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Incidents of Whistleblower Retaliation on the Rise

Over the last several years, we have seen the number of whistleblowers reporting internal wrongdoing dramatically increase. However, a new survey from the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI) also indicates that incidents of whistleblower retaliation across the United States are also on the rise.

ECI surveyed more than 5,000 employees in late 2017 as part of its annual survey. The number of employees who witnessed misconduct in the workplace was 47 percent, down from 51 percent in 2013. However, more employees are feeling pressured to compromise their own ethical standards in the workplace (16 percent, versus 13 percent in 2013). In addition, 84 percent of pressured employees observed coworker misbehavior.

Here are the most common kinds of unethical behaviors observed by surveyed workers:

  • Lying to stakeholders and employees (26 percent)
  • Abusive behavior (21 percent)
  • Conflicts of interest (15 percent)

About 63 percent of respondents said this misconduct was committed by a manager or supervisor. Of the surveyed employees, 69 percent said they reported misconduct, up 10 percentage points since 2000. However, instances of retaliation against employees reported in the survey doubled to 44 percent, and 72 percent of respondents said that retaliation occurred within three weeks of them blowing the whistle.

These are obviously some alarming trends that companies must be aware of and assess appropriate. Companies must take clear steps to develop rigid guidelines for employees, promoting values of integrity and openness throughout the company, setting performance goals for all leadership and ensure that nobody is above the rules in the workplace.

If you have been a victim of retaliation after serving as a whistleblower, meet with an experienced Dallas lawyer at Kardell Law Group.


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