July 4, 2022
Whistleblowers help keep organizations to a high standard and ensure that rules and regulations are followed. With that being said, whistleblowing has more to it than just blowing the whistle at the slightest injustice. Before deciding to report an incident, it may be a good idea to think things through and prepare for the process to come. In this post, we go through 4 things to consider before you blow the whistle.
1. Read your whistleblower policy
The first thing you should do before blowing the whistle is read the organization's whistleblower policy. The policy can contain a lot of useful information for you to take part in. It can, for example, explain how you go about reporting your case, explain differences between whistleblowing and other types of complaints, or describe other organization-specific procedures.
How is written reporting done? Do you prefer oral reporting or booking a physical meeting to tell someone what happened? How does the case manager then follow up with you on your report? Is there anything you need to do in addition to leaving the report? These are questions that can be good to consider first.
2. Is the irregularity a whistleblower case?
Before you whistle, it may be a good idea to check that your problem is a whistleblower case. If someone has broken the law or violated health and safety regulations, it is probably a whistleblower case.
Complaints that your colleague is behaving badly or that you feel that you work harder than others do not count as whistleblowing. In general, it can be said that personal problems do not count as whistleblowing, but the irregularity should instead be of "public interest". If the irregularity in question is not in the public interest, it may be good to report anyway, but there may be other ways to do it, for example by going to the nearest manager.
3. Remember that you are a witness
It is important to remember that when you blow the whistle, you are only a witness. You should therefore never carry out any further inspections or investigations on your own. You should also not take matters into your own hands or otherwise influence the situation on your own if it is not your responsibility.
Your role is simply to report the irregularity and, as thoroughly as possible, tell and share information with relevant staff. If you take matters into your own hands, it can lead to the investigation being negatively affected and the investigation being closed down as a result.
Also read: 4 common myths about whistleblowing
4. Use the organization's whistleblower function
When you are sure you have a whistleblower case to report, you should use the organization's whistleblower function. The exact design may differ depending on the industry or the size of the organization. It can be anything from an internal system on the intranet, to a telephone number or a physical mailbox in the workplace.
Try to include as much relevant information as possible when reporting and remember that the Whistleblower Act protects you from retaliation, unless it is actually a whistleblower case. Many organizations also offer the ability to report anonymously if you wish to keep your identity secret. This can be good to know if you are afraid of what your boss or your coworkers will think or say.
Also read: Why internal whistleblowing is superior