Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Doesn’t Pay


Corporations that retaliate against whistleblowers are learning tough lessons. The Ethics Resource Center recently released an analysis of corporate whistleblowers and retaliation against them. The analysis had a disturbing finding ? complaints of retaliation against whistleblowers are rising. The chief complaints involve denied promotions and raises, and transfers to unpleasant assignments. On the other hand, the Ethics Resource Center also found that 62 percent of whistleblowers who experience retaliation are willing to disclose their concerns to the authorities even if their job is at risk.

According to Matt Kelly of Compliance Week, that is a good reason for compliance officers to give line managers and directors to persuade them to “invest in a strong ethics culture” by putting an end to retaliation against employees who report issues and problems internally. Or better yet, Kelly writes: “Copy that page of the ERC report and staple it to your fellow managers’ foreheads immediately.” (See “Whistleblowing, Retaliation, Compliance Frustrations ? All Rising”).

According to the ERC report, both whistleblowing and complaints of retaliation are rising. 65 percent of employees who observe misconduct now report it, up from 58 percent in 2007. 22 percent of that group now complain of retaliation, up from only 12 percent of whistleblowers in 2007.

The really unsettling statistic in the report is this: 31 of whistleblowers report physical harm to person or property. Reports like that, if substantiated, ought to really get the authorities digging deeper in a hurry. They can be sure that something significant has been exposed.

Page Perry is an Atlanta-based law firm with over 170 years of collective experience maintaining integrity in the investment markets and protecting investor rights.