Friday Fun or Friday Fright for UK bosses | FAST

Friday Fun or Friday Fright for UK bosses

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UK employees eye Fridays as the whistle-blowing day of choice

Once seen as the most relaxed of working days, Friday is rapidly becoming the day of choice for employees looking to report software misuse in their organisations. This is according to the latest whistle-blowing records, released by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).

Over a third (34 per cent) of whistle-blowing reports are made on a Friday, making it the most popular day of the week for individuals to report misuse.  This was followed by Mondays and Wednesdays, both at 18 per cent. 

Alex Hilton, CEO, FAST, stated: “We often associated Friday with the beginning of the weekend and more relaxed “dress down” days. But what this research points to is that despite Friday being seen as a relatively informal day, it is the end of a stressful working week. Is it the case that UK workers have just about had enough by then and go onto reporting their employers, or is it that they have more time on their hands to do it? Either way it is the day most employees take to the phone or web to report software misuse.

“Employers and employees alike need to take action to ensure that they are properly educated about the proper use of software and the repercussions that software abuse can bring. It’s incumbent upon employers to take the steps needed to ensure that they are on the right side of the law. Failure to do so may mean damages and/or a prosecution.”

According to research conducted by FAST in 2012 a staggering 68 per cent of employees would not report their employer for using illegal software. Of this sample 24 per cent stated that they would not report illicit use to protect their jobs; only 10 per cent would do so because they did not wish to be seen as a whistle blower and amazingly, 58 per cent simply did not care.

“Mixed feelings about whistleblowing are understandable, but not doing so may be counterintuitive. Compensation may be payable if your employer acts illegally when a protected disclosure is made. So if you think that software piracy is taking place in your office, then get in touch, but be sure of the facts. Reports can be made anonymously. Notwithstanding the law is there to protect you, the bigger picture is, respect for someone else’s creativity. The general apathy that exists about software theft fails to properly recognise its effect on the wider economy and future job creation. It’s important that, as an industry, we take the steps necessary to ensure that the value of digital product is protected and innovation supported.

To be protected as a whistleblower you need to make a ‘qualifying disclosure’ about malpractice. This could be a disclosure about:

  • criminal offences
  • failure to comply with a legal obligation
  • miscarriages of justice
  • threats to an individual’s health and safety
  • damage to the environment
  • a deliberate attempt to cover up any of the above

 If you would like to make a report to FAST about an organisation using unlicensed software please use the form at the link below. Please complete as much as you can. Your contact details are important to allow FAST investigators to contact you should further information be required. Should you have any queries, please e-mail fast@fastiis.org or make a report online at https://www.fast.org/our_services/report_unlicensed/