Blog: To blow the whistle or not!


To blow the whistle or not!

One of your colleagues is taking unusual favours from the organization client. Will you stand against him/her? Or you will remain silent. The predicament is something you cannot ignore.
To blow the whistle or not!

Pooja, armed with her newly achieved MBA degree, secured a job in an up & coming new-age fintech Company and began her endeavor to stand out of the clutter and make a difference to her organization. All seemed great at the beginning, apart from the usual boss troubles and work-life (im)balance issues. A few months into her career, she was in for a rude shock. She, through some legal sneaking around found out how Vikas, a senior colleague and a posterchild of the organization, was receiving illegal kickbacks from some of the clients and vendors. Pooja now has to face the dilemma, whether to blow the whistle on this and risk her career in the organization or to carry on with business as usual. 

What may seem farfetched as a scenario, is the reality in many workplaces of today. While such practices are on the wrong side of the spectrum of ethicality and morality, how such a scenario is tackled in real life needs to be examined closely. What options does Pooja have to deal with such a situation? What rights does she have? 

It is important to go back to the legal frameworks to examine the situation. India has a Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011, but surprisingly, it covers the central public sector enterprises only and not even state governments. The whistle blowers in the private sector have no legal cover and the way they are dealt with is entirely up to the organization’s governance policies. 

Going back to Pooja’s story she can choose to do any of the following

Approach the top management with proof

This is the most straightforward of approaches that she can take in such a situation. But there are obvious risks associated with this. Her identity will most probably be revealed, which may lead to other issues such as harassment from the employees involved in the issue. However, if the top management takes this in the right sense, this could be a win-win for both Pooja and the organization

Approach the top management anonymously

The anonymity surely takes care of the problem of protecting identities but Pooja will have very limited influence on how the organization will receive and process the issue. It will be impossible to take part in any investigative measures that can lead to effective action

Keep quiet

For an employee who has limited influence in the organization, this option may seem the safest, if it does not affect him/her directly. And probably in many of the cases, this is what ultimately happens. While it may seem safe on the practical side, ethically, by keeping quiet, you are becoming a part of the scam too!

Ultimately, what Pooja decides to do may depend on a lot of factors, most importantly the culture of the organization, the mindset of the leadership and the policies. As an employer, it is important that there is a culture in the organization which enables people to come out with such information. What is also important is the way the organization and the leadership deals with such whistleblowers and the accused. As the legal and corporate governance frameworks evolve, laws may come in place to deal with whistleblowing but as of now, it is imperative that organizations create enabling systems to deal with such issues. 

If you are Pooja, how would you have dealt with such an issue? We would love to hear from you. Do comment in the section below or write to us at

The characters and the situation are imaginary. 

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Topics: Watercooler

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