By Marlisse Silver Sweeney
Corporate whistleblowers are getting bruised, according to Stephen Kohn, writing on the Whistleblowers Protection Blog. He says retaliation against tipsters is greater than ever, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has started an aggressive lobbying campaign against the False Claims Act, one of America’s most effective whistleblowing laws.
The Ethics Resource Center says 45 percent of U.S. workers have observed misconduct at their companies. Of those, 65 percent reported the misconduct, and 22 percent of those workers said they experienced some kind of retaliation for doing so. This is an all-time high, says Kohn. Another survey by the ERC found that in 2007, only around 10 to 11 percent of whistleblowers experienced retaliation.
“Not only is retaliation on the rise nationally, it is rapidly becoming an issue even at companies with a demonstrated commitment to ethics,” according to the ERC. The group says it’s senior managers who face the greatest risk, as retaliation against them specifically has increased significantly. Many whistleblowers reported having been fired, quitting under duress or facing altered job responsibilities after making a report, according to a study from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Some even said they had to switch industries in order to escape harassment.