Internal whistleblowing is when an employee reports unlawful activity within a company via internal channels. Whistleblowing can include reporting on corrupt practices, fraud, theft, harassment, misconduct, discrimination or any other such issue.
Having an effective internal whistleblowing system can help safeguard your company’s reputation by showing that you are serious about tackling wrongdoing, as well as improving employee trust and morale.
Internal whistleblowing channels
This involves a physical place within an office for depositing reports. This method of whistleblowing is uncommon compared to other channels due to its public nature.
Voice messaging systems — voicemail boxes or online platforms — allow employees to submit their reports orally. To maintain anonymity, companies might use a system that can alter the sender’s voice.
Organisations can establish a dedicated email address for whistleblowing reports. Reporting persons might have to create a throwaway email address if they wish to remain anonymous.
A 24/7 dedicated hotline for whistleblowers allows employees to submit complaints by calling a well-trained team who log the report.
Digital whistleblowing platforms serve as efficient online tools that alert authorised parties whenever there is a new report. The sender can also keep track of the progress of their report and interact with the whistleblower to uncover further information.
Procedure for internal whistleblowing
Here are the steps to properly handle internal reports and encourage whistleblowing in line with European whistleblowing laws.
A dedicated, impartial department or individual should accept the report through any of the company’s sanctioned whistleblowing channels.
Under the laws in member states developed from the EU Whistleblowing Directive, organisations must acknowledge receipt of a report within seven days. This way, the whistleblower will know their issue is recorded and will be looked into.
The authorised party must then conduct an investigation. Interview witnesses and the accused to verify the facts, maintaining the confidentiality of the identities of all parties.
Give feedback to the whistleblower
Reporting back to the whistleblower is vital to let them know the status of their complaint and their options moving forward. In case they are not satisfied, you must notify them of their options to report externally or make a public disclosure.
Take corrective action
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, take appropriate action.