Being caught between helping an employer and doing what is right can be an extremely precarious position. When a worker in Wisconsin decides to come forward about misconduct or even illegal workplace behavior, they have to put a lot on the line. This is why there are supposed to be measures in place that protect those who engage in whistleblowing, but those protections sometimes fall short.
The head of U.S. sales for Fiat Chrysler recently filed a lawsuit against his employer. Reid Bigland claims that his employer retaliated against him after he cooperated with the Securities and Exchange Commission while the agency investigated the company’s sales-reporting practices. According to his lawsuit, Fiat Chrysler withheld approximately 90% of what should have been his pay when they found out about his cooperating with the investigation.
Being a top executive did not prevent Bigland from retaliation. He has worked for Fiat Chrysler for around 22 years and has been in his current position of leading U.S. sales since 2011. He provided the SEC with information regarding the company’s reporting practices earlier this year in Jan. 2019. The retaliation apparently began soon after.
Top-level employees or those who have been working at the same company for quite some time might think that they are safe from retaliation related to whistleblowing. Sadly, this is rarely the case. No matter how long an employee has worked at a given company or how significant their position is, many employers still try to squash out future acts of whistleblowing by harshly retaliating. Wisconsin workers who have experienced such retaliation may want to consider pursuing compensation not only to address their own damages, but to also improve the circumstances for future whistleblowers.