Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Workplace issues - #2

This is #2 because #1 was the previous post although it wasn't titled explicitly that way.

In that wake of Enron, how many of you have had to sign the Ethics and Compliance document in your companies? We all did at ours. Part of the document (in case you were forced to read it or were using it as toilet paper and happened to notice the writing) says that if an employee notices anything unlawful going on at the company then they shall report it to their immediate supervisor. Also, note that if the immediate supervisor is the one being unethical and non-compliant you are supposed to go higher up the chain until you can find someone who shall listen.

Sounds like a bunch of baloney to me but lets try to give it a chance. Okay - say you work for a boss and he/she is telling you to do something that you think is wrong, say something as simple as, "Don't tell the customer that we don't have it. Tell them that we do that and will ship their order promptly. We'll figure out how we can get it to them".

First of all - how many of you actually HAVE the option of saying no without being handed a box the next moment to put your stuff in and get the heck out of there. Can you say, "No I won't be doing that"...and the boss will go, "Okay"? Maybe... but what the boss is really saying is "Fine, I'll log that away in my memory. I may not be able to fire you for it right away but boy am I going to screw up your review, annual bonus and your raises. Watch out here I come".

Thankfully, I don't work for such a boss but if I did, I cannot imagine myself declining something and screwing up my career instantly or long term. If you're in a job you hate, then that's a different story. You can't wait to leave I guess.

It's not that I'm a coward, a wimp. It's a matter of being realistic. The Ethics and Compliance thing offers NO automatic protection to whistle blowers or people who want to stand up against a corrupt management. There's no clause that says, "If you're a whistleblower you are automatically protected for a period of 60 days from being fired - whatever the reason. Furthermore, after investigations are completed, you have a right to file a suit against the company if you feel discriminated and the state shall pick up the tab." THAT would encourage people to stand up and tell their organization - you're a lying, cheating and corrupt bunch of "gentlemen".

Think about it. Even though there is SO much protection for employees feeling sexually harassed, it happens so regularly that it has become a don't-ask-don't-tell policy. If the two people involved don't break the news, all is well. If one of them does, both are screwed (no pun intended). Given this hopeless situation, what does Sarbanes Oxley Act (couldn't they have picked Joe Shmoe Act instead? Seems easier to pronounce) offer in terms of whistleblower rights? What do workplaces in general offer as rights to employees who refuse to do actions that their immediate supervisor(s) is/are asking them to do? What workplaces encourage employees to speak out against their supervisors? They won't because that breaks the you-keep-me-happy-I-keep-you-happy fraternity that exists at the management levels.

The answer to all this? Deal with it ! If you decided to work in corporate America, sorry you're SOL - there isn't much you can do about it aside from saying this is a work culture and I shall do all I can to keep my conscience and sanity while this thing pays my bills. To bring about a revolution you need many many people who are willing to give up many many things for many many years. And knowing what a consumerist and comfort oriented society we are, that is definitely not happening.

Your comments and sharing of situations are always appreciated.

7 Comments:

Blogger TandyModd said...

Since I don't have your kind of job I can't really comment on what to do, however here's something to think about, and you also gave me a good blog topic to write about. I work for a Specialist office, which in return is part of the hospital, however I am technically employed by the specialist alone. The doctor is foreign, I dont get any benefits, no insurance, no holiday or sick or vacation pay and certainly no OT. How the hell is that justice? You're damned if you do and you're damned if you dont. Gotta love the govt.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Puppetainer said...

Well, I ceartainly agree that there's incentive to not "squeal", but I don't know if I agree that the only answer is "deal with it."

Unfortunately that's just a gut feeling. I haven't come up with anything better to do. I'll meditate and get back to you.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you are having a slew of bad days at work. Hopefully thinngs will get better. It would be interesting to know if you feel the same way after a good day at work.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Sheeshers said...

See that's just it. These are issues that exist around me regardless of whether or not I'm having a good day or a bad one. I think I'm looking at it more objectively rather than in fury or anger. I need people's perspectives - other 9-5'ers who are tired of the grind and in that sense, are in the same boat as I am.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

You're making it sound like you don't have a choice. You do have a choice.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Sheeshers said...

Well Jack, Puppetainer and I couldn't really come up with much so can you lay out some choices? Maybe we can learn something from you - the whole point of blogging!! :-)

5:03 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I agree corporate america has us by the nads, but your choice is not to work there.

You can work for Taco Bell and probably wouldn't have to sign anything. However, if you did that, you probably couldn't afford the lifestyle that you're accustomed to. Again, that is your choice.

Don't get me wrong bud. I'm not saying it's fair, but that's basically the legal justification you'll get.

9:49 PM  

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