Employers often expect loyalty from their employees. Why else would they have workers sign non-disclosure agreements? Or maintain company confidentiality?
Or threaten employees to keep illegal activities a secret?
Employee whistleblowers often wrestle with this sense of loyalty and the fear of retaliation. This loyalty is ingrained in our culture. However, The Huffington Post reports that those ideas of loyalty are shifting for employees in all fields, thanks to the #MeToo movement.
#MeToo and whistleblowing
The #MeToo movement started in 2017. The movement not only gave victims a national platform to expose sexual harassment, but also unite in solidarity. Celebrities joined too, famously derailing the career of Harvey Weinstein.
Many people view the movement primarily as a stand against sexual harassment. That is true. However, it is also whistleblowing at a massive scale. And its impact affects the culture of whistleblowing beyond reporting sexual harassment. It redefines the role and the abilities of the whistleblower.
The status of the whistleblower is changing fast
Stories of whistleblowers used to be one employee alone against a large interest. Even though the law was on their side, they generally stood alone.
Now, #MeToo gives employees allies nationwide. Whistleblowers do not have to muster up courage on their own. They have a community that is the first of its kind. This community boosts the courage and strength whistleblowers have against their employers.
Community could decrease the chances of retaliation
One of a whistleblower's common fears is employer retaliation. Retaliation is illegal, but that does not stop employers from intimidating or threatening employees.
In the past, retaliation was easier to cover up when it was against one person. This new community gives whistleblowers an audience to report acts of retaliation as well. Employers know this, and it could very well deter them from retaliating against employees.
Employees in Massachusetts and around the country all have a right to report immoral or illegal activities in their workplace. And the #MeToo movement has given all employees a fellowship and a stage that is beginning to overshadow employee loyalty.
Whistleblowing still requires an enormous amount of courage. Boston employment attorneys may help whistleblowers navigate this new platform, as well as take action against employer retaliation.