Protecting whistleblowers

How do you protect whistleblowers in your organisation?

A/P Mak Yuen Teen

Chairman, SATA CommHealth, Associate Professor, NUS Business School

We have in place a whistleblowing policy which spells out the following safeguards and consequences of violation.

Firstly, no employee who in good faith reports a violation of the above policy shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence. Any reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the utmost extent possible.

The policy encourages employees to put their names to allegations in order to facilitate appropriate investigation. Concerns expressed anonymously will be investigated, but consideration will be given to the seriousness of the issue raised, the credibility of the concern and the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources. Malicious allegations may result in disciplinary action.

Lastly, violations of this policy and these procedures may result in appropriate disciplinary action, including dismissal. Whistleblowers can report to a number of confidential channels, including the board chairman, chairman  of the audit or governance and nominating committee as well as an outsourced internal auditor.

 

Serene Wee

Chief Executive, Singapore Academy of Law

The Singapore Academy of Law does have policies in place to protect whistleblowers in our organisation. Firstly, the whistleblower (WB) will not be dismissed or suspended from his employment on account of his whistleblowing. Also, he may request for a transfer to another department to avoid potential victimisation. The whistleblower may also be temporarily relieved of his usual duties to assist in investigations, together with other employees who may also be asked to assist.

His consent must be obtained should there be a need to disclose any aspects of a whistleblower complaint in the investigation report. In addition, his identity will not be disclosed in the investigation report except with his consent. He may request that the Whistleblowing Investigation Officer (WBIO) keep him informed of the outcome of the whistleblowing complaint he has made. However, it is important to note that if investigations produce evidence of possible fraud or illegal activities, there may come a point when disclosure of the WB identity may be required by law. That will be when the matter has proceeded beyond the internal investigations of a company, and has commenced in the hands of the law.

 

Hans-Martin Stech

Regional Chief Financial Officer, Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific

At Infineon, integrity guides our conduct towards our stakeholders. As part of our compliance policy, the whistleblowing measure helps to protect our organisation’s long term interests.

We have created a general awareness among employees through our Compliance intranet site which is easy for employees at all locations to access. Presented in English and five other languages, employees are informed about the authority of the compliance officer which includes the protection of anonymity. Information provided by a whistleblower is treated with extreme care and confidentiality. Employees have direct channels of communications either by email, e-Fax or phone to the company’s compliance officers. Employees also have the possibility to submit complaints anonymously. Furthermore at Infineon, compliance officer positions are held by senior level executives who are fully empowered to protect any employee who has come forward with pertinent information.

The above measures not only enhance our credibility, but also serve to show the strong stance we take against corrupt behaviour.

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