If you own or operate a business, you might not have thought much about what would happen if an individual within your organization blows the whistle on potential illegal or unethical activities.
Having a whistleblower policy in place can help protect your company and ensure that your employees feel they are protected if they believe there are internal practices that need to change. It also provides you with a process to handle these claims, whether they turn out to be true or are simply false allegations against your business.
Importance of a whistleblower policy
A whistleblower is an individual (usually an employee) who comes forward with a complaint of misconduct or questionable activities happening within your organization. In some cases, these complaints may be unfounded, while in others, the whistleblower may bring up legitimate issues that you need to address quickly.
An effective whistleblower policy offers clarity and assurance to your employees that they will be protected if they decide to bring up issues with the company’s management. They should not fear retaliation and should know the exact process they should use to make their report.
You should also be sure to define what whistleblowing is — and is not — in your policy. Basically, whistleblowing is limited to uncovering any illegal, regulatory or safety issues. Other complaints, such as an employee feeling as if he or she is being treated unfairly in the workplace, would not be considered a whistleblowing issue.
In addition to providing direction to potential whistleblowers, your policy should cover how other employees (including senior managers) should conduct themselves once a whistleblower complaint has been made. This can help to prevent retaliation, which can take a problem from bad to worse.
And, you should be sure to outline the consequences levied for making a false whistleblower claim. For most organizations, this involves terminating or demoting the guilty party.
For more information on developing and implementing a cohesive whistleblower policy within your business or organization, meet with an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers today.