From corporate governance to business ethics, from data privacy to encryption, there are many words related to the subject of whistleblowing. This dictionary of terms will help you understand what they mean.

Anonymous reporting

Anonymous reporting is the process of sending information about an incident to a desired destination, without revealing your personal information.


Business ethics

Business ethics is a form of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. The ethics of a business or an organisation are described in its Code of Conduct.



A bribe is an act of offering or receiving items of value to/from persons in exchange for a favourable decision.


Case management tool

The Case management tool enables secure and correct whistleblower case handling by appointed individuals.


Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics

A Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics is a set of ethical guidelines and responsibilities of an organisation. A whistleblowing service is the most efficient way to safeguard the compliance of the ethical guidelines set out in the code.


Conflict of interest

Conflict of interest is a situation that creates a conflict between personal interests and the interests of the employer. A conflict of interest exists when it is questionable whether your motives are in the best interests of your employer.


Competition law

Competition laws are aimed at ensuring that there is fair competition between businesses, generally to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers. In the European Union, it is referred to as both Anti-trust and Competition law.



Compliance means conforming to rules, policies, standards or laws. It is a confirmation that the doer of an action meets the requirements of accepted practices or legislation.


Corporate sustainability

Corporate sustainability or corporate responsibility is an approach that creates long-term stakeholder value by implementing a strategy that takes into consideration social and environmental aspects of the operations.



Corruption is abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It includes the action of giving or receiving a gift or a business courtesy in order to influence a decision. See conflict of interest.


Data privacy

Data privacy exist wherever personally identifiable information or other sensitive information is collected, stored, used, and finally destroyed or deleted, in digital form or otherwise. Data privacy, in the sense of appropriate use of data, is key when setting up a whistleblowing system. When an organisation uses data that is entrusted to them by a whistleblower the data should be treated according to the agreed purpose and legal requirements. The WhistleB Case management tool is designed to enable the users to comply with the highest data privacy standards.


Data security

Data security is the protection of data from unauthorised access. Sensitive data and the identity of the whistleblower should be protected both from external and internal threats. See encryption.



Discrimination in the workplace is the treating of a person unfavourably based on gender, age, ethnic origin, religion or trade union activity, for example.



Workplace diversity means valuing differences and creating value by including experiences and opinions from people of different genders, ethnical backgrounds, age, etc in the decision-making process and the corporate culture.



Encryption is the transformation of data into a secret code, so that it is unreadable to all, with the exception of the recipient. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. Pseudonymisation is a measure for minimising data exposure. See Pseudonymisation.


Facilitation payment

Facilitation payment is a small bribe made to expedite the performance of an action to which the payer has legal or other entitlement.


Fair competition

Fair competition is when competition is based on factors such as quality and price, and not on practices that are condemned by the public or law, such as predatory pricing.


Forced or compulsory labour

Forced or compulsory labour refers to situations in which a person is coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities.



Fraud in the workplace is a criminal offence and it involves intentionally deceiving someone in order to gain an unfair or illegal advantage.


GDPR stands for the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The regulation will come into force on 25 May 2018, and will regulate handling of personal data. See the WhistleB whitepaper on how the GDPR affects organisational whistleblowing.



Harassment in the workplace involves behaviours of an offensive nature directed at an individual worker or a group of workers.


Information security

Information security is the practice of preventing unauthorised use of information. It can be used irrespective of whether the data is electronic or physical.


Money laundering

Money laundering is the illegal process of transforming the profits of crime and corruption into ostensibly legitimate assets.


Personal data

Personal data is information that can identify an individual, directly (for example name or identification number) or indirectly (for example description of the person).


Privacy by design and by default

“Privacy by design” and “privacy by default” are two of the main new principles introduced in the General Data Protection Regulation. Privacy by design is an approach that takes data privacy into account throughout the whole system engineering process. Privacy by default means that the strictest privacy settings automatically apply once a customer acquires a service.


Pseudomisation or pseudonymisation

Pseudonymisation is an umbrella term for approaches like data masking that aim to protect confidential information that directly or indirectly reveals an individual’s identity. The General Data Protection Regulation contains a specific legal definition of ‘pseudonymisation’, describing it as: ‘the processing of personal data in such a way that the data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information, as long as such additional information is kept separately and subject to technical and organisational measures to ensure non-attribution to an identified or identifiable person.



Retaliation is an adverse action taken against an employee for filing a complaint. It is vital to include non-retaliation in the guidelines governing the whistleblowing procedures.


Sustainable development

Sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Definition taken from the UN Bruntland Commission.



Transparency means being open and clear in the disclosure of information, rules, plans, processes and actions. As a principle, public officials, civil servants, the managers and directors of companies and organisations, and board trustees have a duty to act visibly, predictably and understandably to promote participation and accountability and allow third parties to easily perceive the actions that are being performed.


Whistleblowing system

A whistleblowing system is a solution for whistleblowing, including a whistleblower Communication channel and a Case management tool. Whistleblowing service, whistleblowing hotline, whistleblowing mechanism are other words often used as synonyms to whistleblowing system.



A whistleblower is a person who reports on a wrongdoing, usually at work.


Whistleblower Communication channel

The whistleblower Communication channel is a two-way channel through which a whistleblower submits a message, anonymously or not, or receives follow up information or a question. Communication is possible via the web and by phone.


Whistleblower protection

Whistleblower protection is essential for effective whistleblowing and workplace transparency. A whistleblower who reports serious unethical behaviour or crime should be protected by the whistleblowing guidelines of the organisation, and in a growing number of countries, also by law.



Whistleblowing is the disclosure by a person, usually an employee, of mismanagement, corruption, illegality, or some other action that is not in line with the ethical guidelines set out in the Code of Conduct. The criteria for what is considered a whistleblowing case varies between countries, but can include criminal offences, such as fraud, a person’s health and safety being in danger, or damage to the environment.


Whistleblowing guidelines

A policy document that sets out the case management process, including the protection of a whistleblower that is open with his/her identity, and the accused.


Whistleblowing team

The team that receives the whistleblower messages and decides on how to deal with them, in accordance with the whistleblowing guidelines.

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