Most people think of whistleblowers as people directly involved or victims. However, whistleblower can also be witnesses and are just as important for bringing attention to unethical practices.
Companies have to work as a cohesive team to be effective. This means watching out for one another and not tolerating ethics problems from anyone.
Victims May Be Afraid To Speak Up
Victims are often afraid to say anything. This is especially true when it’s their superior or they’re new. They’re too afraid of losing their job to report what’s going on. This is all too common with harassment issues.
However, usually, other employees notice what’s going on. The truth is they oftentimes try to ignore it. If bystanders would speak up, many ethical issues would start to fade away. Since bystanders may have been at the job longer, their word might be trusted more. Or, they may actually be from another department or equal or higher level than the perpetrator.
Whistleblower bystanders are able to say something even when victims won’t.
Witnesses Are Important For Proving Cases
The he said/she said argument has left too many victims dealing with on-going harassment. Of course, it’s not just a harassment issue. If an employee is told to order sub-par supplies and tries to report that, the boss will simply say the employee misunderstood.
Bystanders hear and see things, even if the people directly involved don’t realize it. This means, there are witnesses in many cases. If a bystander files a similar report about an incident, there isn’t any more he said/she said. There’s more evidence, helping reduce ethical issues.
Show Solidarity At Work
People feel safer at work when everyone’s on the same page and share the same ethics. When whistleblower bystanders show they’re not afraid to fight for what’s right, it creates a show of solidarity. This encourages victims to speak up and become bystanders themselves. It also helps to have a clear ethics policy in place so people know what your company considers ethics violations.
When people know any and everyone could be watching, they’re more likely to avoid unethical situations. This involves everything from fraud to harassment.
Report Incidents Of Retaliation
Sadly, even when whistleblowers do say something, they may be retaliated against. Retaliation comes in a variety of forms. Once that starts, the whistleblower often quits to get away from it. Instead of the original issue being resolved, it continues and other employees are then afraid to report any other issues. This creates a highly toxic environment and can eventually hurt the business and not just the employees.
Whistleblower bystanders can help watch for signs of retaliation, standing strong with the person who reported the original problem. When bystanders come together, they’re able to protect the original person. This helps reduce retaliation, ensuring the whistleblower stays safer and those involved in the unethical behavior don’t get away with anything. Retaliation is against the law in many cases. Employees are supposed to be able to report issues, often anonymously, without fear of retaliation. Thanks to whistleblower bystanders, it’s easier for them to do this.
Bystanders play an important role in ethics. It’s much easier to stand strong against unethical behavior when you’re not standing alone.