent. Making a disclosure, also known as blowing the whistle, is a legal term for this action. Whistleblowers are usually closely linked to the organization, usually as employees, although they can also be customers or suppliers.
The following are examples of whistleblower complaints:
1. Corruption or fraud, for example, are examples of criminal offenses.
2. Organizations that break the law
3. Errors in the legal system
4. The health and safety of a person are in jeopardy
5. Potential or actual environmental harm
6. Serious types of harassment or discrimination
Whistleblowing has been shown to be one of the most successful methods for preventing and detecting fraud, corruption, and other wrongdoing. These revelations have uncovered wrongdoings and fraud, resulting in the saving of millions of dollars in public monies.
Whistleblowers are protected by law in some countries, and corporations have policies in place to protect them. Whistleblowers must feel they are acting in the public interest, and the disclosures must indicate past, current, or foreseeable future misconduct to be covered by these laws/policies. For these accusations to be credible, the organization, regulating body, or government must have persuasive proof to back them up, which they can use to establish their claims and hold the corrupt agencies accountable.
Internal or external whistleblowers can opt to bring information or allegations to light. By establishing clear procedures for dealing with whistleblowing, an organization not only shows that it values information brought to management’s attention, but it also fosters an open, transparent, and safe working environment in which employees feel free to speak up. Whistleblowing policies are not needed by law for organizations.
Most whistleblowers are located internally, and they use anonymous reporting systems like hotlines to expose wrongdoings against a coworker or superior. External whistleblowers may contact lawyers, legal enforcement, or the media to report the wrongdoings.
Many people are hesitant to report wrongdoings when they notice them, not only for fear of reprisal, but also for fear of losing their relationships at work and outside of work. They put their careers, livelihoods, and, in some cases, personal safety at stake. They often face reprisal from their employers who may have suffered reputational damage because of the whistle being blown. Whistleblowers are sometimes portrayed as noble martyrs in the name of public good and organizational responsibility.
There are three types of reasons why people do not disclose corruption:
• Fear of the ramifications (financial, legal, and reputational)
• Doubt that anything will be done
• Uncertainty over where to report, how to report, and to whom to report
The fact that whistleblowing can be justified on occasion does not entail a moral or legal need to act.
For whistleblowing to work well, it must be backed by the following.
• A comprehensive legal structure to safeguard whistleblowers from retaliation.
• Public awareness: effective communication and staff consultation
• Effective policing
• Organizations should have strong and transparent internal policies.
• Appropriate systems in place to guarantee that disclosures are handled correctly and thoroughly examined.
• Encouragement from the public to report wrongdoings
Article written by Oreoluwa Adegoke, CFE