Tips for Hotline Users
We give you access to a third-party ethics hotline for a good reason: to allow you to report possible incidents of misconduct that can be detrimental to you, your coworkers and the organization. Furthermore, by enabling you to make your report anonymously and confidentially, the hotline prevents the need to take the matter to your supervisor or the HR department – something that, understandably, can be uncomfortable or even intimidating for many employees.
The hotline is the ideal tool for reporting virtually any form of inappropriate or unethical behavior you might encounter while on the job. Typical examples include but are not limited to the following:
- Conflicts of interest: Occurs when workers derive personal benefits from actions performed in the scope of their employment.
- Fraud/embezzlement: The willful withholding of financial assets and using them for personal gain.
- Workplace health and safety: Employees who violate company health and safety policies or do not take appropriate safety precautions place themselves and their coworkers in harm’s way.
- Privacy: A violation of privacy can take several forms such as the improper disclosure of personal information regarding another employee or customer or furnishing the organization’s protected intellectual property or proprietary information to a competitor.
- Harassment: Harassment entails the use of aggressive pressure or intimidation against another individual.
Getting the Most Out of Your Reporting Hotline
Fortunately, most employees probably won’t encounter a situation where they’ll need to consider using the reporting hotline. But even the most ethical organizations will have a few “bad actors” that may require the efforts a whistleblower to stop them. Use the following to guide you when making an anonymous, confidential report:
- Trust your gut: It’s not always clear if what you’re seeing or hearing constitutes unethical behavior. And most people aren’t comfortable with the idea of being a “snitch.” But keep in mind that if something doesn’t look or feel right, it probably isn’t. Even if the follow-up investigation determines that nothing is amiss, you’ll at least have the peace of mind of knowing that there is nothing to be concerned about.
- Review the code of conduct: Another way to help you decide if you should make a report is to review the organization’s code of conduct. This document spells out what we consider to be unethical or inappropriate acts. If a behavior seems to fit some or all the criteria listed in the code, you should strongly consider moving forward.
- Weigh the pros and cons: Consider the potential consequences of making, or not making a report. Bad behavior that goes unchecked may escalate and eventually create a dire situation that will negatively impact yourself and the entire organization. On the other hand, making a report could create significant upheaval and might even place jobs in jeopardy in some cases. But remember, it’s usually the things in life we should but don’t do that we regret the most – not the actions we took that didn’t quite work out as we had hoped.
- Take advantage of the hotline’s around-the-clock accessibility: If you’ve determined that making a report is the right thing to do, remember that you don’t have to contact the hotline while you’re at work. With the 24/7/365 accessibility, you can make the call confidentially from the comfort of your home. You will speak with a caring individual who has extensive training in handling these sensitive issues. And you don’t even have to make a phone call; other available reporting methods include email, online web portal, text, fax and even old-fashioned snail mail.
- Make sure you’re clear about what happens next: After you’ve made your report, be sure you understand what to expect. Our organization has a comprehensive investigative process in place to ensure the appropriate and timely follow-up of your report. You also have access to a user-friendly Case Management System that enables you to communicate and collaborate anonymously with investigators throughout the process.
- You have protection against retaliation: Many employees are reluctant to report misconduct due to the fear of reprisal. While we can never promise that you will not become the target of retaliation, we do guarantee that we will make every effort to protect you via our comprehensive anti-retaliation policy. We will take swift and appropriate action against retaliators as stipulated in the policy document.