Employee Hotline Calls Usually Warrant Investigation

Whistleblowers typically aren't whistling Dixie

A report analyzing more than 180,000 hotline calls collected from 550 organizations found that in

the majority of cases—65 percent—the callers reported information that warranted an

investigation.

The ensuing investigations resulted in an organization taking corrective action 46 percent of the time,

with outcomes that included firing, disciplining or suspending workers who violated company policies.

The "2006 Corporate Governance and Compliance Hotline Benchmarking Report was prepared by The

Network, a hotline and employee communications

system provider, using anonymized data from its clients between 2002 and 2005. The CSO Executive

Council, a professional organization for security executives affiliated with CSO, performed analysis on

the data with help from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

The report includes some findings within vertical industries—for example, retail employees are

more likely than workers in other sectors to call a hotline. Such findings could be used by CSOs to

evaluate their own company’s experience, says Bob Hayes, managing director of the CSO

Executive Council. Hayes believes this is the first such compilation in the three decades since whistle-

blower hotlines were deployed. The researchers plan to produce another report this year incorporating

2006 results.

Other findings from the study:

  • Seventy-one percent of reports to hotlines shared information that was news to

    management.

  • Callers reporting allegations of corruption and fraud were less likely to remain anonymous than

    callers reporting other kinds of incidents, such as a concern about health, safety and the

    environment.

  • Thirty-nine percent of callers learned of the hotline by seeing a sign about it.
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