Whistleblower Policy in India

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What is a Whistleblowing Policy?

Before understanding whistleblower policy, we’ll first know the meaning of whistleblower. A whistleblower is a person who raises a voice against something wrong or unethical, which can hamper the growth of an individual or a group. He can blow the whistle against a person/ business/ organization, or working procedure.

A whistleblower policy means an employee can report unethical or illegal behavior to the organization’s management. The primary objective of the whistleblowing policy is to ensure transparency in the organization.

This policy is meant to guide individuals or employees on whistleblowing at the organizational level when they discover any wrongdoing or unethical activity. 

Types of Whistleblowing

There are two types of whistleblowing in an organization:

1. Internal Whistleblowing

In internal whistleblowing, concern is raised within the organization. In whistleblowing, an employee can approach the audit department, a supervisor, or a compliance officer. 

The misconduct reported can be financial fraud, false claims, environmental violations, and harmful practices. 

When someone reports misconduct internally, and no external party is involved in the resolution, it is called internal whistleblowing. No government and media partners are involved in the internal whistleblowing.

2.External Whistleblowing

 In external whistleblowing, concern is raised to a third party outside the organization. In whistleblowing, an employee can approach a government organization such as the CBI or police department.

The misconduct reported can be financial fraud, unethical code of conduct, or violation of specific rules.

When someone reports misconduct externally to an outside party, it is called external whistleblowing.

Whistleblower Policy for organizations

A whistleblower in India cannot make false claims under the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014. According to this act a person can make any disclosure for misconduct. If the complaint is found to be misleading a person can be fined up to 30000 Rs and up to two years of imprisonment.

Benefits of having a whistleblower policy

There are various benefits of having a whistleblower policy in the organization:

  • Make employees careful regarding any wrongdoing.
  • Remove corruption from organizational culture.
  • Make employees responsible by providing them with authoritative power.
  • Reduce risk happening.
  • Creates a strong mechanism structure.
  • It helps to follow an ethical code of conduct.

Procedure of Whistleblowing

A procedure has to be followed during the whistleblowing process:

1. Identification of Issue

The first and initial process is to identify the issue. In this step, you should check the case and how you find the problem (source of matter) that is persisting in the organization. It is also essential to check whether the issue is genuine or a false claim.

2. Document the facts

The second step is to document the supporting facts to the issue raised. These supporting facts act as proof of the problem presented.

3. Who needs to know?

It is necessary to find out who needs to know about the issue. Before approaching the third party, the problem should be forwarded to the management. If the administration is unwilling to provide a satisfactory solution, an external party should be approached.

4. Decide on confidentiality

A decision should be made regarding the confidentiality of the issue, whether it is to be passed only to organization management or external parties.

5. Make the call or submit the disclosure.

End your summary with contact information for potential witnesses and the location of any relevant hard and soft copy data that may support your allegations.

Whistleblowing policy template

XYZ Ltd ( insert company name) is committed to conducting its business fairly, honestly, transparently, and in compliance with all legal and regulatory obligations. We expect all XYZ Ltd directors, employees, and anyone acting on our behalf to do the same and maintain the highest ethical business behavior standards. However, all organizations face the risk of things going wrong occasionally. A culture of openness and accountability is essential to prevent and address such situations when they occur.

A key aspect of ensuring and maintaining XYZ Ltd’s commitment to conduct business with integrity, openly, and somewhat is providing a robust whistleblowing policy and reporting channel for XYZ Ltd so that all colleagues can report any wrongdoing in confidence. At XYZ Ltd, we encourage employees to report any concerns as soon as they arise; such problems can be of any nature, including

any matters concerning XYZ Ltd personnel, customers, suppliers, and other third parties.

The aim of this policy, therefore, is to:

• Encourage and empower colleagues to speak up and report suspected wrongdoing as soon as possible, knowing that their concerns will be taken seriously and investigated appropriately and their confidentiality will be respected.

• Provide colleagues with guidance as to how to raise those concerns.

• Reassure colleagues that they will be able to raise genuine concerns without fear of reprisals, even if they turn out to be mistaken.

• Encourage a culture of openness.

• Ensure compliance for XYZ Ltd with the relevant legislation.

This is not a policy to be used to question XYZ Ltd’s financial decisions

or business strategy, nor should it be used to raise matters which would generally be considered under an HR grievance procedure (for example, harassment, bullying, or discrimination) or are already the subject of a disciplinary process. The below sets out in more detail what type of behavior this policy covers and what should be reported according to this policy.