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Thread: Has anyone been a "whisleblower"?

  1. #9
    RL7836's Avatar
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    Swords,
    As others have said, be certain you have your 'facts' straight. From what you are saying, your knowledge of these 'illegal' acts is at best 2nd hand (ie: you witnessed nothing and are relying on someone else's word). Depending on the severity of the 'illegal' acts, the gov't agencies may still decide to act but then again - they may want some real proof of these 'acts'. Many people get amnesia about what was said (your Mom included) and critical paperwork can easily disappear.

    It sounds like your Mom is not willing to take any action but will your actions quickly point to your Mom as the source of info?
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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  2. #10
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    Personally have great respect and admiration for whistleblowers. Those are the people that know right from wrong and will do the right thing and stand up for it. Unfortunately it is common for whistleblowers to pay the price...and some have even with their lives.

    It takes a lot of guts and PREPARATION to do battle against the big boys. What was that fairly recent movie with Julia Roberts?...she was a lowly office worker in a law firm and she knew a company was deliberately dumping poison into the water system. She went after the company and won. True story too. But I think the success stories are few and far between. Big companies have big money and big lawyers.

    If there is wrong-doing at your mom's company...I wish you all the luck in the world if you decide to do battle. But you do need the facts and your mom MIGHT lose her job.

    That really sucks. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_h_32.gif[/img]
    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

  3. #11
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    Here's a few examples from both my mother and her co-workers of things which have been happening. It's taken me a long time from wanting to just go there and go postal (I don't own guns so it'd never happen anyway) to actually wanting to turn them in "anonymously" to the apropriate people.

    -Car broke down, call in for an emergency vacation day (it's allowed) boss writes the person up for an unexcused absence.

    -Car broke down in a blizzard, call in for an emergency vacation day (it's allowed) boss writes the person up for an unexcused absence and tells the person they'd "better have a 4 wheel drive truck by monday". (diferent person than above)

    -This company builds motors, one at a time, by one person, piece by piece, roughly 50 pieces in each motor, after building they must be tested, if they fail, they need to be repaired. The employees were told "there is 400 minutes in one shift, we expect 400 pieces from each person". They are rode and threatened with write ups and suspensions daily for not meeting such a rediculous quota. I should tell you the average is about 50 per day!

    - The company no longer allows employees to bring in and use their own tools, they supply them. They gave one person a broken tool and then later gave him a warning letter (3 and you're out) for having a broken tool, which they gave him and said "this is all we have".

    - They use a certain solvet for cleaning the parts, but they do not supply respirators or gloves for the employees who use it since it does not smell, but it does cause problems. One guy has been using it all day everyday for about 15 years and now he has some sort of neurological disorder where he can barely walk or write. When he told the doctor about the chemical he was using at work the doctor called the company to ask about it and get a sample of it. The company lied and said they haven't used that chemical in years and there's none in the building. My mom said it's still being used by the people doing whatever that job is.

    - Machinists are told to run two machines when someone retires no replacements are hired, sometimes the machines are clear across the building (it's not a small place by any means). They are given warning letters and suspensions if the machines stop running or start producing bad parts while they are at the other machine.

    - One person came back from the doctor with a note and they were given a warning letter and told it was an unexcused absence (they had made all the apropriate phone calls to let them know they were not going to be there).

    -One person had back surgey ordered by their doctor and told if they didn't find a way to line it up on the weekend "there'll be he11 to pay".

    this list goes on but who wants to hear it?

    As far as I know, much of this is not only harassment but illegal to threaten people like this on a continuous basis all day long. I can't believe there aren't more heart attacks there (so far 3 employees have dropped dead this year from 1 heart attack, 1 stoke and an anuerism). It's in the past year that this all has started, she had a spotless recrd for 36 years until these guys took over.

    Anyone wanna job? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img]

  4. #12

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    This is a UNION job One would suspect the Union Steward to be on the company payroll if "nothing can be done". Workers need to elect someone they can trust and also to consider the possibility of a strike since individual actions obviously will not suffice. Looks like they are into riding workers out with their fake "write up's". This is a horrible company.

