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Advice to whistleblowers

Discussion in 'Dealing with Your Manager' started by Anonymous, Nov 19, 2007 at 11:34 AM.

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  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I no longer comment directly on companies I have worked for. That hasn't always been the case; the pressagent.co.uk website is archived on the Internet, while the legalrights.co.uk website remains the subject of what is effectively a gagging order. Having taken on a large company, I feel duty bound to offer some advice to those who might consider doing the same as I did:

    First and foremost, seek help from somebody who knows the tactics employed by big business in fighting whistleblowers and single-minded employees.

    Secondly, play your cards close to your chest until you are ready to present your case in a court or at a tribunal. When the time comes to part company with your employer, you may be asked to attend a grievance meeting or write to an ombudsman or office of corporate conduct, whatever. This will not benefit you. They are intelligence gathering devices used by big business. Don't be surprised at the lengths your employer will go to to see how strong your case is. For instance, I received a glib email enquiry from a barrister who failed to tell me he represented the company I was at odds with. I stupidly disclosed information which was forwarded to the company. That certainly didn't benefit me.

    Also, be careful when selecting a firm of solicitors, mine ended up representing the company against me. Just don't expect a clean fight; if you have any skeletons in the closet they will almost certainly come out.

    Finally, you may be asked to sign an undertaking. Be careful what you sign - you, together with those involved in drafting the undertaking, could become part of the cover-up.
     

  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I was a WB, recently with a major company. My advice..don't tell any of your co-workers, not even your so called best friend. I'm a good person, most of the people I worked with I thought were good people, but none of them could keep a secret. Not one, not even the seemingly most innocent and kind. Don't take any advice from anyone, especially managment. All you need to know is, that you must put your complaint in writing, cc it to your HR Dept and if you feel comfortable others in mgmt.. but don't send it to the one you have the issue with, get it? Then, you'll get an email back, asking for time to talk on phone to discuss. You'll want to have this ready, in writing, so you don't forget any of it 1) specific (date/time/location) examples of what the person did, when, where and why it offended you 2) if someone offers to be a witness for you great, but don't go asking-you will get fucked 3) what you want done about it-be firm 4) be very sure that you have a plan B and 5) you cannot give a rats ass about leaving, so again, have a plan B for income.
    6) You don't get what you want, get a lawyer on a contingency basis-easy to come by and get a damn good one-ask around-do your homework.
     
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I was in a situation with a company that I won't mention as of yet where my Manager was requesting that everyone lie on the anonymous survey that is put out nationwide every year so that it would make her look good for her yearly review. She mentioned that she felt comfortable telling us all (10 of us) to do this since her Regional Manager who was new with the company & used to work for Phizer had requested this of all her DMs so therefore it was o.k.

    I expressed my concern (my mistake) to a couple of coworkers who didn't seem to mind lieing & next thing I knew, I was fired. I had contacted HR who even made up a story around a conversation that never happened & because I live in the state of VA, apparently any employer can fire anyone for any reason or no reason at all. I was #1 in my district, had just recently won a few awards for my hard work, loved my company, had a great partner who I worked very well with, & great relationships with my docs. I was owed $10k in commissions (100% of goal for that time frame was $6k) in 2 weeks that they said they didn't have to give because they created a policy that stated that if you no longer are with the company, for any reason, that they do not owe these commissions. I was fired in November & the commissions were from Jun-Aug.

    I was also realigned out of the territory a year ago which was fine but was driving 1.5 hours into the territory & then again out every day which added up to 5k miles each month. I did that for a year & still ended up being #1 because I worked very hard. They used this against me in thier argument on why I was fired saying I was not in the territory by 8 am as they state a rep needs to be. They backed it up with a receipt where I had bought a lunch for an office in my hometown as they requested. Again, my home location was not in my territory because I was realigned out. I asked them if they were saying that I had to be on the road by 6:30 every morning until 6:30 pm. since this would be the only way of working "in the territory" from 8-5? They didn't answer.

    Based on conversations with a couple of lawyers, it seems that I have no case as I stated since VA is an "at will" or "right to work" state & anyone can be fired for any reason.

    I get that sometimes things are unfair & I have no desire to drudge up this mess but I was definitely fired in a very "mafiosa" fashion & it sucked. I am a good person, who worked hard, had results, great relationships, & even from what I knew (because of written field contacts from my DM & field trainers) had a great relationship with my boss.

