The Truth About Whistleblowing, Confidentiality, Retaliation, and You

by: NorthWhistle

Not sure whether an incident applies to the whistleblowing policy, or do you fear disclosure to the person you’re reporting within your previous, current, or future organization?

The fear of being disclosed to one or several individuals you want to report for misconduct is the most common objection to why people don’t want to blow the whistle. 

You should be aware that the whistleblowing laws prohibit your employer from taking adverse actions if you participate in raising concerns of suspected misconduct. The law protects you against getting laid off, demoted, disciplined, threatened, harassed, mocked, falsely accused, and many more actions.

Knowing when and why you should blow the whistle is crucial for you as an individual, your colleagues, and your workplace as a whole. 

Let’s hit it off by diving into some typical subjects of whistleblowing:

  • Bribery, corruption, fraud, bullying, usage of drugs, etc
  • Discriminations and harassment based on sexuality, gender, age, religions, and disabilities
  • Workplace safety deficiencies
  • Sharing confidential information

Sometimes an employee believes they are blowing the whistle when, in fact, their complaint is a personal grievance. Workers who make a disclosure under an organisation’s whistleblowing policy should believe that they are acting in the public interest. This means in particular that personal grievances and complaints are not usually covered by whistleblowing law. It is important that any policy, procedures, and other communications make this clear.

Now you have information about subjects that apply to the whistleblowing law and your protection as a whistleblower. Your safety in a process like this is essential, and you need to know that you are entitled to making demands that make you feel safer, such as:

  • Being completely anonymous
  • Choose who should or should not see your filed report – serious companies should have an audit log that shows who has seen a reported issue. You can demand to see that the person you want to exclude hasn’t seen it.
  • All types of files you add to the case are anonymous because some metadata could reveal the individual who filed the report.
  • Your organization must have an established text- and voice channel that distorts your voice and encrypts numbers when you file reports. Otherwise – it cannot keep your identity hidden.

After you have raised an issue, know that the law entitles you to receive feedback within 7 days from the date you filed the report and that you get a thorough response within 3 months. 

Suppose you feel that your company doesn’t take your case seriously or doesn’t take proper actions. In that case, you’re allowed to take this further and reach out to a third party, such as a private lawyer or media, while maintaining protection that is in regulation by European law.

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