𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐲𝐞𝐫? Absolutely! They can be the subject of retaliation, as much as any other employee. Instances that can lead to retaliation include: investigating whistleblower claims which the business is eager to shut down, finding serious risks within the business activities, or expressing concerns and recommendations that do not suit the business.
Compliance efforts can be stifled by the lack of anti-retaliation protection, both internally and externally. Unlike other employees, compliance officers might not be entitled to monetary awards for disclosing information to the authorities. In addition, such disclosures could endanger their careers.
On another hand, reporting violations or misconduct internally is a part of their job description, but doing so may invite retaliation from higher-ups who wish to keep potential violations concealed.
Compliance is usually the department in charge of investigating instances of violation of the anti-retaliation policy, and following up on whistleblowers to ensure they are protected.
Who will investigate retaliation against the compliance officer and ensure he or she is protected?
This fear of retaliation creates a chilling effect, hindering the officers from fully addressing suspicious activities, which compromises the effectiveness of compliance systems.
To overcome this, companies that are serious about putting in place robust compliance programs, need to offer individual anti-retaliation agreements to their compliance officers prior to hiring them.
By granting protection, compliance officers are empowered to conduct their jobs without fear of retaliation.
It’s time we address these sore points in the profession and support each other building more effective compliance systems together.