Anti-bribery and Corruption Training Overview: Bribery and corruption are serious offences that can...
What is Whistleblowing?
What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is the act of disclosing information about wrongdoing within an organization to people who can do something about it. This can be done internally, to people within the organization (such as a supervisor or human resources department), or externally, to people outside of the organization (such as the media or law enforcement).
Where did whistleblowing originate?
Whistleblowing has a long history, dating back to ancient times. The Old Testament Book of Ezekiel contains a passage that some scholars believe refers to an early form of whistleblowing: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, warn them from me.”
More modern examples of whistleblowing include Nathan Hale, who famously warned the Continental Army about British plans during the Revolutionary War; Mark Felt, who helped bring down President Nixon by disclosing the Watergate scandal to journalists; and Chelsea Manning, who leaked classified information about American military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Types of whistleblowers.
There are two main types of whistleblowers: internal and external. Internal whistleblowers are people who disclose information about wrongdoing to someone within the organization, such as a supervisor or human resources department. External whistleblowers are people who take their information outside of the organization, to people such as the media or law enforcement.
Reasons for whistleblowers to come forward.
There are many reasons why someone might choose to blow the whistle on wrongdoing. Some whistleblowers do it because they believe it is the right thing to do; they see something happening that they believe is wrong, and they want to stop it. Others may do it for personal gain, such as to get revenge on a boss or co-worker. Some whistleblowers may also come forward in the hope of receiving a financial reward.
The impact of whistleblowing.
Whistleblowing can have a significant impact, both positive and negative. On the positive side, it can help to expose and correct wrongdoing that might otherwise go undetected. It can also lead to organizational changes, such as new policies or procedures being put in place to prevent future misconduct. On the negative side, whistleblowing can damage an organization’s reputation and lead to legal problems. It can also be personally devastating for the whistleblower, who may face retaliation from those they have accused.
Protections for whistleblowers:
There are a number of laws in place to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. These laws vary from country to country, but they typically provide some combination of legal protections and financial rewards.
In the United States, the most well-known law protecting whistleblowers is the False Claims Act. This law allows whistleblowers to sue companies or individuals who have defrauded the government. If the case is successful, the whistleblower can collect a portion of the damages as a reward.
Other countries have similar laws in place. For example, in the United Kingdom, whistleblowers can report fraud to the National Fraud Authority. If the case is successful, the whistleblower may be eligible for a cash reward.
Challenges faced by whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers often face a number of challenges. They may be accused of being disloyal or unpatriotic. They may also face retaliation from those they have accused, which can include being fired from their job or blacklisted from future employment. Whistleblowers may also struggle to find support from family and friends, who may not understand why they have chosen to come forward.
Despite the challenges, many whistleblowers believe that it is important to speak out against wrongdoing. As Chelsea Manning said in a statement before her sentencing for leaking classified information: “I have a responsibility to the public... We all have a responsibility.”
Are whistleblowing laws working?
There is no easy answer to this question. Some people feel that the laws are working well, while others believe that they could be improved. One thing that is clear is that whistleblowing can be a very difficult decision for someone to make, and it is often not an easy process.
Can whistleblowing be anonymous?
Yes, in many cases whistleblowers can choose to remain anonymous. This can be done by using a pseudonym or by going through an organization that offers anonymity, such as WikiLeaks.
How does whistleblowing help companies?
Whistleblowing can help companies in a number of ways. It can expose wrongdoing that might otherwise go undetected, and it can help to create a culture of accountability. Whistleblowing can also lead to organizational changes, such as new policies or procedures being put in place to prevent future misconduct.
When is whistleblowing not justified?
There are some situations where whistleblowing may not be justified. For example, if the information that is being disclosed is not true, or if it is not in the public interest to release it.
Which whistleblowing system should you use?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of the wrongdoing and the level of risk that the whistleblower is willing to take.
Other frequently asked questions:
Which whistleblower policy is best?
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on the organization and the specific situation.
Which example illustrates whistleblowing?
One example of whistleblowing is when an employee reports misconduct to their employer. This can be done through an internal reporting system, or it can be done externally to a regulator or law enforcement agency.
Which legislation covers whistleblowing?
There is a range of legislation that covers whistleblowing. This includes laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation, and laws that provide financial rewards for those who come forward with information about wrongdoing.
Which statements about whistleblowers are true?
There are a number of myths and misconceptions about whistleblowers. Here are some common myths, and the truth behind them:
Myth 1: Whistleblowers are disloyal or unpatriotic.
