When “Coziness” Prevents Ethical and Legal Compliance


David Axelrod, President Obama’s chief political advisor, said Obama’s outrage was “pretty great” when he learned of some of the “shortcomings” at the Minerals Management Service and its “coziness” with an industry it’s supposed to regulate.

Coziness is just another word for CRONYISM and unethical conflicts of interest, which plague many workplaces.

The BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is undeniably the result of such conflicts of interest. The result is several dead employees (yet again from BP), an enormous environmental disaster, irreparable damage to regional economies, and another brazenly egregious action by a corporation that already has a terrible workplace safety record.

How much cronyism plagues the rest of our government regulatory entities? Take the LinkedIn Poll:

Tell Your Story!

We can measure the BP catastrophe in many ways because it is so tangible. How can we measure – or even acknowledge – the often invisible results of cronyism in other government regulatory agencies?

We’d have to add up the following:

Number of dead and injured employees since we’ve had OSHA and safety regulations in place

Number of employees who left jobs because of inadequate EEOC or other government investigations into EEO and ADA violations

Number of employees unlawfully retaliated against, resulting in loss of job and health insurance for themselves and their families

Number of homes foreclosed on due to unjustified, unlawful, or retaliatory terminations

Number of bankruptcies filed due to such job losses

Number of health problems and costs of health care passed on to taxpayers due to unlawful terminations and losses of health insurance

Negative impacts upon children whose parents lose their jobs due to unlawful termination

Monetary and stress costs to former employees and their families who can afford to hire lawyers to prove they were unlawfully terminated

Amount of taxpayer dollars spent on the salaries, benefits, and pensions of those regulators who engage in cronyism that causes this damage

Of course there are many more costs associated with the results of cronyism in regulatory entities, but these are no less catastrophic than the current BP disaster, though they are less visible to us all.

There are millions of government regulatory employees who do a fine job. And then there are those who do engage in cronyism and contribute to the invisible disasters that are no less harmful than the current oil spill.

There are several groups on LinkedIn that address these issues: Anti-Corruption Professionals, Cornell ILR Alumni, Corporate Whistleblower, Proactive Prevention Culture in the Workplace, and HR/OD Credible Activists.

What can we all do to demand an end to harmful government cronyism now?

Many of you have sent me your true stories of your experiences with these issues, and I appreciate those stories. Please keep them coming. Tell YOUR Story!

Write to your legislators and demand an end to workplace cronyism – especially in regulatory agencies.

Thanks,
Denise

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About Denise A Romano

Denise A Romano is the author of The HR Toolkit: An Indispensable Resource for Being a Credible Activist, published by McGraw Hill in 2010. She is a workplace expert and has a strong interest in government, business, workplace and personal ethics. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter. View all posts by Denise A Romano

One response to “When “Coziness” Prevents Ethical and Legal Compliance

  • Denise

    There is an epidemic of violations public safety, fraud, and corruption laws that are directly related to labor law violations in government entities and US corporations. Despite this Ethics Commissions, AGs & IGs are unresponsive to labor violation complaints in workplaces and government, even when proof is submitted, tax dollars are misused, and there are rampant ethics, safety, and other compliance violations. The EEOC, OSHA, and State Divisions of Human Rights are underfunded and understaffed, thus their responses to these complaints are almost always delayed and insufficient.

    Given that all government employees are required to report legal and ethical noncompliance, mandatory imparital investigations must be implemented without exception and accompanied by absolute prevention of unlawful retaliation against complaining employees. There must be a freeze on any termination of any complaining employee while a sound, impartial, unbiased and thorough investigation is completed, and even afterwards, retaliation against complainants must be prevented.

    Violations of EEO, OSHA, public safety, retaliaiton protections, whistleblower protections, ADA, union-protections and fraud/corruption prevention laws must be classified as serious crimes that result in prosecution. There is extremely insufficient protection for employees who use apropriate channels to report noncompliance in both government and corporate workplaces.

    Currently, legal compliance with US labor laws is essentially optional for corporate and government workplaces. Only employees who can afford lawyers have a chance of recourse. Most lawyers will not take cases on contingency, even if complaining employees can prove employer noncompliance with labor and other laws. When there is rare justice, it comes years later – often after unlawful termination and great damage to health, families, and finances.

    Most legitimate employee complaints are dismissed by noncompliant employers who unlawfully retaliate against these employees, terminate their employment and health coverage and pay them a small sum for which they are desperate and on which they are taxed. This money almost always comes with a gag order, the dismissal of the complaint with government authorities so there is never an investigation, and the continued employment of those guity of serial noncompliance and other violations of law, which remain unremediated.

    Many General Counsel attorneys falsely believe their duty is to protect the corporation by any means instead of ensuring legal compliance and remediating noncompliance according to non-retaliation laws. GCs who knowingly cover up unlawful practices in corporations and government entities must be addressed by the criminal justice system and BAR associations given the enormous financial fraud perpetrated upon taxpayers and shareholders when significant funds are used to unlawfully retaliate against employees who exercise their rights to complain about noncompliance. When this occurs in government entities, it is fraudulent misuse of taxpayer money.

    These crimes are epidemic and do require deterrence in the form of large fines, improved processes for complaining employees, and guaranteed sound impartial investigations into unlawful practices, even whenthere are settlements with complaining employees. Gag orders need to be made unlawful, regardless of settlements with employees.

    Please Sign this Petition @change : Demand Legal Compliance in US Workplaces http://chn.ge/bO31L8

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