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Questions and Answers



What is the difference between

blowing the whistle & complaining?
 Whistle-blowing is when you raise a concern of danger or illegality that affects others (e.g. customers, members of the public, or their employer). The person blowing the whistle is usually not directly or personally affected by the danger or illegality. He or she is a messenger raising a concern so that others can address it. The whistleblower does not have to prove that what he is reporting is true.
When someone files a complaint, he or she is saying that they have personally been poorly treated. This could involve a breach of their individual employment rights or bullying and the complainant is seeking redress or justice. The person making the complaint therefore has a vested interest in the outcome of the complaint and, for this reason, is expected to be able to prove the case.
 
Isn't a whistle-blower a disloyal person?
No. Whistle-blowers can be amongst the most loyal and dedicated of employees.  Look at it this way – they provide an early warning that can alert their colleagues, employers or the public to some danger or illegality before it is too late. This can save lives, jobs, money and reputations.
3 views to think about:
If YOUR baby was going into hospital for an operation, would you want a nurse to tell someone if they thought the surgeon was incompetent and dangerous?
If YOU were that nurse, should you tell your managers that you thought this surgeon was not up to the job and might be harming patients?
If you were the manager at this hospital, would you want someone to tell you about this surgeon before more patients were harmed and the hospital's reputation was damaged?
 
How do I blow the whistle?
Each ministry of the Government of Malta has a Whistleblowing Officer, so if you are an employee within the public sector, you must raise your concerns with the Whistleblowing Officer within the government ministry under which your department falls.
If you are employed within the private sector and your employer has internal procedures set out for blowing the whistle, follow these procedures. Save for the exceptional circumstances set out in law, you will not be protected as a whistle-blower unless you first report your concerns internally and in accordance with the procedures your employer has for receiving and processing whistle-blowing reports.
If your employer has no internal procedures for receiving and processing information, you may report your concerns to an external whistleblowing officer who varies according to the sector you work in.
For guidance on how to raise a concern affectively, both within the public and the private sector, you may send an email to whistleblower.helpmail@gov.mt.
Points to keep in mind before proceeding:
·         Stay calm.
·         Remember that you are a witness, and not a complainant
·         Let the facts speak for themselves - don't make ill-considered allegations.
·         Do not become a private detective and try to investigate the matter you are reporting on.

 
Will my Identity be protected if I blow the whistle?
The law imposes a strict duty of confidentiality on persons receiving reports of wrong-doing. This means that they cannot - save in exceptional cases set out in law - disclose the identity or any information which may lead to the identification of a whistle-blower to the employer or anyone else without the express consent in writing of the whistle-blower.
 
What is the difference betweenanonymity and confidentiality?
A worker raises a concern confidentially if he or she gives his or her name only on condition that it is not revealed without their consent. A worker raises a concern anonymously if he or she does not give his or her name.


Should I blow the whistle anonymously?
No. Anonymous reports are not protected under the law, although they may still be investigated.
Other disadvantages for remaining Anonymous:
·         being anonymous does not stop others from successfully guessing who raised the concern;
·         it is harder to investigate the concern if people cannot ask follow-up questions;
·         it can undermine the concern being raised as it can lead people to suspect that the whistle-blower is raising the concern maliciously.

 

Don't all whistle-blowers get fired?
Not at all. Whistle-blowers are specifically protected from being fired or from suffering any negative consequences in their place of work for having blown the whistle. Furthermore, a whistle-blower cannot be victimised, intimidated or harassed for having reported a genuine concern.
 
 
Am I still protected under the law if I am involved in the wrong-doing I am reporting?
Here we are speaking about blowing the whistle on wrong doings that you might be involved in as well.  As a rule, if you blow the whistle on any wrong-doing you are involved in, the law offers varying degrees of mitigation of responsibility with regards to criminal, disciplinary or civil proceedings being taken against you. In some cases, the court or tribunal hearing the case shall take into account the fact that you reported the wrong-doing when passing judgement and the punishment or damages you may be liable to may be mitigated.
In others, the law allows for the Attorney General to issue a certificate of complete immunity from prosecution and the law even provides for the granting of a new identity altogether.  Of course, it all depends and varies on the gravity of the case.
It is very important that if you are involved in wrong-doing and you wish to blow the whistle on this wrong-doing, you seek legal advice.

 

What are the conditions which must be satisfied for a report to be protected under the law?
For a report to be protected you must:
- be in good faith;
- reasonably believe that the information you are reporting is substantially true and that it shows that a wrong-doing is being committed by your employer or by persons acting in your employer’s name and interests;
- not be making the disclosure for personal gain.
If you knowingly disclose false information you will not be protected and you will be committing a criminal offence. The law protects genuine reports made in good faith – persons who make malicious reports aimed at harming the employer or a fellow employee will not be protected.​

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