Revealing Statistics from the Ethics & Compliance Initiative

Whistleblowers are key in uncovering fraud, waste and abuse at companies and organizations. Recently, the Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) conducted its annual global survey. The results offer an overview of how companies treat employees who report misconduct or refuse to participate.

Reporting misconduct and the pressure to compromise

Employees are increasingly likely to report misconduct. In 2017, 69 percent of respondents indicated a willingness to report ethical misconduct, a figure that surged to 86 percent in 2020. This shift demonstrates a growing willingness to take action when wrongdoing occurs.

However, ECI surveys have also highlighted an increase in the pressure employees face to compromise their ethical standards. Since 2017, the percentage of survey respondents reporting such pressure has more than doubled, from 14 to 30 percent. This pressure is felt more by managers—they reported experiencing it approximately five times as often as non-managers.

Retaliation against employees

There is also an alarming increase in retaliation toward individuals who report misconduct or refuse to compromise their ethical standards. In 2013, only 22 percent of respondents reported retaliation. This climbed to 44 percent in 2017 and skyrocketed to 79 percent in recent years. Managers were especially vulnerable. 92 percent reported retaliation, compared to 45 percent of non-managers. This disturbing trend highlights the significant personal and professional risks associated with speaking out against wrongdoing within organizations.

Organization size matters

Finally, while high-profile settlements with large companies often dominate headlines, misconduct isn’t limited to major corporations. Employees in small and mid-sized organizations are more likely to report witnessing misconduct and feeling pressure to compromise their ethical standards, compared to those in large organizations.

If you’ve witnessed wrongdoing at your company, an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group can help. Call today to get started.