Most Common Ways Companies Retaliate Against Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers put their own careers at risk in order to do what’s right, exposing wrongdoing and fraud at their place of employment. They also put themselves at great personal risk, as they are often considered traitors by those they work with. However, they play a crucial role in safety and ethics in organizations. In many cases, the information provided by whistleblowers could not be uncovered any other way.

Whistleblowers are often targeted by management and high-level executives. There are many forms of retaliation, and it can be difficult for victims to seek justice after being chased out of their careers. If you’ve been targeted after exposing unethical or illegal behavior at work, call Coumanis & York at 251-336-3121 or 251-336-3491. Our team of Mobile employment lawyers is here to help.


Termination or Demotion

Perhaps the most common form of retaliation is the standard termination or demotion. After all, an employer who feels scorned is often too angry to realize that it’s easy to prove that this is retaliation. They may think the whistleblower is a threat to the company’s very existence, and they believe that immediately cutting off access to valuable information, clients, and data is essential. Not only does this form of retaliation affect the whistleblower, but it also sends a strong message to others who would stand up for what’s right in the future.

Demotion is another way employers lash out at whistleblowers. They often believe that demoting a problem employee will force them to resign, at which point they’ll struggle to find new work because they’re known as a whistleblower.


Isolation and Marginalization

A manager with more experience in retaliation will likely choose something harder to prove. By isolating the whistleblowers and keeping them away from their peers, an employer can make them feel excluded and without any opportunities for upward growth. If they’re left out of important projects or aren’t invited to important meetings, a whistleblower may get a strong message that they are not welcome and are no longer useful to the company. It can be harder to prove that this is retaliation since the acts of exclusion can be explained as simple mistakes or oversights.


Destruction of Reputation and Career Prospects

If a manager has a lot of pull within an industry, they may use their pull to wreak havoc on the whistleblower’s reputation and ability to find future employment. If they work for a particularly large organization, they may start rumors with other departments that make those departments unwilling to consider internal transfers that would bring the whistleblower into their division. This essentially locks the employee down into their current position.

They can do the same thing in the industry at large. While this is effective in any field, it is especially devastating for whistleblowers if they work in a niche field. In these industries, badmouthing from one higher-up can essentially mean that the whistleblower is blacklisted. It can be incredibly challenging for employees to overcome this type of stigma.


Misuse of Legal Tactics Against Whistleblowers

No one wants to end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit, and employers use that to their advantage. Even if the lawsuit they bring against an employee has no merit, they are still forcing that employee to hire an attorney and defend themselves at their own expense. By bringing multiple legal actions against the whistleblower, they can waste their time and their money. Additionally, this tactic often causes massive psychological distress for the victim.

The good news is that it’s getting harder and harder for employers to use these underhanded tactics to silence and lash out at whistleblowers. A strong employment attorney can help a wronged employee fight for justice and maintain the career stability they deserve.


Have You Been Targeted by an Employer in Daphne or Mobile? Call Coumanis & York Now

If your employer has retaliated against you after you reported illegal or unethical behavior, you are not alone. Too many employers think they can get away with this. Let us advocate for you—you don’t deserve to be penalized for doing the right thing. Call us at 251-336-3121 or reach out online to set up your free consultation.

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