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They may be absent in most whistleblowing policies, but anti-deterrence provisions (as distinct from anti-retaliation) seek to combat the pre-emptive deterrence of whistleblowing by influential insiders, including first-line leaders. In the latest article written by Ethicalways Director Penny Milner-Smyth for Whistle Blowers – Ethics Hotline Provider, the ease with which deterrence can be achieved, undermining your whistleblowing policy and procedures, is discussed – together with recommended action steps.


It takes as little as a strategic pause, a pointed look, perhaps a slight arch of the eyebrow, and the job is done. Your employees have the message loud and clear. Speak up about wrongdoing in the team, and they risk the wrath of their first-line leader.

Yes. All your efforts at creating a speak up culture and promoting confidence in the organisation’s ethics hotline can be undone, without a single word being uttered. And you will likely never know it happened.

We know that the fear of retaliation has a powerful deterrent effect on potential whistleblowers. This fear tends to persist even where there is no objective evidence of retaliation in a given workplace. While there are many drivers of what you may think is your employees’ irrational fear of retaliation, the deterrent power of the immediate superior is one that needs more attention.



Also, read our omniblog with all our links to articles written about creating a “speak up culture” and managing your ethics hotline.

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There are two proven and powerful approaches to protecting your business from unethical, fraudulent, and corrupt activities by insiders: 1. Workplace ethics training and 2. Access for your employees and your third-parties to a trusted, independent ethics hotline facility.
Contact Ethicalways for more information about our top-rated ethics and anti-corruption programmes, learning content, and support for the creation of a speak-up culture in your business.


Penny Milner-Smyth

Author Penny Milner-Smyth

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