External whistleblower report

External whistleblower report

Olga Hellmann |

It is crucial for the employer to encourage whistleblowing as a top-of-mind means to report wrongdoing. But what happens when an employee reports the issue to someone else other than their employer?

There may be several reasons for not blowing the whistle directly to one’s employer:

  1. the organization does not have any reporting channel available for whistleblowers
  2. the whistleblower is not aware of the existing reporting channels within the organization
  3. the whistleblower fears the potential consequences of reporting the issue
  4. the whistleblower doubts that any reasonable action is to be taken after they report the issue

There are some certain mitigating actions an employer may take to address the reasons listed above. Having clear and well-communicated policies and procedures available help encourage reporting issues internally. Another crucial factor is the culture with the organization - it has to support transparency and trust.

If the organization fails to provide and communicate a clear reporting channel for whistleblowers and does not employ the culture welcoming transparency and trust, employees may choose to approach external bodies with their concerns. These may include social or traditional media, market regulators or governing bodies.

An employee that reports to the media may expect to lose their whistleblowing law rights. There are specific circumstances when an employee can go to the media without

losing their rights. They must be sure that any information they report are substantially true. Also, it is possible that the whistleblower chooses to go to the media if they reasonably believe that their employer may subject them to “detriment” or destroy the evidence if they report internally.

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