Fact: Whistleblowers often have a deep commitment to their organization or country. They come forward because they want to make a positive difference.
Myth 2: Whistleblowers are troublemakers.
Fact: Whistleblowers are often reluctant to come forward, and only do so when they believe it is absolutely necessary.
Myth 3: Whistleblowers are criminals.
Fact: Whistleblowers are not criminals. In fact, they can play a vital role in exposing criminal activity.
What is covered by whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing covers a wide range of activities. It can include disclosing information about wrongdoing within an organization, or disclosing information that is in the public interest.
What are the types of whistleblowers?
There are two main types of whistleblowers: internal and external. Internal whistleblowers are employees who report misconduct to their employer. External whistleblowers are people who report misconduct to a regulator or law enforcement agency.
What should you do if you witness wrongdoing?
This is a difficult question to answer, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In general, you should weigh up the risks and benefits of coming forward with the information. You should also consider whether you have a legal obligation to report the wrongdoing.
What are the risks of whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing can be a risky activity. The risks include retaliation from those who have been exposed, and the possibility of being prosecuted for making false allegations.
What are the benefits of whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing can lead to positive outcomes, such as exposing wrongdoing and leading to organizational change. It can also help to create a culture of accountability.
Whistleblowing: When an individual reports suspected or actual illegal activity.
Misconduct: Wrongdoing that is not in compliance with the law or company policy.
Retaliation: Negative action taken against a whistleblower in response to their report of misconduct. Retaliation can include termination, demotion, harassment, or other forms of reprisal.
Legal protections: Laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation. These laws vary from country to country, but may include the Whistleblower Protection Act in the United States, or the Public Interest Disclosure Act in the United Kingdom.
Whistleblower protections: laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation. These laws vary from country to country, but may include the Whistleblower Protection Act in the United States, or the Public Interest Disclosure Act in the United Kingdom.
Pipeline Safety Improvement Act: a law in the United States that provides protections for whistleblowers who report violations of pipeline safety regulations.
Federal employees: The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal employees from retaliation for disclosing information about waste, fraud, and abuse.
Securities and exchange commission: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 created the Office of the Whistleblower to protect whistleblowers who report securities law violations.
Private companies: Some states have laws that protect whistleblowers who work for private companies, such as the California Whistleblower Protection Act.
Whistleblower protection directive: a European Union directive that provides protections for whistleblowers who report on breaches of EU law.
Whistleblower protection program: a program created by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to protect whistleblowers who report securities law violations.
Whistleblower investigation: an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing that is conducted by a government agency or other organization.
Whistleblower laws: laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation. These laws vary from country to country, but may include the Whistleblower Protection Act in the United States, or the Public Interest Disclosure Act in the United Kingdom.
Fraud: a type of wrongdoing that can be reported by whistleblowers. Fraud includes activities such as false advertising, embezzlement, and insider trading.
Abuse: a type of wrongdoing that can be reported by whistleblowers. Abuse includes activities such as child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse.
Waste: a type of wrongdoing that can be reported by whistleblowers. Waste includes the misuse of resources or funds, such as in the case of wasteful government spending.
Reporting wrongdoing: the act of disclosing information about wrongdoing to someone who has the power to take action. Whistleblowers often report wrongdoing to government agencies or the media.
Internal revenue service: The Internal Revenue Service is a government agency that investigates allegations of tax fraud. Tax fraud can be reported by whistleblowers who are eligible for rewards under the IRS Whistleblower Program.
Government agencies: Many government agencies have programs to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. These agencies include the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Whistle blowers protection act: The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal employees from retaliation for disclosing information about waste, fraud, and abuse.
Retaliation: an act of revenge or punishment against someone who has reported wrongdoing. Retaliation can include firing, demotion, and harassment. Whistleblower laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
Whistleblowers: people who report wrongdoing. Whistleblowers may be eligible for rewards or protections under whistleblower laws.
Substantial and specific danger: A substantial and specific danger is a type of danger that poses a real and significant to the health or safety of people.
Qui tam lawsuits: A qui tam lawsuit is a type of civil suit in which a person files claim on behalf of the government against another person or company.
Protected disclosure: A protected disclosure is information that is disclosed to a government agency or other organization in order to report wrongdoing.
Report corruption: Corruption is the use of power for personal gain. Whistleblowers can report instances of corruption to the authorities.
Criminal investigation: A criminal investigation is an investigation into allegations of criminal activity. Criminal investigations are often conducted by government agencies such as the police or the FBI.
