At a time when companies and organisations are paying more attention to compliance and ethical behaviour, whistleblowers are an important source of information to uncover malpractices and breaches of rules. This is especially true in the European Union, where companies and public authorities are obliged by the Whistleblower Directive and its transposed laws to receive information, often anonymously. But it is not only in such a highly regulated environment that the question arises of what happens when whistleblower cases are deliberately falsified or manipulated to cause harm to others? In many cases, falsified or deliberately untruthful information is not only a punishable offence for the whistleblower, but also often results in extremely high costs for companies that conduct internal investigations on the basis of such information and - in the absence of traceability of the whistleblower's identity - are left with the costs of internal processes, legal disputes or PR damage.
In this blog article, we will therefore examine how false cases can be identified and what precautionary measures can be taken to ensure that such circumstances do not often lead to high costs. After all, in the best - or legally regulated - case, companies ensure that tips can be received unhindered throughout, but that the damage from fake cases remains as low as possible.
As a compliance specialist, legal counsel or in-house counsel, who typically run whistleblower reporting centres in a large company or corporation, either required by law or established under their own compliance policies, it can be difficult to distinguish between legitimate allegations and malicious misinformation. However, detecting falsification in whistleblower cases can be challenging, especially when the allegations are complex and difficult to verify. In such cases, it is important to take a structured and objective approach to establish the facts, protect the interests of the accused and the whistleblower alike, and keep too much damage away from one's employer. This string of tasks alone, which follow a receipt and subsequent investigation of a case, does not sound like a Herculean task without good reason!
Fortunately, however, there are some indicators that can help hotline managers recognise fake whistleblower cases. These include:
To investigate whistleblower cases thoroughly and effectively, compliance specialists should follow a structured investigative approach. This may include, for example, the following steps:
To minimise the risk of fake whistleblower cases, companies and compliance professionals should take preventive measures such as.
Fake whistleblower cases can have a significant negative impact on companies and their employees. Compliance specialists should therefore be vigilant to identify and prevent such cases at an early stage. By applying a structured investigative approach, implementing preventive measures and fostering a strong compliance culture, companies can minimise the risk of false allegations and create a fair and equitable working environment.
Given the level of detail of the tasks and the expertise required to carry out proper checks, outsourcing the initial whistleblowing and initial validity check to an external service provider is a good idea. This is particularly the case due to
Overall, contracting out the initial receipt of tips and an initial validity check to an external service provider can help improve the quality and effectiveness of compliance investigations. By combining internal and external resources, companies can ensure that whistleblower cases are handled fairly and thoroughly, reducing the risk of false allegations.
As a full-service compliance provider, konfidal offers comprehensive solutions for companies looking for professional support in implementing and managing whistleblower reporting centres. Konfidal takes over the operation of both whistleblower channels and the reporting office and also offers its own software solution, which is tried and tested in practice and is constantly being further developed. Regardless of whether your company wants to operate an internal whistleblower reporting centre or prefers to outsource these tasks, konfidal has the right solution. With this comprehensive service and our expertise, we can help you reduce the risk of false allegations, improve the quality, effectiveness and legal certainty of compliance investigations and create a fair and equitable working environment. Furthermore, at konfidal we are very familiar with the requirements of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive and its national implementations (Such as the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) in Germany, the Whistleblower Protection Act (HSchG) in Austria and many other national legislations). We support you in complying with these regulations and ensure that your company takes the necessary measures to guarantee the protection of whistleblowers. Rely on konfidal as your full-service compliance provider to successfully navigate the challenges around whistleblower cases and guide your company on the path to a strong compliance culture.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +49(0) 176 72224558 to discuss your needs and find a tailored solution.