Instead of Blaming the Victim; Practical Advice for Whistleblowers

I’m often appalled at the bad advice the media gives to people who are being bullied in the workplace. The latest example comes from the Globe and Mail’s Rob Magazine on Corporate Governess where a reader asked what to do about senior executives who were up to something unethical and possibly illegal. The headline? “Why you probably shouldn’t snitch on your employer.”

After pointing out that Canada has no whistleblower protection laws like the U.S., the magazine’s writer put the onus on the reader. After pointing out that almost any course of action could lead to unemployment, it urged him to keep it anonymous and do his own investigation first.

Suggesting that it should all be up to the employee is absurd. Here is the advice I share in my book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire.

1.     Reach out to your company’s external auditor to see if you will be protected if you report wrongdoing.

2.     If it’s safe to do so, make your report to the company’s external auditor.

3.     Keep your report free from emotional response and state just the facts. Don’t embellish, assess or be judgmental.

4.     Don’t become the investigator. The investigation is the responsibility of the organization.

5.     Know the laws where you work. Different states have different protections for whistleblowers and some have none at all.

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