Research perspectives

Whistleblowing Report finds link between return to offices and rise in harassment complaints

The return to offices following covid has seen a rise in the proportion of whistleblowing complaints about harassment and racism. According to the recently released Safecall 2023 Whistleblowing Benchmark Report these went up by 5% and 1% respectively. While unfair treatment made up most of the human resource related whistleblowing complaints (68%) this was down 6% from 2021.

As staff come back to the workplace, they are using whistleblowing as a mechanism at rates that resemble pre-covid levels. In some sectors there has been a dramatic increase, with a 36% rise in healthcare and 33% rise in not-for-profits.

The report notes that the world has changed dramatically over the past few years, and these changes are reflected in the whistleblowing data. Commenting on the increase in harassment and racism claims it says, “These figures can be read in two ways, either as a rise in racism and harassment itself, or as a break-through moment with racism and harassment no longer being tolerated.”

Commentators  have  also placed the figures in a broader context,  linking them to the increasing  importance businesses are giving to environmental and social governance (ESG), driven by social movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, and the priority employees place on these issues in the workplace.