What is Whistleblowing?

Hasitha Chandula
3 min readJul 25, 2020

A whistleblower could be any form of a person or from any form of profession. They could be an employee, supplier, or contractor of a company or government institution who opts to disclose information to the public regarding wrongdoings of the institution. Such wrongdoings maybe corruption, fraud, or any other malicious activity which causes harm to the public.

A whistleblower has the characteristics of sharing their perspective on any wrongdoing happening in the company or within a specific department of the company. There are laws to protect whistleblowers from losing their job or getting mistreated. There is a process for a whistleblower to take legal action in order to report the fraud of an organization. They can file a lawsuit or make a complaint to the relevant authorities in order to evoke a criminal investigation.

Whistleblowers are of two types:

External Whistleblower

They will directly enlighten the people outside the organization. Mostly they will approach the media, police, or relevant law keepers.

Internal whistleblower

They will report the frauds to the senior officers or administrators within the hierarchy of the organization.

Elements of Ethical Whistleblowing

  1. Understand the whistleblowing law

The disclosures of the employee must fall into the category of whistleblowing law. Just a collection of random confidential information and threatening would not be sufficient. The information gathered must fall into one or more of the below-mentioned categories; criminal offenses, breach of any legal obligation, miscarriages of justice, danger to the health and safety of personnel, damage to the environment, or deliberate concealing of information.

2. Introduction of a whistleblowing policy

Government bodies registered private organizations and other authorized and legal institutions have the obligation to adopt an accepted whistleblowing policy. The recommendation is that employees or potential whistleblowers must report to the internal hierarchy of the organization instead of reporting to outsiders.

3. Protection of the whistleblower

Whistleblowers must be given the guarantee that no threats or adverse consequences such as harassment or revenge would not take in the aftermath of a whistleblowing incident.

4. Respond to allegations of wrongdoing

Assurance must be given to workers that the disclosures will be written down in meetings to avoid misunderstandings. A team of officers should be appointed in order to handle this process.

5. Be prepared of cases escalating to an employment tribunal

A potential whistleblower can bring claims against individual employees or employers to the tribunal. Employees can apply for “interim relief” which allows them to have their payroll until the outcome of the tribunal.

Steps for Whistleblowing

  1. Collect the evidence

The whistleblower must ensure that they possess the right evidence. Evidence of unclear means and evidence collected based on assumptions might bring on adverse consequences for the whistleblower. Ensure the proofs, documents, footage are well organized and are of proper disclosure material.

2. Lodge the complaint

Follow the correct process in lodging the complaint and submit it to the relevant authorities. Disclosures statements and evidence of the misconduct must also be provided simultaneously.

3. Acquire services of legal advisers

Acquiring the services of an experienced lawyer who has dealt with whistleblowing cases is of vital importance. It is always advantageous to have personnel by the side who knows the legal aspect of such cases.

4. Prepared to be testified

Do not be surprised if the whistleblower is brought ahead to be testified. Such scenarios are often a possibility. In such cases, the whistleblower must be prepared to reveal the accurate findings of the misconduct.

5. Prepared to face the consequence

There are always consequences in whistleblowing cases. The whistleblower may be dismissed from the company or may have to face threats. On such occasions it is always safe to seek the help of the law and the law enforcement authorities.




Hasitha Chandula

Senior Full Stack Engineer specializing in TypeScript & Go. I create scalable web apps, love learning new tech, and thrive on teamwork.