Written by By Maira Dorner
Last week, the California-based advocacy group Informed Choice Inc. filed a complaint with the federal agency that enforces women’s rights, known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, calling for it to declare that corporate whistle-blowers have the same protections as whistleblowers in government agencies.
Earlier this year, women’s organizations, including the National Organization for Women, called on the EEOC to establish a “Whistleblower Protection Unit.” At least seven other organizations, including the Center for Gender Equity and the National Council of Women’s Organizations, made similar pleas last year.
Women workers are at risk of retaliation for speaking out about workplace injustices. Some are even unknowingly doing so. The risk of repercussions seems to go up as women get older. But even if you’re not a whistle-blower, you still might feel worried about speaking up or being approached by someone else about an unacceptable workplace situation.
Among the problems mentioned by the women’s groups is that whistle-blowing has long been considered an act of “serious personal betrayal” by the American workplace. An entire generation of people have grown up being taught that speaking up about bad behavior in the workplace is not only wrong but an act of “gross irresponsibility” as CNBC has described it.
In other words, women can be harassed, sexually harassed, harassed and still be perceived as a hard-working, smart, competent team player.