    Something was definitely fishy & I was unwilling to comply. When I have mentioned this scenario to others in interviews which I did purposefully by the way, I had one manager who said he was concerned I was someone who would be hard to manage! Needless to say I wasn't hired & wouldn't have accepted it anyway based on his response which I was looking for.

    Do I have a case? I also made sure to print out every email & company policy before I left along with my email to HR requesting a conversation take place since I felt that I was going to be fired & that my manager was asking for people to falsify on this survey. They didn't seem to care & never investigated.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    You have a case. The "employee at will" law is true for most every state, yet NO company can fire you for discriminatory reasons (Title VI, ADA, ADEA, Pregnancy Act, etc... along with state and local laws and ordinances which mirror the federal statutory schemes I cite above) NOR can you be fired for asserting a "legally protected right," i.e., refusing to act in an illegal, or unethical manner, or in a manner which would obviously violate your own company's code of conduct. If you are fired within 30 days of making your complaint to HR, the various civil rights investigatory agencies (don't have them handle your case, waste of time, but you have to file with them first and you have a VERY short statute of limitations in most states... you don't need a lawyer to file at first) will see that as prima facie evidence that you were terminated wrongfully or illegally. Then your employer has the burden to prove business necessity.... and depending upon the employer they will try, even make up things, to make you look bad. Or they may just settle with you... make sure you as for a mutually binding confidentiality agreement as to your settlement and its terms, AND for a neutral letter of recommendation and neutral reporting to anyone seeking a reference. GET IT IN WRITING.

    Also, another very important thing to do is apply for unemployment ASAP and put down that you were "laid off/lack of work" as the basis for your separation of employment. Do this BEFORE you have a lawyer contact them. Most pharma employers will not contest your unemployment. They will have a damn hard time coming back and claiming you were terminated for cause when they did not contest you listing laid off/lack of work as the reason you no longer work there. Lastly, AFTER the time has passed for your employer to contest your unemployment and as soon as you get your first check, BUT BEFORE YOU HAVE A LAWYER CONTACT THEM, request in writing a complete copy of your personnel file INCLUDING any manager's files. Almost every state in the union gives you this right and in some states YOU not the employer owns the files. If they try to later say there were all these negative things in your file down the road, but your copies say otherwise or are different or altered, they are screwed.

    Be proactive, not guilty. Stay strong. Get mad. And get a lawyer who knows what they are doing. Yes, most will do it on a contingency fee basis. There is a guy in NY, Charles Joseph, I believe, who is damn sharp and will actually call you back. Tell him the rep from CA he spoke to last year sent you.

    Good luck....!
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

     
  6. Tootired

    Tootired Guest

    We need more whistleblowers and less @ss kissers.
     
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I would like to hear more from WB's on unethical selling or overcharging. I am thinking of WBing and feel sick everyday I go to work with another over charged customer. Any one else have any advice. I want to quit but don't have a new job, yet. GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Gather your hard copy evidence of false claims, kickbacks, off label promotion to any provider for products/services that is charging the federal or state government. The more the better. If you are not sure what these terms mean, read up on them on many sites. Taxpayers Against Fraud, National Whistleblower Center or others.

    Find a good whistleblower lawyer, any one who is good will give you a free overview to review your documents and case.

    DO NOT GO TO YOUR HR OR COMPLIANCE/LEGAL DEPARTMENT. Go to a lawyer and if there is a case, you can go directly to the U.S. Government. Federal law trumps any company policy, you can go directly to the government bypassing your corporation. They will not be happy, but can't stop you. Be prepared for retaliation, document everything on that as well, the law is on your side.
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    This advice is spot on. I was a WB in Pharma. The LAST place you want to go is internal at your company. State whistleblower laws also vary, but federal are fairly strong. You need solid documentation of fraud against the government to have a chance. This process should not be entered into lightly, it will fuck up your life for years, if not forever. The money, which is far from a sure thing ain't worth it. Do it for the right reasons, because you will need something to keep you going through all the hassle, pressure and onslaught of a major corporation with a stable of lawyers- against YOU. Talk it over with your spouse if married, you may very well end up divorced, the pressure can be unbearable.