Seven Common Retaliation Tactics Used By Employers
Often, making an example out of one troublemaker is enough to keep the majority silent. Here are some tactics your employer might use to “shoot the messenger” of bad news:
- Spotlight the whistleblower, not the wrongdoing. Obfuscate the dissent by attaching the sources motives, credibility, professional competence, or virtually anything else that will work to cloud the issue.
- Build a damaging record against the whistleblower. Not infrequently, companies spend years manufacturing an official personnel record to brand a whistleblower as a chronic “problem employee” who has refused to improve.
- Threaten them. Warning shot reprisals for whistleblowing, such as reprimands, often contain an explicit threat of termination or other severe punishment if the offense is repeated.
- Isolate them to what is known as “bureaucratic Siberia.”
- Set them up for failure. By overloading them with unmanageable work and then firing or demoting them for non-performance.
- Physically attack them. Physical attacks are not common but do occur.
- Eliminate their jobs even as the company is hiring new staff, perhaps by “reorganizing.”
- Paralyze their careers, by either denying a whistleblower a promotion or providing bad references for future openings.
- Blacklist them, thus eliminating their opportunity for future employment.