Whistleblowers face the risk of retaliation whenever they speak up, make a claim and provide evidence. This is why there are a variety of laws in place to protect the brave willing to step forward to shine a light on wrongdoing. Even when employers do not make threats toward whistleblower or even acknowledge the wrongdoing and claim to move on, that may not be the end of it. Employers may intentionally or unintentionally employ one of the following ruses.
5 subtle acts of retaliation
They say that revenge is a meal best served cold, and employees may find themselves to be the victim of attacks after the fact. Subtle forms of retaliation may include one or more of these:
- Performance review: These document the employee’s successes and shortcomings, but a manager may use them to be unduly harsh, find fault or otherwise mistreat the worker. These actions can damage the worker’s prospects or get them fired.
- Exclusion: Mangers may leave the whistleblower out of essential meetings they previously attended, limit their active participation, not share vital information about projects, or attempt to isolate them from colleagues.
- Schedule: The employee may find their work schedule changed to less desirable shifts, fewer hours, or singled out for other scheduling changes that make the work untenable.
- Job references: Employees may choose to leave the company after they blow the whistle, but they find themselves black-balled or the victim of negative job references that are not merited.
- Perks: The employer may take such perks as an expense account, company credit card, or other arrangements that make the job easier.
It is still retaliation
Blowing the whistle is a public service to help wrongdoers’ victims, but the penalized likely will not see it that way. Whistleblowers should remain vigilant to ensure that they do not experience subtle or overt forms of retaliation. Those who believe that they are punished for their good deed may want to discuss the matter with an attorney who protects whistleblowers’ rights.