Firms add teeth to whistleblower policies

They have also introduced hotlines for external stakeholders to report cases.

Written by Ishfaq Naseem | Pune | Published:January 6, 2012 2:49 am

Companies in Pune have put in place whistleblower policies to enable employees to report cases of corporate fraud,misappropriation or even misbehaviour to specially designated committees. As a step forward,the firms are not just informing employees through quarterly and annual communications about the policy,but have also introduced whistleblower hotlines and officials heading these special committees are now planning to hold open house discussions to register on-the-spot complaints.

“Last year,we strengthened the investigating team. We designated nine women investigators to deal with complaints against our women employees. We have constituted an elaborate team comprising a full-time resource in the form of Right Environment Manager,who is assisted by a full-time associate investigator and trained staff to probe cases of violations. The chairman of the company along with key members of the staff and the Right Environment Manager spend a considerable amount of time reviewing cases. We are now going to hold open house discussions with employees on the whistle blower policy,” said Nagarajan Balanaga,vice-president,human resources,Cummins group. He added that instead of lodging anonymous complaints,employees are now openly reporting cases. “We are getting cases that range from violation of the company’s treatment of each other to abuse of company’s resources. Action against erring employees has included verbal warning,written warning or termination in extreme cases,” Balanaga said.

Both Bajaj Auto and Praj Industries have made a special mention of the whistleblower policy in their annual reports. Bajaj Auto has put in place an enforcement committee comprising presidents of its divisions and the vice-president,human resources,to take note of complaints of “persons taking bribes,leak of confidential information,misuse of company’s resources,favours shown or demanded from business associates and partners”.

Vice-president corporate communication,Praj industries,Vinati Moghe,said,“We have a company secretary who deals with complaints under the whistle blower policy. As of now,we are not investigating any of the complaints.”

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