Fox News made the headlines when their star broadcaster, Bill O’Reilly, was removed as a host for alleged sexual harassment of other employees. It has come to light that Fox had an anonymous hotline for employees to report such incidents but it has not been used.
It shouldn’t be difficult to make a call, make a report and move on.
❌ At least that is what many firms believe.
In practice hotlines are becoming distrusted by employees or 3rd parties wanting to report wrongdoing. As reported by the NY Times :
“(Anonymous Hotlines) are usually run by third-party vendors, who assign a number to a case, and ask for a method to get back to you…people will provide the company an email and will frequently become the subject of investigation themselves.”
Whistleblowers see the headlines of what happens to others who come forward and try and make reports. They have seen what happened to the employee at PwC that reported controversial tax deals and got sentenced to jail. They have seen the head of Barclays try and track down and, allegedly, silence a whistleblower.
Whistleblowers have seen what happens when you blow the whistle down a hotline and give up their anonymity.
They have to make themselves vulnerable.
Which is grossly unfair especially in a case like an alleged sexual crime.
Limitations of a Whistleblower Hotline
Beyond being distrusted by whistleblowers, hotlines have massive limitations for the organisation:
- They are unable to receive any documentation or evidence, unless the whistleblower gives up their anonymity.
- They are are unable to go back to the whistleblower for follow up information or to provide support.
Giving whistleblowers a range of methods to report wrongdoing is the best option.
You will have people who feel more comfortable speaking directly to someone, but conversely we are seeing more and more whistleblowers not wanting to use traditional methods of reporting for fear of reprisal.
How to engage with an anonymous Whistleblower
Using a whistleblowing platform like Whispli allows people to come forward anonymously via online reporting form, from any web-enabled device in the world, to receive the support that they need and report what is happening to them or colleagues.
💬 They can remain completely anonymous while you get the opportunity to chat with them and gather additional information.
✅ Allowing anonymous reporting enables managers to create a more positive environment and to reduce the risk of future bullying, harassment or mental stress claims.