Should I be a whistle blower at work? (self.asktrp)

submitted by golden_pikachu


I've been at a company for 5 years that I've been trying to leave.

I've recently found a paper trail where my direct boss has been taking company funds for personal use. My manager also seems to take advantage of his position and hardly show up at the office and has cost the company money already through poorly managed projects. He has us do free work for his friends or other local businesses off the books, so he can get discounts and free services.

I don't think the owner is aware, but should I let the owner know with the proof I have? I have examples of forged accounts with fake client names, claiming there putting money into the company etc.

Part of me wants to speak up, because if I got fired for coming forward, it could be viewed as unlawful dismissal and I'd be taken care of on my way out.

How would you guys handle this? Thanks

[–]horologist2018 98 points99 points  (0 children)

From everything you described, sounds like you should blow the whistle. Any owner who likes his money is going to love you forever for bringing this to his attention. If he's a bad business owner, he'll shoot the messenger (you), and like you said; you'd be taken care of.

[–]aaaGreg 65 points66 points  (4 children)

How is your relationship with the owner? How are their relationships with the owner?

The owner might be aware and in on it, so tread lightly.

[–]FatGirlsInPartyHats 33 points34 points  (2 children)

This is the correct answer. Things are rarely as black and white as you'd might suspect. There could be some seriously shady shit going on and you could easily become the "problem". Getting rid of someone for something like this without incurring legal trouble is SUPER easy.

If you're trying to leave the company then leave and tell him on your way out as a courtesy.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

This doesn't sound like shady shit because the manager is doing favors to local businesses. It doesn't seem like the business is a front for a drug cartel. Then you never know, your boss is Guss Fring.

[–]FatGirlsInPartyHats 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Shady when you're pocketing money and not reporting it. That's tax evasion at the very least or embezzlement depending on how they company is structured.

[–]jackandjill22 10 points11 points  (0 children)

This is precisely what I was going to say. People in upper management usually have strong ties to the company if you catch my drift. They may not care about it but if you get the law involved or something it'll disrupt the status quo. When they severe your ties with it you probably won't be able to rely on the law to clean up the mess because they'll be attempting to cover their ass.

It's like a kickback.

[–]SeriousAccount0 23 points24 points  (0 children)

Get hard evidence of all of this before you say anything, and have a copy at home. I'd definitely say something. It's always nice to fuck over evil people and if you can make money doing it, why not? As long as you don't screw up your reputation within whatever industry you're in and make it harder for yourself later on.

[–]3nebder 15 points16 points  (4 children)

Didn’t say how big the operation was. Hard to imagine a situation where an owner involved in daily operations and the finances would be unaware of this going on, particularly forged accounts. It takes a few minutes of looking over payables to question why you’re cutting checks for invoices you don’t recognize.

Tread lightly here. If your intentions are pure then play dumb and just say hey I found this stuff that looks odd to me. Can you also look into it. If your intentions are vengeful against your soon to be former boss be careful you never know when an old contact can help you out in the right situation.

I’d personally say not my monkeys not my circus and move on to the next job.

[–]golden_pikachu[S] 19 points20 points  (3 children)

The owner is an old retired guy that pops by every year and a half. He just focuses on vacationing and having money come in. I'm sure he'd be pissed to know someone is taking from his pockets.

[–]MrAgamemnon 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Remember: No good deed goes unpunished.

The owner is an old retired guy that pops by every year and a half. ... I'm sure he'd be pissed to know someone is taking from his pockets.

That's his problem for not being actively involved in his business.

[–]3nebder 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Maybe he would be pissed. Maybe he’d think your boss is skimming a bit but still producing for the owner and company, so he helped himself to a bit of unauthorized bonus so fucking what. Maybe the juice is worth the squeeze. Maybe the owner just dgaf while he’s got a thing generating enough cash to keep him living the high life. You don’t need 8 figures for financial freedom, you need enough to be comfortable.

