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]