COVID, Whistelblowing, and the fear of speaking out

The reality of how COVID-19 is manifesting itself has alarmed people all around the world. Among these people are employees whose very work may often pose risks on their health. It therefore comes as no surprise that employees may have their concerns which may unfortunately be regularly dismissed or ignored by the employer.

Certain issues which are cropping up seem to point to the fact that employers are ignoring employee’s concerns on lack of implementation of COVID-19 health and safety measures, and furthermore disadvantaging or even dismissing employees who voice their worries on the subject. Questions are being raised as to why fellow employees fail to report signs of negligence or lack of proper adherence to the health measures in place. It may be argued that many employees are worried that they might lose their jobs – a naturally undesirable prospect during these trying times.

Employers must exercise the necessary duty of care to ensure that their employees are protected. On this point, the importance of implementing appropriate policies and procedures must be highlighted. This will encourage employees to put forward their issues without facing pressure from their employers or colleagues.

The Whistleblower Act of 2013 protects both private and public employees when disclosing information regarding any improper or illegal actions committed by their employers or colleagues. Assisting employees with a proper procedure to make such a disclosure to a person of trust who may subsequently escalate the issue as necessary is therefore crucial. Full protection must be afforded from any consequential detriment to the discloser.

We can help you draft a Whistleblowing Policy in direct conformity with your organisation’s size, obligations and requirements according to your individual requests in order to be able to protect both your organisation and the persons who work within it.