So is it true that “no good deed goes unpunished?”
Unfortunately, all studies reviewed indicated that whistle blowers surveyed and interviewed frequently reported significant negative consequences as the result of blowing the whistle. As a matter-of-fact, some studies indicate that whistle blowers began to experience negative consequences almost from the moment they brought the issue or issues to their superiors. In other words, it didn’t take going to a governmental agency – the simple act of bringing a problem to the attention of those in-house was enough to launch severe reprisals and retaliation.
The reality is not pretty!
After completing an 8-year study, Joyce Rothschild, a professor of sociology at Virginia Tech reported that 69% of the 300 whistle blowers who responded to her survey stated they were either immediately or eventually fired from their positions. Rothchild states that respondents indicated employers “began a race to discredit the would-be whistleblower before the whistleblower could discredit them.” In the process of being discredited and harassed, whistleblowers as a class have experienced financial loss, been blackballed within their profession and industry, as well as deterioration and/or loss of family relations (including a high incidence of divorce.)
Still the right call?
While the statistics and studies conducted paint a bleak picture, it is refreshing to note in a study conducted by psychiatric social worker Donald R. Soeken and his wife statistician Karen L. Soeken they report most whistleblowers, no matter what the consequences, state they would do it again.
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
Compliance Warrior, CEO