Whistleblowing is when a person working for a private or public organisation exposes information that is unethical and illegal. Whistleblowing or protected disclosures are a way of reporting corruption, discrimination, malpractices, and other illegal or unethical activities in your organisation. It can be an extremely effective tool in combating fraud and exposing corruption. Organisations that plan for whistleblowing have the advantage. It allows them to be the first to manage an internal crisis, such as a security breach. Also, if your organisation has a positive attitude and takes practical steps to encourage and facilitate whistleblowing this will be of significant benefit to your reputation. Enabling and empowering employees to disclose information safely and without fear of recrimination is an essential step if your organisation is serious about corporate governance.
How do you facilitate responsible whistleblowing?
People are often reluctant to report or disclose information because they are afraid of the consequences or do not know how to report it. You can create an open environment in the workplace by explaining to employees how whistleblowing works and how they are protected. An effective way of doing this is implementing a whistleblowing policy. The aim of this policy is to create a workplace culture that allows employees to disclose certain information in a responsible manner.
We can draft a policy that is tailored to your needs. We have extensive experience in labour law, information security, and data privacy law. We use this experience to balance out all the competing interests of the parties involved to create a policy that answers all the important questions:
- What is a whistleblowing issue?
- When is it legally required to disclose certain information?
- What procedure should an employee follow if they want to disclose something?
- Who can they talk to?
- What happens to whistleblowers?
- What happens if those who speak out are victimised in the workplace?
The law regulating whistleblowing
In an attempt to combat corruption and unethical business practices many countries have developed protected disclosure legislation. For example, in the United Kingdom it is regulated by the Public Interest Disclosure Act of 1998. In South Africa it is regulated by the Protected Disclosure Act 26 of 2000. This legislation often exists alongside related legislation on corruption. For example, in South Africa there is the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
Actions you can take
- Ensure employees know how and when to disclose information by getting us to draft a whistleblowing policy for your organisation.
- Already have a workplace whistleblowing issue? Contact us to help you manage the dispute and competing interests of the parties.
- Need to understand whistleblowing and anti-corruption legislation in your country? We can guide you through the process and draft opinions that deal with your specific concerns.