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Sara Ulloa-Alvarez Research Project 2013 BUS 1040

Research Project on Whistleblowing

Sara Ulloa-Alvarez Research Project 2013 BUS 1040

Sara Ulloa-Alvarez

Johnson, Roberta Ann. Whistleblowing: When It Works--and Why. Boulder: L. Rienner, 2003. Print.

Ciulla, Joanne B., Clancy W. Martin, and Robert C. Solomon. Honest Work: A Business Ethics Reader. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.

"Whistle Blower Laws." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2013.

"Whistleblower." - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2013.

Sara Ulloa-Alvarez Research Project 2013 BUS 1040

"Whistle Blower Laws." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2013.

In face Interview Joe Smith. July 22, 2013.

When did you decided to become a Whistleblower and why? Answer: I decided to become a whistleblower late December 2012. I had been working with X company for over a year and since I started they had me lying about a software fee that they would charge their customers for a direct connect connection via Quicken or QuickBooks.

Can you tell me more of the situation and how you knew that what was going on was wrong and unethical? Answer: I started working for the company in early June of 2011. I was hired on as an Online Technical Support agent assisting customer with their connection to Quicken and QuickBooks. I would help them with their connection and making sure that they had what they need to make sure that their experience with downloading their transactions was what they were looking for. Theres two kinds of connects available through these softwares. One was Web-Connect which is a manual process customers would have to take to pull their information into their software. They would have to visit X Companys web site and select their date range and import the information. The other option was Direct Connect is a connect established directly through the software and that connect type cost a fee. Well X company has asked all of their employees to tell the customer that the fee that is being charged for Direct Connect is a fee that Quicken or QuickBooks charges them for using the service but in all reality the one keeping the money for the service is X Company.

Why did that bother you to the extent of you exposing what was going on?

Sara Ulloa-Alvarez Research Project 2013 BUS 1040 Answer: Im a really honest person and to see that we were lying to our customers to get rid of the call and just send it over to another company to deal with, was just to unethical. Quicken and QuickBooks have to deal with high call volumes just because here at X company we didnt want to be honest and take fault for having to charge our customers for a fee based service. I dont see how weve made such a big deal about a couple of dollars. I believe our customers would understand if it was explained to them that we charge the fee because the third party charges us.

Was exposing the truth hard for you? And why did you take so long to tell someone? Answer: Yes, it was the hardest Ive ever had to do. The only person I could express my concerns to was my girl friend. I would tell her the situation and she would just get upset at me for not telling someone. She just didnt understand that I couldnt just complaint or report what was going on because the last person that tried got fired and couldnt prove that his termination was retaliation. See, theres a risk you take when exposing something that can potentially get a company in trouble. They can potentially lose customers from the exposure and that means that they would lose money and then would have to cut jobs to make up for the loose. There are a lot of things to think about. Who did you end up telling about the issue? And what was the outcome? Answer: I initially called Human Resource and the Ethics line to report what was going on. I informed them that I had done some research and that I found out that what we were doing was against the law. We were giving false information to our customers and blaming another institution. I gave them all the proof I had, like the emails I would receive from upper management asking me and my co-workers to lie. I gave them all the recorded calls I had of me lying to cover up our financial scheme. After doing that I felt a scenes of relieve, until they called me in to the big bosses office. On that they, in that moment my heart dropped to the floor 30 feet below ground. I didnt know what I was doing there and what they wanted me for. My first thought was that I was done for, that I was getting fired. Well to my surprise I wasnt getting fired. He just wanted to hear the story directly from me. I gave him the spill and he didnt seem really happy with what he heard. Then 3 weeks later I got a call from Human Resource, telling me that they had me under investigation because a woman reported me for asking her to sexual relations with me out in my car during my lunch break. I went in a state of shock. I couldnt believe my ears. They decided and determined that what I brought to them was serious, so to get rid of me they were looking for way and reasons to do. I just couldnt believe that the y would go to that extreme. I professionally informed that HR consultant that he was confused and calling the wrong person. I explained that I didnt own a car and I would never ask a co-worker to such act. Im a very religious man and the words described are words that I would use. Well they backed off and until this day the issue isnt resolved. They are still finding ways to get rid

Sara Ulloa-Alvarez Research Project 2013 BUS 1040 off me because they dont want to do the ethical thing and just change what were telling our customers. Have you started giving the customer the correct information? Answer: Yes, I started since the day I reported the issue. If they want to fire me for being honest than so be it. The only reason Im still here is because I want to change this to help the millions of customers weve lied to.

Whistleblowing, is it the right thing to do?

What a journey this has been. I learned so much I wouldnt have learned without this project. Whistleblowing is a life-changing event. I interview and old co-worker who would be addressed as Joe from a company addressed as Company X. We decided not to release any names to insure that the on going investigation is not released to the public since its still under investigation. I completed a 2 hour interview with Joe where he provided detailed information about his current situation with whistleblowing. Completing this interview helped me see a side of Joe that I thought I would never see or I even knew existed until he started expressing the issue one night we all got together with our booking reading club. He released the information to me because we used to work together and it was something I was already aware of. He told me like a 5 minute run down that night and I felt like I wanted to know more. Since I already knew I had my project to complete. When I asked him to

Sara Ulloa-Alvarez Research Project 2013 BUS 1040 help he was happy to do it and was excited that I asked. He had been waiting to express the matter to someone other than HR or his girlfriend. The interview was heart touching. Joe was willing to do what hundreds of employees werent willing to do. He was willing to put his butt on the line for the sake of the customers he services everyday. He has put a lot on the line and Im really proud of him. In my opinion what Joe did was the right thing. He should continue fighting for this to get fixed because its not fair to him or to his customers. Whistleblowers take the risk of losing their job or even getting killed. I see that as a heroic act. They should be compensated and protected. I know that there are laws in place for this situation but some whistleblowers have to go through the embarrassment of losing their job for standing up for whats right. I just feel that if more people like Joe would stand up our country would be a better place to live in. We wouldnt have to worry about reporting unethical acts. It should be something easy to do. Something that isnt going to cause fear or stress.