    OSHA has definite regulations concerning all hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This might be a starting point if nothing else works. They are a SERIOUS agency in these regards. http://www.osha.gov/html/oshdir.html

    I suggest that all the conflicts be accurately recorded: dates and names in case a civil suit becomes a possibility. MAybe you could get some advice from a competitor to this company who might be eager to drive a couple of nails into this companies coffin?
    "Grow More, Share More"

  5. #13
    herenorthere's Avatar
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    What state is the company in?
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

  6. #14
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    Wow. That's horrible. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/confused.gif[/img]

    If you are serious about this, you have a long row to hoe. But it can be done. That Julia Roberts movie was a true story. It started out very similar to your situation. You start hearing about all these things that aren't right. What she did (the real person, not the actor) was to start gathering information. She began documenting all the stories people had to tell. She finally had SO much documented, it couldn't be ignored.

    So I'd start getting affidavits from the workers. You might find people reluctant because they will be afraid of losing their jobs. That's always how it works...the employers have the upper hand because the workers MUST have a paycheck. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_h_32.gif[/img]

    I think the solvent issue is the strongest point. Maybe someone can sneak a sample of it to you for testing?

    I hope you can do this and get somewhere with it.

    GO GET 'EM!!!



    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

  7. #15

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    Swords, My company is pretty much the same----now. SBC is ridiculous when it comes to this. Before we were bought out by them, this company was like a big happy family, and our work got done in droves. They came in, observed for a couple years, then set about fixing what wasn't broken. We just got word to forget the last couple of years of their Failed Experiment, and got the blame that it didn't work. Micro-managed into a corner, unable to have any say (we USED to), and run by incompetents. Yep! "Little Enron" has invaded us. The heads of most of these money grubbing companies are mostly Bush Lovers, as they know they do not care about the little guy, just their money. Safety is out the window, and I no longer love my job. A happy employee produces, while threatened employees, do not. Too bad they haven't the brain power to understand this.
    45 yrs. growin\'
    Founder NASC

  8. #16
    herenorthere's Avatar
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    As I read it, the solvent is the most (only?) enforceable issue, but safety regulation is a spotty thing and almost nonexistent some places. Years ago I got a call at work from a whistleblower whose company had survived the occasional announced inspection by re-routing their solvent system. Most of the time they discharged directly to their sewer system, but moving one pipe allowed them to look like they were operating the required, but expensive to operate recovery/treatment system. As you'd expect, they also cut every other corner too that would make more money for the owners.

    I'm not with a hazardous waste program, but the whistleblower didn't want to talk with anyone else and I got all the information and even got him to describe all the questionable activities and where all the important things were and even to send sketches of the building layout. This part's important - Everything someone sends to a regulatory agency and even the agency personnel's telephone notes are public records and available to anyone who requests them. So a friend of his did all the writing and drawing so no one would recognize his handwriting. I never asked his name and never wrote down his phone number, or I would've had to provide them to the company after the surprise inspection that was coordinated between several of our programs and also OSHA.

    Because our inspectors knew exactly where to go, two of them were standing at an open doorway near the place a foreman ran to pull a pipe when a couple inspectors arrived in the front office. The company was caught red-handed, but ended up with minimal penalties and having to face more than the usually lax oversight. But the company's lawyer submitted document requests soon after the inspection and, since nothing identified the whistleblower, I don't think the company ever knew.

    The moral of the story is that if you go forward with your plan, make sure nothing includes your name or phone number or even say your mother's been there x years or runs a particular machine. The company will get them and might figure out the source of trouble. Don't leave messages with your name and number - keep calling until you can talk with someone. It's a noble thing you're doing but be careful so you don't jeopardize your mother's future by trying to save it. If you can afford it, it would be worthwhile to talk with a labor attorney before doing anything.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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