MEA Employment Predictions 2024: Spotlight on Whistleblowing

  • Market Insight 16 April 2024 16 April 2024
  • Middle East

  • Employment, Pensions & Immigration

A growing trend among employers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Qatar is the implementation of robust whistleblowing and speak-up policies, reflecting an increased commitment to transparency and corporate governance.

This growing trend underscores a recognition of the importance of fostering a culture where employees are encouraged to raise concerns about potential wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. It also reflects an increased regulatory focus on promoting these policies (e.g. Abu Dhabi Global Market’s recent public consultation on its new draft whistleblowing legislation and a focus in KSA on encouraging the public to report wrongdoing in the public sector especially).  

In crafting policies the following points are key:

  • Designated contact points for employees to approach;
  • Training for employees so that they distinguish between a grievance and a whistleblowing issue;
  • Protocols for scoping a report and for investigating it e.g. consideration of who will be in the investigating team for a manager above a certain staff grade and whether an independent fact finder should be appointed;
  • Sector considerations e.g. healthcare operators will have specific codes of conduct (for example pharmaceutical sales representatives) to adhere to; and
  • Whistleblower protections given the lack of credibility attached to anonymous reporting and strong defamation laws in the region. 

When a whistleblowing event does occur, the key for organisations will be to use any event positively to showcase the policies effectiveness and to use it as an education tool for the business. 

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