Retaliated Against for “Whistle Blowing”: What Should I Do?

Question: This week I blew the whistle on a gentleman who was coming into our company to take over as operations manager: it turns out he had recently pled guilty to wire and mail fraud, and it was not known to top management. I believe I saved the company from grave risk to its reputation, and perhaps other risks, too.

After I blew the whistle, things started changing, immediately. My boss, a friend of this gentleman, emailed me that, without additional compensation, I will now have to take responsibility for a second territory, a very large territory, one that will require extensive travel. I took this job only on the absolute condition that I would not have extensive travel.

It seems they are trying to get me to quit. Do I have any way I can stand up to this new nonsense?

Grantville, PA

Answer: Whether you have a platform upon which you can stand up to this form of retaliation depends mostly on attributes of your employer. If, for example, your employer is a small company, owned by your boss, without any written employee policies or handbook, you probably don’t have much recourse. On the other hand, if your employer is a large corporation, with stock traded in the public markets, with a Board of Directors, a Human Resources department, and a written employee handbook, there’s probably a lot you can do.

The larger the company you work for, the greater is the chance that it has formal policies against the very type of behavior you describe. Take a few minutes to review your company’s website, its corporate policies, its employee handbook, perhaps its compliance manual. It’s in these places that you would likely find what I sometimes call “The Rules.” By that phrase, I mean the company’s policies against retaliation, and the specific steps you should take to stand up to retaliation of any kind. It’s important that you follow the company procedures, at least at first.

Though it’s easy for me to say, no matter what type of company you work for, I think you should consider doing the following: calmly, honestly and resolutely write an email to the highest levels of your company (CEO, Board of Directors, etc.), report the facts, ask for an investigation of the matter, and insist on protection from such abuse. I can’t give you advice because I don’t know all of the relevant facts of your situation, your life, or your resources, but I can tell you that standing up to bullies, those who retaliate, and other forms of evil will, in the long run, make you proud to look in the mirror, if you know what I mean. I wish you the very best in your predicament.

If you would like to obtain a Model Letter to assist you in preparing a Complaint of Retaliation, simply [click here].

Al Sklover