When Chalace Lowry reported her suspicions that her boss was possibly engaged in insider trading, it set off a four-month-long ordeal where she was questioned repeatedly by various departments within the company, outed to her boss as the snitch, and—when she subsequently requested a transfer—told she had 60-90 days to find a new position on her own or get out—not the most supportive response from a company that only a few months earlier sent her to a training seminar on corporate ethics.
Her boss was found innocent, but regardless of that, it seems odd to make the follow-up procedures for a trained whistleblower so punishing. “The past four months have been very hard and, in my opinion, unfair to an honest, 51-year-old woman who chose to do the right thing,” she told BusinessWeek, who broke the story this summer and published a follow-up this week. In September, Lowry filed a complaint with OSHA, which forbids retaliation against whistleblowers under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
On October 1st, Wal-Mart informed Lowry that her new position is permanent, but coincidentally the woman she is now working under “was the attorney at Enron who was given the task of handling Sherron Watkins’ request for reassignment to a new position after Watkins wrote a memo to then-CEO Ken Lay questioning the company’s accounting.”
On a positive note, it’s likely that nobody at Wal-Mart HQ will ever ask Lowry to make photocopies for them. Good luck, Chalace Lowry! We’re rooting for ya!