Corporate Secretary: Consider an Ombuds Program

Is an ombudsman right for your company?, asks Aarti Maharaj in the current issue of Corporate Secretary.

Companies should have internal fraud programs to help avoid whistleblower claims and fear of retaliation.

‘According to surveys, in any given year, between a third and three-quarters of the employees of a company will see at least one  incidence of malfeasance,’ says Jonathan McBride, of McBride Associates. ‘Of that cohort, a quarter to a third say nothing because they are scared of retribution.’

McBride says the root of the problem is that companies ‘have one cohort of directors who are terrified of what they don’t know, and on the other hand there are employees that know things and don’t know who to turn to when faced with an ethical issue.’ In cases such as these, an organizational ombudsman can help a company and its directors set the appropriate tone at the top regarding how such issues are to be dealt with.

Learn more about the advantages of such programs by reading my coverage a joint Stanford SVNACD event at The Governance Ombuds: SVNACD & Stanford’s Rock Center and my review of Charles L. Howard’s The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles, and Operations–A Legal Guide.

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