Urgent need to increase awareness about whistleblower policies at workplaces, say experts
There is an urgent need to increase awareness about whistleblower policies at workplaces with an aim to create a conducive environment for employees to speak out against any wrongdoing, say experts.
New Delhi: There is an urgent need to increase awareness about whistleblower policies at workplaces with an aim to create a conducive environment for employees to speak out against any wrongdoing, say experts.
It is significant to protect whistleblowers from any kind of harassment at the workplace, said Rahul Lalit, Partner, PwC. He urged the corporates "to create an awareness about how to report any wrongdoing and and demonstrate their commitment to the independence of the committee through actions".
"Everything boils down to the ethos of the organisation", said Kanika Bhutani, Director, Forensic Integrity Services, EY.
She supported the idea of appointing a senior person with impeccable track record and reputation as the chief ethical officer to win the trust and confidence of employees in the internal process of any enquiry related to whistleblowing.
The experts also warned corporates against trying to crush or discredit the whistleblowers.
They emphasised on the need to ensure a time-bound enquiry into any allegation as a safeguard against any harassment to alleged victims.
The issue was discussed during a roundtable conference on 'Whistle blower policy in India: Relevance and roadblocks', organised by media and event consultancy firm Straight Drive.
Experts from different walks of life, including the police department, lawyers, HR practitioners, senior representatives of corporate world and start-ups supported the importance of creating an amicable environment for people to speak their mind and heart on issues pertaining to workplace harassment, sexual harassment, grievances, scams and frauds.
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"A large number of corporates are sitting on a tsunami of stories about their misconduct, unethical and fraudulent activities," Mukund Trivedy, Founder of Straight Drive said.
He said corporates must wake up now and encourage the employees to speak up and not suppress their voices if they want to avoid any #MeToo kind of uprising.
Sonal Mattoo, a legal expert on prevention of sexual harassment, said, "While the number of sexual harassment cases reported by women at workplace has come down over the years, the issues related to unethical or disrespectful behaviour is not addressed on priority as it has no financial impact."
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