Uncovering and reporting unethical business practices within a company requires courage. However, it can also expose the whistleblower to potential manipulation tactics from their employer.
Understanding these tactics is essential for maintaining one’s rights and well-being after bringing the truth to light.
Discrediting the whistleblower
The employer might undermine the whistleblower’s credibility, either by questioning their professional competence or by spreading damaging rumors. This tactic aims to create doubt about the whistleblower’s claims.
Creating a hostile work environment
The employer might isolate the whistleblower, exclude them from meetings or professional development opportunities or subject them to undue scrutiny. This serves to intimidate the whistleblower and can make their position within the company untenable.
Retaliating against the whistleblower
The employer might demote the whistleblower, cut their pay or even terminate their employment. While blatant retaliation is illegal under whistleblower protection laws, employers might try to disguise these actions as performance-related decisions.
Denying or ignoring the claims
Employers might also deny or ignore the whistleblower’s claims. By refusing to acknowledge the issue, the employer can maintain the status quo and avoid addressing unethical business practices. This tactic can leave the whistleblower feeling unheard and frustrated.
Coercing into silence
In some cases, employers might try to coerce the whistleblower into silence. This could involve threats, intimidation or the promise of benefits if the whistleblower retracts their claims. This tactic seeks to suppress the truth and maintain unethical practices.
By recognizing these tactics, whistleblowers can better protect themselves and continue to stand for truth and integrity in the workplace.