You are greatly risking getting blackballed from your industry. The industry I am in is quite incestuous. You get a reputation like this and you’ll never shake it.

Your life your ethics. Decide what you can live with.

[–]HurricaneHugues 9 points10 points  (0 children)

You should be ready to jump ship. Start sending out resumes and applications to other jobs. Contact a legal advisor first. And THEN make your move. You also need to collect enough documentation as well to prove your claims.

I say definitely do it.

[–]FearGarbhArMait 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Talk to the owner and keep it private, attempt to leverage the opportunity into a promotion. Loyalty is costly.

[–]dickcomments 7 points8 points  (3 children)

CEO here.

You don't give enough information for a proper answer, such as:

1) How large the co is 2) Is it in a regulated industry 3) Is there an HR department 4) Does the company have a code of conduct/ethics agreement 5) Did you come about the information during the course of your normal job/duties

If it is truly defrauding the company, you are now a party to it if you don't speak up (translation - you could be considered part of the crime if charges are brought) So, the question isn't should you... it is how should you.

Can you please provide more info and I'd be happy to provide some potential paths for you.

[–]golden_pikachu[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

The company has downsized 3 times in 3 years. They keep just enough people on staff to barely run the place. We have about 11-12 employees where we used to have 50.

I think they purposely keep the number low to keep more of the profit but to also not give us things like sick days etc. It honestly looks like the place may close down in another year or so.

[–]dickcomments 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I gave you 5 specific questions, you only answered one.

Sorry, can't help you.

[–]golden_pikachu[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

  1. 11-12 people
  2. Not regulated
  3. No
  4. No
  5. Yes

[–]bama79rolltide 10 points11 points  (0 children)

An owner would want to know. Bring all the paperwork with you. Go to a dinner. Ethics matter.

[–]orezavi 2 points3 points  (0 children)

From what I learned, focus on interest and power. Your boss might be powerful but is it in his interest to know that YOU are snitching on them? Is it in YOUR interest?

[–][deleted]  (4 children)


[–]MisterDSTP 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Record it illegally?

[–]DirtyBastard13 1 point2 points  (2 children)

May not be illegal depending on where you live, and the punishment of illegal recording might be outweighed by the benefit of recording.

[–]MisterDSTP 0 points1 point  (1 child)

But could the evidence be used if it was recorded illegaly?

[–]DirtyBastard13 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In a court of law, perhaps not, but might be useful elsewhere.

[–]assholesfinish1st 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The best time to find a job is when you have a job. Having options gives you power. Whatever you decide, say nothing until you have an offer in place.

[–]4Sammich 4 points5 points  (1 child)

When you leave will you be going to a direct, local competitor?

Do your bosses have connections with those operations?

Are you ready to be deposed should that come to a criminal proceeding and have verifiable information that you were SUPPOSED to have access to in order to discover the fraud?

If you do this anonymously can access to the files and data in question be linked back to you or is it an "All fingers in the pie" kinda program?

Are you ready to be blacklisted from your industry and become nearly unemployable in it? Are you open to literally abandoning the last 5 years of experience because you can't stay in that field?

This happened to a very good friend of mine when he whistle blew AND he had governmental protections.

[–]golden_pikachu[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My field is tech based but my company is the laughing stock of our city. My company is not innovative or up to date one anything design wise. I'm not sure they have connections with better companies.

[–]2chazthundergut 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Do what you think is best.

But if it were me, I would keep my mouth shut.

Just as a personal rule, I never snitch. Unless it is a safety issue

[–]MisterDSTP 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]chockle 1 point2 points  (0 children)

if you are ok with the possibility of no longer being employed at the company. fire away.

[–]Goal10der 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Don’t get involved, you want to leave the company anyway. Make a peaceful and blissful exit.

[–]classicrando 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Uf you do, create a new email address at home on a non-work machine. Then create multiple deadman mechanisms to release the data to the press, poliice and personal friends/family of yours.

[–]Yog-Nigurath 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Keep us updated!

