[Foundation-l] Audit charter and whistleblower policy
dharp66 at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 19 15:09:39 UTC 2007
open information with no filters.....
that is what I see us becoming.
So.....perhaps a broader peramiter other than legal /
illegal ; and certainly a chain of comand but also one
to represent the whistleblower.
provided of course that all other attempts to resolve
issues have taken place.
--- Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> No, illegal is illegal in the legal sense.
> This policy is only about reporting a violation of
> the (US) law.
> effe iets anders wrote:
> > Does illegal here also mean "not in line with the
> policy / strategy
> > set by the Board"?
> > KR, Lodewijk
> > 2007/6/19, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com>:
> >> Anthony wrote:
> >>> On 6/15/07, Florence Devouard
> <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >>>> * and a whistleblower policy
> >>>> Not much more to say :-)
> >>>> If you have any issue to raise, any criticism,
> or whatever, please do
> >>>> not hesitate to comment.
> >>> My initial reaction to the whistleblower policy
> was that it was a very
> >>> bad policy. However, I thought maybe I was just
> overreacting, so I
> >>> didn't comment on it. Then I asked Danny, who
> is a former employee of
> >>> the corporation, what he thought. His response,
> which I'm not going
> >>> to get into in detail on this list, expressed
> the exact same concern
> >>> that I had. The policy leaves the executive
> director and board chair
> >>> in a position of ultimate authority. And there
> isn't even an
> >>> executive director right now.
> >>> The rest of my comments are my own, and not
> derived from Danny's.
> >>> "If any employee reasonably believes that some
> policy, practice, or
> >>> activity of Wikimedia Foundation Inc is in
> violation of law, a written
> >>> complaint must be filed by that employee with
> the Executive Director
> >>> or the Board Chair." The word "must" there is
> incredibly disturbing.
> >>> It also bothers me that employees are the ones
> expected to sign this
> >>> policy. Looking at this policy, it seems to me
> that it will only
> >>> serve to stifle the spread of information.
> Anything anyone believes
> >>> to be illegal must be reported to the board
> chair. The board chair is
> >>> not required by the policy to do *anything at
> all* with that
> >>> information.
> >>> I don't understand what the purpose was of the
> whistleblower policy,
> >>> but it doesn't seem like it serves any positive
> >> Please first read
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower to fully
> >> understand the basics of the whistleblower issue.
> >> The purpose of a whistleblower policy is largely
> to protect employees
> >> when they are reporting illegal activity, in
> particular illegal activity
> >> from one of their "superior" (hierarchically
> speaking, eg, a person who
> >> can fire them). In the absence of a policy, an
> employee could report one
> >> of his boss is acting illegally and as a
> consequence, be fired, or be
> >> mishandled (get no raise, have responsabilities
> removed etc...)
> >> The whistleblower policy is a statement from the
> management and board,
> >> saying that it is okay to report illegal activity
> and that you can not
> >> be punished if you do that.
> >> However, to avoid simple baseless bad-mouthing,
> the protection is only
> >> given if the employee comes with arguments,
> facts, figures, photos, any
> >> type of evidence or at a minimum information
> strongly supporting the
> >> suspicion of abuse. In the absence of significant
> documentation, an
> >> accusation from an employee will be perceived as
> personal attacks, and
> >> no protection will be offered. This is also a
> good way to prevent
> >> constant recrimination against another person. In
> short, if an employee
> >> has a base for complain, he is protected. If he
> is just bad-mouthing
> >> with no argument, then there is no protection.
> >> The policy we agreed upon is a fairly common one.
> It really holds
> >> nothing special. It was reviewed by a lawyer.
> >> Ultimately, an employee might refuse to sign it.
> I am fine with the
> >> concept. But then, if he reports something
> illegal, whether based or
> >> not, then is fired by his immediate boss as a
> retaliation act, then, I
> >> believe he can not easily connect the fact he is
> fired from the fact he
> >> reported abuse.
> >> The main reason why this policy was adopted is
> that this issue was
> >> raised in the past; by Danny himself, who told me
> once he did not dare
> >> report something, because he feared he would be
> fired. Well, with this
> >> policy, and if he had signed it, he would be
> protected. The important
> >> point is that legally speaking, when there is an
> illegal activity going
> >> on around you, you are supposed to report it. If
> a kid is killed and you
> >> know the murderer, you are bound by law to report
> the name (unless it is
> >> someone family related etc...). However, an
> employee could argue he did
> >> not respect the law, because he feared being
> fired for reporting the
> >> abuse. With that policy, he can not claim that he
> would be fired. The
> >> important part in this is that if the employee is
> aware of illegal
> >> activity, and does not report it, then he is
> "sharing" the
> >> responsability and becoming himself part of the
> abuse. Consequently,
> >> this is a powerful tool to ensure that abuse is
> >> The second reason why the policy was adopted now
> is that we expect to
> >> have a new ED very soon. Which means that the
> board will be "further"
> >> from the staff and the staff mostly work with the
> ED. In case there is
> >> anything wrong going on with the ED, the staff
> can report to the chair,
> >> and they will be protected through the policy.
> >> At the same time, it protects the ED, as
> employees can not do
> >> bad-mouthing without facts. In short, if an
> employee comes to us and say
> >> "the ED is securing money for himself", the
> answer we can give is "do
> >> you have proof of that accusation ? If you do,
> then please provide the
> >> documentation, and you are protected by the
> policy. If you don't, please
> >> keep your opinions to yourself; thanks".
> >> Note that the dual reporting system makes it
> possible to report to the
> >> ED of an abuse by the chair. Note, for now, this
> policy has not been
> >> signed by any staff member. It must be signed
> >> Last, the issue of the chair not being required
> by the policy to act if
> >> he is reported an illegal issue. It is not
> necessary to mention in the
> >> policy that the chair must act in case he is
> informed of abuse, because
> >> he is required to act in case of abuse. "All
> corporate powers shall be
> >> exercised by or under the authority of, and the
> business and affairs of
> >> the Foundation shall be managed under, the
> direction of the Board of
> >> Trustees." In case of non-action when abuse is
> reported, the chair is
> >> the first in line and usually gets consequences
> much heavier than simply
> >> being "fired".
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