RC: To what extent is there a growing risk that organisations will face a retaliation claim from an employee? Are you seeing an increase in such claims?

Penman: Data from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shows that while discrimination claims on the whole remain rather flat, retaliation claims are rising. From 2014-2015, for instance, they rose nearly 5 percent. Since 1997, the percentage of charges alleging retaliation has almost doubled, increasing from 22.6 percent to 45.9 percent of all charges filed with the EEOC. The SEC Office of the Whistleblower also has a specific focus on protecting reporters from retaliation. So there is a growing risk of retaliation claims, which we are seeing in the data from regulatory agencies. Internal claims have also increased significantly, but internal claims remain at a level well below that experienced by external agencies. This lower level of reporting of retaliation should be of concern to organisations. According to our NAVEX Global 2017 Ethics & Compliance Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report, internal reports of retaliation have increased from 0.52 percent of all reports in 2011 to 0.93 percent in 2016. This is a rise of 79 percent – a substantial rate of increase for a five-year period. On the other hand, internal retaliation claims still make up less than 1 percent of all reports of misconduct, well below rates seen by external agencies. As a result, many organisations are not getting the opportunity to address claims of potential retaliation before they are reported externally.

Jul-Sep 2017 Issue

NAVEX Global