More whistleblowers report employer over bad practices


Reports of suspected bad practices in the workplace went up 50% last year, whistleblower support organisation Huis voor Klokkenluiders has said in its annual report.

In total, 369 people contacted the organisation in 2023 compared to 243 the year before.

Chairman Wilbert Tomesen said more attention to cases in the media is the probable cause of the increase. A law passed last year which offers whistleblowers more protection has also boosted reports, he said.

The cases brought to the attention of the Huis voor Klokkenluiders included the way companies handle company secrets and personal data, suspected fraud, infractions of safety rules as well as reports of unacceptable behaviour and socially unsafe situations.

Tomesen said that unlike in previous years, more reports had come in from compliance officers, freelancers, managers and board members.

Some 37 of the 396 reports concerned “whistleblowing cases”, meaning that a reported practice is of wider social importance and that the people who report them are often bullied, isolated, intimidated, or fired.

Half of the 37 cases took place in semi-public organisations, for instance in hospitals, where a whistleblower reported medical procedures carried out by unqualified staff which might endanger the safety of patients.

“Often whistleblowers are already in conflict with their employer when they come to us, which limits our possibilities to intervene. It is better to contact us earlier in the process, so we can work towards a good solution, ” Tomesen said.

Employers also contacted the organisation more often, he said, because they want to know how a complaints procedure should be carried out. The involvement of the Huis voor Klokkenluiders also makes a difference in how employers look at the issue in question.

“We are not here to escalate matters. We want the problem to be solved for everyone involved,” Tomesen said.

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