[–]friendandadvisor 1 point2 points  (1 child)

If the owner says "Who else knows about this?", while locking the door, start fighting your way out!

[–]MisterDSTP 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]unique_leek_critique 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would report it to the owner. Just bring proof and as much documentation as you can. My general rule of thumb when approached with these work ethical scenarios is "how would I want to be treated" ... ie, if you were the owner, would you want someone to come forward? Yeah, you would.

Don't be "dramatic" when you tell the owner, stick to the facts, be non-emotional, just say you like working there and don't appreciate someone draining money from the company as you want the company to do well. Chances are you'll get promoted.

[–]Original_Username7 0 points1 point  (1 child)

As a business owner, I would definitely want you to let me know if it is costing me money. But if you think it's just a part of the culture, then keep your lips sealed and look for a new job.

[–]golden_pikachu[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It may be a part of the culture, a lot of people who have been there a long time are bending the rules a little too much.

[–]DirtyBastard13 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Consult a lawyer. Keep your mouth shut (tell no one, you don't know who's in on it) Gather evidence, document everything and keep backups off-site. Part of me wants to advise you to keep your mouth shut lest they fire you or pin it all on you. Shit rolls downhill not uphill, the management will get rid of the rank and file before they get rid of the brass.

People get away with illegal stuff all the time and the laws aren't for the protection of the little guy. By speaking up you may be blackballed in the industry. The unlawful dismissal can be gotten around by blaming any other infraction you've committed.

At one place I worked at, the managers were embezzling/underreporting revenue and the owner (who claimed she wasn't and offered rewards for the identity of the one who was stealing) was almost certainly in on it. I kept my mouth shut because I needed the job and didn't want the manager to pin the blame on me. (also had no hard evidence to prove any of it) The guy who reported it got fired a few days afterward. The head manager resigned but was still welcome back for special events (fishy). After a year the same manager who embezzled was back.

Perhaps the local labor commission or EEOC would be interested in hearing about this. If you must tell the owner, present clear evidence of what is happening, and who is doing it, including evidence that it wasn't you. If you could record that conversation, do so.

[–]golden_pikachu[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow that's crazy. Only my manager and a few other higher-ups can actually create client accounts on our system. I can leave notes once they're created if I've done any work on them.

He will take money from the company to do marketing and advertising for his friends businesses, paying for things like Google AdWords, but will then change the name on the account to a fake name like Bob Smith. So there is thousands being taken from company funds, but there is no actual Bob Smith paying us. My manager has multiple accounts created like this.

[–]Joeboard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

First of all, what do you mean "trying to leave"? No one is forcing you to work there.

This is a good opportunity for blackmail.

[–]terminaldoubt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Blackmail the boss

[–]MrAgamemnon 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What do you have to gain by blowing the whistle?

Probably nothing.

Document everything just to protect yourself and start looking for a new job.

Nothing good will come of this.

[–]mounted2czarina -1 points0 points  (2 children)

Maybe. But try to blackmail him first.

[–]DirtyBastard13 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Could backfire in a number of ways.

[–]mounted2czarina -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Yeah, for the guy being blackmailed. The downy owl will be neither averse nor adverse to his sleeplessness and worries.

[–]30aughtfool -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

Man, is it your company? Snitches get stitches. Stay in your lane.

[–]Whodatunkit -1 points0 points  (0 children)

When contemplating issues such as this. Ask yourself a few questions for THEIR point of view. So: 1. How would I defend myself against such allegations? (Sick family member, drug/alcohol issues, mental health problems, etc.) 2. I know you're not happy and want to leave this company. You are just being a spoil sport for the rest of us. Just hurry up and leave. 3. I've got contacts,this guy will never work again.

That's it. Good Luck!

[–][deleted] -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Mind your business, snitches die. Nobody respects a brown nosing pansy whistleblower. Is he stealing your money? Exactly. Stop listening to these “red pill alphas” who are real life pussys who come to the Internet to figure out how to get laid.