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In our ongoing work to protect individual whistleblowers and bring wrongdoing to light, we never lose sight of our fundamental goal: to help establish a culture in which corporations no longer retaliate against those who raise concerns about misconduct.
I was reminded of the importance of communicating this goal while serving as a panelist at the Thomson Reuters 4th Annual Corporate Whistleblowing Forum last Fall. In a recent article highlighting our session, the author noted that whistleblower lawsuits are bringing hard truths to light about the weakness of existing compliance programs. As I noted on the panel, building a culture of strong ethics begins with establishing consistent communication and support to employees who raise concerns. As we gain greater understanding of the challenges faced by whistleblowers, most of whom report wrongdoing internally first, companies have a responsibility, as well as an opportunity, to create corporate cultures in which compliance and ethics are integral to operations.
Protecting whistleblowers is not only about catching bad actors, but also about revolutionizing the way in which we view corporate ethics. As recent history has taught us, corporate misconduct can do more than alter the basic bottom line—it can lead to devastating consequences for individuals, companies, and society at large.