We take a look at the most common myths around whistleblowing.
Myth 3: Employees Use Whistleblower Systems to Anonymously Send Unfounded Reports About Their Colleagues
According to the Whistleblowing Report 2019, which surveyed nearly 1,400 companies from Germany, France, the UK and Switzerland, less than 9 percent of reports received by companies were aimed at harming individual employees or the company. The study shows that half of all reports refer to compliance-related issues and the remaining reports usually reveal other problems in the company. Nevertheless, it is important when introducing whistleblower systems to clearly communicate that abusive reports will not be tolerated.
Myth 5: Whistleblowers Should Fear Retaliation from Colleagues
If the whistleblower provides their name when reporting, the employer must keep the individual’s identity confidential (as far as possible). If the identity of the whistleblower is for some reason disclosed, the employer must protect the whistleblower from retaliation. The European Union also explicitly includes the protection of whistleblowers (including bullying and intimidation) in the Whistleblower Directive adopted in April 2019.
However, in reality low levels of bullying are difficult to detect and prevent and employees may fear that their name might get out. Allowing anonymous reporting can provide an additional level of security that helps employees feel comfortable reporting, especially on highly sensitive issues. It’s also still possible to communicate with anonymous whistleblowers to collect more information with modern whistleblowing systems.