Wal-Mart Refuses Anonymity For Whistleblowers

I just love sticking it to Wal-Mart. What crime hasn’t this mega-corporate SPECTRE-wannabe been accused of? Anyway, they may not have even done anything wrong in this case; after all, the accuser, Chalace Epley Lowry, is not yet entirely out of the company and the accused might actually be innocent. Nonetheless, shouldn’t companies be required to allow anonymous reporting of ethics violations?

From the Wake-Up Wal-Mart blog:

An employee who scrupulously followed the company’s own ethics guidelines may find herself out of a job… “We were told that even if we see something that has the appearance of something unethical we should report it,” says Lowry. Now, two weeks after filing a complaint against a more senior executive, the 50-year-old mother of two finds herself looking for another job.

Lowry is the first to admit that she didn’t know whether the Wal-Mart executive had done anything wrong. Mona Williams, the vice-president for corporate communications, had asked Lowry to photocopy some papers related to stocks. When Lowry found out a few days later that Wal-Mart was planning a $15 billion stock buyback, she worried that Williams might have traded on insider information by exercising her stock options. “In all honesty, Mona’s transactions could all have been aboveboard,” she says, “but I acted in good faith, just pointing out that there might have been some wrongdoing.”

Lowry, never given the opportunity to conceal her identity, asked to be transfered away from the boss she reported, putting her in internal limbo and making her, technically, jobless. If she doesn’t “find” a position in the company within a few weeks, she may find that she accidentally quit.

The most Wal-Martian part of all this is the fact that, in all of the company’s responses, Wal-Mart spells Lowry’s last name with an “e” in it. — BRIAN FAIRBANKS

Wal-Mart’s Latest Ethics Controversy [Wake-Up Walmart]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. mopar_man says:

    Oh Wal-Mart. What won’t you do to become the world’s worst company?

  2. Darren W. says:

    Sounds like they did her a favor.

  3. gabrieltjones says:

    “Lowry, never given the opportunity to conceal her identity, ASKED TO BE TRASFERD AWAY FROM THE BOSS SHE REPORTED, putting her in internal limbo and making her, technically, jobless.’” Ms. Lowry should have kept her job not asked for a new one. She created an issue with her job status she should fix it herself Wal-Mart did not transfer her she asked for it. It’s called Personal Responsibility

  4. gabrieltjones says:

    “Lowry, never given the opportunity to conceal her identity, ASKED TO BE TRASFERD AWAY FROM THE BOSS SHE REPORTED, putting her in internal limbo and making her, technically, jobless.’” Ms. Lowry should have kept her job not asked for a new one. She created an issue with her job status she should fix it herself Wal-Mart did not transfer her she asked for it. It’s called Personal Responsibility

  5. iMike says:

    Meh. Nothing unique to Wal-Mart here. Would you want a rat working for you?

    I thought not.

  6. bedofnails says:

    This stinks of some office monkey not having a clue as to what she was insinuating or believing.

    Mona Williams, the vice-president for corporate communications, had asked Lowry to photocopy some papers related to stocks.

    …she worried that Williams might have traded on insider information by exercising her stock options. “In all honesty, Mona’s transactions could all have been aboveboard,” she says, “but I acted in good faith, just pointing out that there might have been some wrongdoing.”

    Her good faith sounds more like an lack of understanding corporate “goings-ons” as well as any and all regulations and policy’s regarding the FTC, and the like. She deserves to get fired, or reprimanded. Instead of using the appropriate outlets and research completely available to her, she immediately made outlandish and defamatory allegations against her boss.

  7. TechnoDestructo says:

    @iMike:

    What does it say about you if you’d choose a criminal over a rat?

  8. bedofnails says:

    @TechnoDestructo:

    No where does it say the boss in question was a criminal, but rather the coffee jockey was insubordinate, (read self proclaimed whistle blower) and is now looking for moral support.

    The lesson, if your going to sling allegations at someone higher on the food chain, make sure you know what the hell you’re talking about, additionally, insure the aforementioned allegations are factual.

  9. iMike says:

    ^
    No criminals here, nor as far as the story reads any reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

    Stupid employees perish in corporate America. At Wal-Mart or anywhere else.

  10. chili_dog says:

    Looks like wal-mart will have to add “How to spot insider trading in 12 easy steps” to their new hire orientation.

  11. ahwannabe says:

    Wal-Martian is my new favorite word.

  12. grandaardvark says:

    She might have not known exactly what she was reporting but…

    “We were told that even if we see something that has the appearance of something unethical we should report it,”

    She followed company rules, and was not protected. I personally think that there should be some wording to the effect of Wal Mart will keep your identity anonymous if you do report questionable acts. Let’s see if anyone else reports “questionable” behavior…

  13. bhall03 says:

    @iMike: Apparently the company wants people like Lowry working there. They have an ethics policy and ask people to report anything suspicious as most every company requests.

    I do agree that there should be a way to make it anonymous, and I do agree that she brought some of this on herself when she asked for a transfer. If a company has an ethics policy, they also should have a policy against retribution for reporting potential ethics violations.

  14. iMike says:

    @bhall03: They have an “ethics” policy as window dressing. They don’t really want employees to report potential ethics violations. They want to avoid the kind of criticism they got when Julie Roehm played footsie with Draft and got fired, and the sequelae from that event, including her accusations of ethical lapses by Scott and others.

  15. Trick says:

    So why are the Wal*Mart bashers upset? One less idiot working at Wal*Mart, right?

    After all, *ALL* workers at Wal*Mart are slack-jawed Nascar watching idiots so where’s the cheering and jubilation?

  16. MacManiac says:

    This story is utterly insane.

    How can Lowry claim that she “acted in good faith” by blowing the whistle when there was absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever?

    I suspect that jealousy over the stock options lies at the heart of this “good faith” act.

    Would anyone really want a person like Lowry reporting to them? I’m not surprised that Wal-Mart executives aren’t exactly tripping over each other to snap her up.

    Maybe somebody should “act in good faith” and warn the police in Lowry’s town to keep an eye on her in case she has to resort to crime to support her family.

    After all, that’s the “good faith” thing to do, and I’m sure she would approve.