COMPANY BEHAVING BADLY

THE STORY

Jo was an award-winning manager for a well known food chain. She enjoyed her work and valued the company’s ethics. Then a new Divisional Manager (DM) arrived, who did things his own way. He told managers that they should fill in the staff satisfaction surveys and not their team as this would boost their bonuses. Jo thought this was wrong and, following company policy, reported her concern to the Compliance team in the United States. They told Jo they would investigate and promised her confidentiality. The next she heard was the DM was telling other managers she had reported him. Jo went off sick with stress and was asked to a meeting with the Head of HR. She contacted Public Concern at Work for advice.

WHAT WE ADVISED

We ran through how the legal protection could help Jo, explained that her employer’s promises of confidentiality were undeliverable and advised Jo that she had done nothing wrong. At the HR meeting, Jo had been told she shouldn’t rock the boat as the DM was a high flyer, and it was suggested she take more time off. Jo rang the US to ask what was happening and they appointed their own investigators.

The investigators met with Jo and said her claim stood up. Two weeks later Jo was called to a meeting to explain two incidents: one was a year old and the other occurred on her day off work. We advised Jo to stay calm, warning that they were trying to set her up. At the meeting Jo was told she would get a final written warning. As she left the meeting, the DM was outside and she gave him a piece of her mind. She was then suspended. She asked us to put her in touch with litigation lawyers who helped her bring a Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) claim. At the door of the tribunal, her case was settled for over £100,000. We advised Jo to be open with her job applications and she now has another good job and is studying law in the evenings.

WHAT HAPPENED

Jo has no regrets and still values her former company, commenting that its ethics had been hijacked by one individual. Jo says she doubted she would have coped without the counselling and support that PCaW had provided.