Magazine article USA TODAY

Whistle-Blowers Face Retaliation

Magazine article USA TODAY

Whistle-Blowers Face Retaliation

Article excerpt

Workers who blow the whistle on wrongdoing at their companies often prefer to lodge their complaints anonymously. If their identity is revealed later, through, they may be more likely to face retaliation from management than those who complain openly, a survey of 490 internal auditors who reported misconduct at their companies found. Most of the cases of wrongdoing involved waste of company resources, embezzlement, or employees who received bribes or kickbacks. Marcia Miceli, co-author of the study and professor of management and human resources at Ohio State Univerity's Max M. Fisher College of Business, indicated that about eight percent of respondents said they experienced retaliation.

Management may be more likely to punish anonymous whistle-blowers because they are seen as cowardly traitors. "Management may be upset because the employee didn't come forward publicly with his or her concerns and let the company respond. They may wonder about the loyalty of the worker to the organization." Whistle-blowers were also more likely to face retaliation when:

* The company's performance would be harmed if the wrongful activity was halted, or if the general public was harmed by the wrongdoing. This suggests that the more the whistle-blower damaged the company, the more likely the retaliation. …

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