What is Whistleblowing in the Workplace?

Whistleblowing is an informal term given to a situation where an employee ‘makes a disclosure in the public interest’. An employee might ‘blow the whistle’ if they believe an individual is doing something wrong that goes against the best interests of other people.

In the workplace, you are a whistleblower if you report the wrongdoing of another employee when this wrongdoing is impacting others or the general public.

All whistleblowers are protected by law so that they cannot be victimized for their decision, treated unfairly, or dismissed from their employment because they have filed a report.

What Behaviors Warrant ‘Blowing the Whistle’?

You can ‘blow the whistle’ at any time if you spot wrongdoings and believe that somebody’s actions are against the public interest. For example, you might notice unfair or unethical behavior in the workplace that you feel should be reported.

Common whistleblower complaints include those against discriminatory behavior, such as racism, sexism, ageism, or homophobia. However, this list is not exhaustive and there are many reasons why somebody might file a whistleblower report. 

How Does Somebody ‘Blow the Whistle’?

Issues can be raised by a person of authority at any point. Depending on the specific whistleblowing procedures in the workplace, the employee may need to file a formal written complaint.

In some cases, a lawyer can be hired to help with whistleblower claims in Alabama or elsewhere in the States. An attorney can help the individual to file a legal complaint against their misconduct. Examples of misconduct include discrimination, falsifying records, or violating workplace policies.

What is an Employer’s Responsibility With Whistleblowing?

Employers must provide a safe and inclusive work environment and they must always encourage their employees to raise their concerns. By law, employers don’t need to have a whistleblowing policy in place, but many employers are choosing to create such policies to display their commitment to creating a strong and trusting workplace.

Implementing an effective whistleblowing policy makes it easier for employees to speak up when they feel that there is a problem. If employees witness wrongdoings in the workplace, they can refer to the whistleblowing policy to guide them through the process of filing a complaint.

Many employees are scared to speak up out of fear that no action will be taken on their complaint. They can also be worried to file a report about a poor work environment because they fear that their employer will treat them differently because of it.

Whistleblowing policies should make it clear that every complaint will be heard to encourage employees to take action and ‘blow the whistle’ if they experience wrongdoings at work.

Employers can also provide ongoing training and mentoring for their employees in regards to whistleblowing. They should make it clear what behaviors are acceptable and which actions are unacceptable so employees know when they might need to blow the whistle.

Another important responsibility of the employer is to take immediate action after a complaint has been filed by a whistleblower. Resolving the issue quickly maintains a safe workspace, shows employees that their employer genuinely cares about their well-being, and increases employment engagement.

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