Q: We are seeking to develop a new global policy outside the USA. What practical steps can we take to protect a whistleblower – especially from potential harassment?
Not all countries have laws protecting whisltblowers – irrespective of this fact, an HR department has a genuine responsibility towards the company’s employees to protect them and ensure a safe environment for them. Inform the individual that they can reach you at any point if they receive hostile behaviour. Collect evidence through appropriate investigation – if necessary issue a internal memo/reminder on the appropriate code of conduct at work. Avoid, in any case, suggesting the employee takes time off – this is more likely to contribute to stigmatising behaviour.