Report wrongdoing: Whistleblowers report wrongdoing to people or organizations who have the power to take action. Wrongdoing can include fraud, abuse, and waste.
Government recovers: When the government recovers money from individuals or companies that have engaged in wrongdoing, it is called a recovery. The government may recover money through settlements or court judgments.
National security: National security is the protection of a country's citizens, infrastructure, and interests from threats. Whistleblowers who report instances of national security threats may be eligible for rewards under the Program.
Report instances: When whistleblowers report instances of wrongdoing, they are providing information about specific events. Instances can include fraud, abuse, or waste.
Occupational safety: Occupational safety is the protection of workers from risks that occur in the workplace. Whistleblowers who report instances of workplace hazards may be eligible for rewards under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Whistleblower Protection Program.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a law that protects whistleblowers from retaliation. The Act prohibits companies from retaliating against employees who report instances of fraud or abuse.
External whistleblowing: External whistleblowing is the disclosure of information to people outside of the organization, such as the media or government agencies. External whistleblowing is different from internal whistleblowing, which is the disclosure of information to people within the organization.
The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal employees from retaliation for disclosing information about waste, fraud, and abuse. Whistleblowers may also be protected under other laws, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Whistleblower Protection Program. Whistleblowers have the right to file a complaint if they believe they have been retaliated against. Whistleblowers also have the right to remain anonymous.
Public scrutiny is the act of examining something closely, usually with the intention of finding faults or problems. Whistleblowers may come under public scrutiny when their allegations of wrongdoing are made public.
Trade unions are organizations that represent workers in negotiations with employers. Trade unions may offer support to whistleblowers who have been retaliation.
Public funds are money that is collected by the government from taxes and other sources. Public funds may be used to finance the investigation of allegations made by whistleblowers.
Potential whistleblowers are people who may have information about waste, fraud, or abuse but have not yet come forward with their allegations. Potential whistleblowers may be reluctant to come forward due to fears of retaliation.
Gross mismanagement is the deliberate or negligent mishandling of resources. Whistleblowers may allege gross mismanagement when they believe that resources have been wasted, misused, or mishandled.
Clean air act:
The Clean Air Act is a law that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate air pollution. Whistleblowers who report violations of the Clean Air Act may be eligible for rewards under the EPA's Whistleblower Reward Program.
Public servants are people who work for the government. Public servants may be protected from retaliation under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.
The Exchange Commission is a government agency that regulates the securities industry. Whistleblowers who report instances of fraud or abuse to the Exchange Commission may be eligible for rewards under the SEC's Whistleblower Reward Program.
The EU Directive on the Protection of Whistleblowers is a law that protects whistleblowers from retaliation in the European Union. The Directive prohibits companies from retaliating against employees who report instances of fraud or abuse.
Corruption is the misuse of power for personal gain. Whistleblowers can play an important role in preventing corruption by reporting instances of fraud or abuse.
Public bodies are organizations that are accountable to the public. Public bodies may be subject to scrutiny when allegations of wrongdoing are made against them.
Disciplinary action is a formal process used to punish employees who have violated company rules. Whistleblowers may be subject to disciplinary action if their allegations of wrongdoing are found to be false.
A regulating body is an organization that sets rules and enforces them. Regulating bodies may investigate allegations of wrongdoing made by whistleblowers.
Resources for further information and support:
- Whistleblowing International: https://www.wbinternational.org/
- Government Accountability Project: https://www.whistleblower.org/
- National Whistleblowers Center: https://www.whistleblowers.org/
Whistleblowing Online Training for Employees
Whistleblowing is when an individual reports suspected or actual illegal activity.Confidentiality and anonymity are key if the person feels unsafe or unable to speak to management about it, especially if no action was taken before.
Blowing the whistle on internal and external malpractices is vital for the functioning and survival of companies.
Our Whistleblowing Training Course helps your employees understand when, how and to whom they can report misconduct so they will be protected too.
By the end of this course, employees will be able to:
- Understand what constitutes whistleblowing
- Understand the legal protections that are available to whistleblowers
- Know how to report suspected wrongdoing
Duration: 1 hour
Who should take this course?
This course is designed for all employees.
- Introduction to whistleblowing
- What constitutes whistleblowing?
- Examples of wrongdoing that should be reported
- The legal protections available to whistleblowers
- How to report suspected wrongdoing
- Resources for further information and support
This course will give employees the knowledge they need to feel confident about speaking up if they witness wrongdoing in the workplace. By understanding what constitutes whistleblowing and knowing the legal protections that are available, employees can help create a culture of accountability and integrity in their workplace.