Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi – Whistleblowing, Labour Law, corporate culture and risk management in Multinational Enterprises (video)

On the 14th of October 2020, Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi (whistleblower and former Head of Food Safety at Nestlé) gave her presentation during the first seminar of the Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Blog’s End-of-Year Seminar Series 2020 entitled “CSR, Whistleblowing and Human Rights” and organized by Dr. Costantino Grasso, Dr. Dawn Carpenter, and Dr. Luca d’Ambrosio. The series has been organised in partnership with the Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity (CFCI) of Coventry University and the EU-funded research project VIRTEU (Vat fraud: Interdisciplinary Research on Tax crimes in the European Union – Grant Agreement no: 878619).

Photo of the seminar – Dr. Yasmine Montarjemi

In her terrific talk, Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi discussed whistleblowing in the context of “Labour Law, corporate culture and risk management in Multinational Enterprises.”

Speaker’s Bio

The career path of Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi spanned the World Health Organization in Geneva where she worked for a full decade for the prevention of foodborne illnesses before joining Nestlé as the corporate food safety manager in the year 2000. Since 2010 she has turned into a fervent advocate of whistleblowing and human rights. She graduated from the University of Languedoc, France, later at the University of Lund, Sweden, where she received a doctoral degree in Food Engineering. She is the author or editor of numerous peer-reviewed articles, books, training manuals and other publications among which the Encyclopedia on Food Safety. In 2019, Dr. Motarjemi was awarded the GUE/NGL Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information.

Summary of the Seminar (by Stephen Holden)

Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi, a public health advocate and a leading expert in food safety standards who previously held a senior role in the World Health Organization before joining Nestlé in 2000, became a whistleblower after her boss in the company’s quality management department side-lined because she repeatedly raised concerns about the handling of food safety incidents and internal processes.

During the seminar, Dr. Motarjemi considered freedom of speech and freedom of opinion rights within the context of the corporate environment, through the lens of her own experiences of whistleblowing, and the lack of whistleblower protections or other recourse for actions of retribution.

Beginning by considering the regulatory responsibilities for corporations based in Switzerland, and their responsibilities for ensuring corporations are compliant with meeting international standards, Dr. Motarjemi explored the role of the whistleblower in highlighting wrongdoing and the lack of protection afforded by the Swiss legislative and judicial system that facilitates intimidation and retribution towards those who would disclose illegality or other wrongdoing.

By providing information on food safety standards failures, Dr. Motarjemi contextualized the cultural problems within corporations – namely an unwillingness to act to prevent harm and injury through as this would provide financial and reputational damage, and the willingness of the Swiss state to overwhelmingly support corporations over the rights of the individual, and whistleblowers.

Video Recording

Seminar Slides

One thought on “Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi – Whistleblowing, Labour Law, corporate culture and risk management in Multinational Enterprises (video)

  1. Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi excellently laid out the issues of corporate recklessness and irresponsibility, the lack of whistleblowing protections and lax labor laws of Switzerland and how swiss-based multi-national enterprises may be taking advantage of these. If action is not taken urgently, harm may continue to be done their employees’ careers, livelihoods as well as their mental and overall health. There may also be negative impact on the communities where these corporations are based or where they trade, which in turn may then affect trust in their operational practices and profit-making capabilities. The law, ethics, corporate governance and social responsibility considerations must be at the forefront of the urgent reformatory actions required in Switzerland and its MNEs.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.