Aligning with business and organizational goals does NOT include engaging in or turning a blind eye to unlawful and/or unethical actions.
Do check out my book, The HR Toolkit: An Indispensible Resource for Being a Credible Activist – as it can help you, too!
Here is a letter you may send to your President, Congresspeople and State Congresspeople, Governor, Attorney General, State or City Inspector General, State Labor Department, HR professionals and Leaders at your job, union leaders, clergypersons, and anyone else you can think of:
There is an epidemic of violations of public safety, fraud, and corruption laws that are directly related to labor law violations in government entities and US corporations. Despite this epidemic – 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 should be be a legally-required 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 should 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 the minority of 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 careers, 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 problems 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 when there are settlements with complaining employees. Gag orders need to be made unlawful, regardless of settlements with employees.
City, State, and Federal laws should (but don’t) make it unlawful for any taxpayer money to be used to pay gag orders or to pay internal or external lawyers to spend any time working on silencing complainants, retaliating against complainants, preventing or fixing the results of investigations of accusations, or protecting those found guilty of violating labor laws.
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