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The Whistleblower Fired Three Times for Exposing Criminal Activity


A security officer for a publicly owned transportation company in a European country had three dismissals overturned by a judge after an employment tribunal found they had been the result of retaliation for whistleblowing. The man had exposed a fraudulent scheme run by colleagues, including some management figures. It had led to what were described as “huge financial losses” for the city and its taxpayers.  

As a result of the case, the company was ordered to reinstate the man and to compensate him for the lost wages, welfare, social security contributions and trial costs.  

This anonymised case study highlights the importance of recognising whistleblowing as a tool to save companies from losses as well as to ensure compliance. Furthermore, it shows that retaliation against reporting persons is not tolerated by authorities and can result in action taken against businesses. 

The background

In the mid-2010s, the security officer for the company became aware that there was a flaw in its ticketing system. Upon investigation, he discovered that other employees were selling unregistered tickets for the transportation network without entering them into the computer systems and taking the money paid by travellers for themselves.  

The man in question made a formal complaint both internally and to the city’s mayor’s office. However, he reported that there was no action taken and blamed company management for this, even claiming that some members of the executive team were complicit in the illicit actions.  

Rather than act on the information, the company dismissed its security officer, launching two disciplinary actions and two legal actions against him.  

AdobeStock_175049273 The Whistleblower Fired Three Times-2

What happened next? 

The security officer successfully challenged his initial termination, only for the company to dismiss him once again. This time it claimed that he was being removed for threatening behaviour. In total, he was fired three times by the company. However, a judge found that there was no evidence to back up any one of his dismissals.  

Eventually, following extended legal action, the security officer was cleared of any wrongdoing. But this was not before the press began to take an interest in the case, exposing the trade in cloned tickets and causing reputational damage for the organisation.  

The court demanded that the company re-employ the worker, compensating him for the wages he missed, as well as for all welfare and social security payments that he would have made if he had remained in full employment. The organisation was also ordered to pay court costs for the employee.  

The worker told a whistleblower advocacy group in the country of the financial and psychological damage the situation had inflicted on him. He stated that, if he were to have his time again, he would not have come forward with his report. 

Potential outcomes 

This case occurred before the country in question implemented its version of the EU Whistleblowing Directive, which provides even more robust protections for whistleblowers. If this were to happen today, the company would receive a significant financial sanction for retaliating against a reporting person. It would also be liable for providing legal advice for the whistleblower as well as financial assistance and facilitating access to psychological support. The burden of proof is also on the company, not the reporter.  

How IntegrityLog helps

IntegrityLog is online whistleblower software that makes it easy for whistleblowers to make reports and simple for organisations to receive those reports in a manner compliant with the EU Whistleblowing Directive and GDPR 

The identity of the reporting person is confidential to everyone but the investigating team, with the opportunity for anonymous reporting too if the member state or company allows. The platform utilises a dashboard that helps you visualise the mandated deadlines for acknowledging and feeding back on reports, and both parties can communicate within the tool to ensure all information relevant to the case is passed on.  

Request a demo of IntegrityLog for your company today. 

References and further reading

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