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Whistleblower - your thoughts please


Mikenhe
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I work for a large company in the USA.

We currently have a small team in the office that have arrived from a Branch in India. We are training them to do some of our work.

In order to be in the USA they were instructed to tell immigration that they were here on holiday as they wouldn't get Visa's to work here. For six weeks.

 

Next week a further three teams are arriving on the same premise to go over all of our work and see what can be moved abroad.

 

All three teams are "on holiday" as they wouldn't be able to get work visa's either.

 

As someone who moved to the USA and has legally gone through the process of getting a visa, green card and citizenship - with a lot of money and heartache along the way - I'm extremely frustrated that these people are lying to get into the USA and work here (obviously the fact that they are ultimately looking to take our jobs abroad is a major factor in this too) and even more so that the company is colluding with this by getting them to lie about the purpose of the visit.

 

I'm contemplating calling the company whistle blower hotline but also homeland security.

 

 

What position would you take - agree - or think I'm being an arse??

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It would depend on additional factors for me:

 

-If I generally liked the company

-If the company generally "does good" or is "evil"

-If the manager who instructed the foreigners to lie generally "does good" or is "evil"

 

Basically is this the first time you've seen foul play at this company and with these people, or is this part of a larger trend.  If it was one isolated event I might cut them some slack rather than screw up some peoples lives.

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Agree.  Entering the US under false pretenses is illegal.  This company is committing a crime.

with this logic you would rat out your neighbour to the police for smoking some weed in his back yard.

 

I would start to think, who is really  hurt by this? If something is illegal I dont give a shit, drinking whiskey was illegal in the 30's..

 

 

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I am an immigrant, going through the process and the heartache for a lot of years now...

 

If you are sure about the facts involved, then I would escalate it irrespective of the fact that I might lose my job to them or otherwise. If something is illegal, it is illegal. Not a lawyer, but I think willful blindness to something illegal is also illegal and might be construed as abetting the crime.

 

There are legal ways to do what you describe the team is doing, so not sure why they would choose this route..

 

 

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Agree.  Entering the US under false pretenses is illegal.  This company is committing a crime.

with this logic you would rat out your neighbour to the police for smoking some weed in his back yard.

 

I would start to think, who is really  hurt by this? If something is illegal I dont give a shit, drinking whiskey was illegal in the 30's..

 

They are not the same. An individual and a company are different. Also, if there were a legal way to smoke weed in your own backyard and yet my neighbour chose a illegal way, then I probably would complain.

 

Also it goes without saying, I believe that if we don't like a law, we should change it rather than encourage breaking it.

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That you are asking the board indicates to me that you know it is wrong and it doesn't sit well with you.  Follow your instinct.  You already know what you want to do.

 

If the moral aspect doesn't appeal to you then perhaps the fact that you are training them to do your job might help sway your decision.

 

You're company is exporting intellectual capital/knowledge by illegal means.  Bad enough it happens, but at least pay the proper costs to do so.

 

 

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If the company is doing something illegal, than you shouldn't feel bad about taking some action. However, you need to think about what your end goal is here?

 

Are you going to lose your job no matter what due to outsourcing, and so you are just trying to get some tiny bit of revenge by causing a headache and small fine to your firm? If so, probably not worth the reputation risk that you might take on this, and your time could be better served looking for a new job. I don't imagine there is much damage to the US government here where you could potentially get paid through the government's whistleblower program. If you are doing it because you think its the right thing to do, then go for it.

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Illegal does not necessarily equal wrong anymore than legal necessarily equals right.

 

If you want to hire someone to do a job and some government tells you no you can't hire that person.  I'd say legal or not you have every moral right to hire who you wish.  Although I do understand that this argument will be completely lost on most xenophobic Americans.  Your imaginary lines on a map are much more important to you than these mere human beings.

 

 

 

 

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it it's not hurting anyone and it really is just a temporary thing and that you are only feeling a bit upset because it's 'unfair' - but really at the end of the day a temporary situation - i'd say just move on.... life is too short to be bothered by this.  ;D

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Agree.  Entering the US under false pretenses is illegal.  This company is committing a crime.

with this logic you would rat out your neighbour to the police for smoking some weed in his back yard.

 

I would start to think, who is really  hurt by this? If something is illegal I dont give a shit, drinking whiskey was illegal in the 30's..

 

Don't think for one minute that there aren't a lot of people who would (and have done) just that.  Just as there will always be unjust laws, there will always be rats.  Especially with something like immigration laws where the ratting is motivated by fear of losing jobs to people who will work for less.

 

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Just my thought, but this company is taking a heck of a risk cornershooting regulations for this. i would think that there must be some legal way to do what they would like here.

 

There is no question of that.  The management of this company is exposing the company to tremendous legal risks here.  If my employer were doing such things, I wouldn't turn them in, but I would be updating my resume and looking for a more stable place to work. 

 

There are two questions here. One, do you rat them out? I'd say no.  The more important question you should be asking yourself is what legal risks are you exposing yourself to by working there? Are you depending on this loose cannon of a company for income?  Are you exposing yourself to risk just by being there and knowing what is going on if they do get caught?  Do you have plausible deniability?

 

There are lot's of things I have no moral problem with (breaking immigration laws, drug dealing, money laundering, gambling, prostitution, tax evasion, etc, etc, ), but I wouldn't want to have anything to do with people actually taking those legal risks.

 

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The US Visa system can be very difficult.

 

Immigration lawyers tend to put up good information on their websites (because they want to attract clients) if you really wanted to learn about it.

 

What position would you take - agree - or think I'm being an arse??

The latter.  It's likely a lose-lose situation if you bring it up.

 

From the company's perspective, they are the victim of stupid visa laws.

From the foreign workers' perspective, they just want to advance their position in life (like you, when you immigrated).  Perhaps some of them are truly talented and would like to move to the US; unfortunately for them it won't be happening.  Is it fair that they should have less opportunities in life because they weren't born in the right country?

As far as you go, the company may retaliate against you.

From your boss' perspective, your boss would rightfully be pissed off if one of his employees was trying to sabotage the company.

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Mikenhe:

 

You are not being an arse, and it is appalling that anybody would suggest that you are. To suggest that there may be negative repercussions for you is fine, but that should be the limit.

 

This may not be an isolated event for your company, and even if it really was the first, it will be a precedent. Further there are no doubt other companies are taking similar actions. So if you choose to report this, there may be a larger effect than simply addressing this event.

 

Steve

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Its still illegal to send employees as visitors and then ask them to work. When they enter as visitors and work, they won't be entitled or have protections by law for a fair wage. It's just like any other illegal alien worker.

 

My guess is that your company will probably be able to get away saying we don't know anything, we just hired this company to do this work for us and we have no responsibility of verification. These companies sometimes write it in their contract stating that verification costs are not reimbursable and that the contractor company needn't share verification results with company representatives, but shall furnish them upon request.

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The US Visa system can be very difficult.

 

Immigration lawyers tend to put up good information on their websites (because they want to attract clients) if you really wanted to learn about it.

 

What position would you take - agree - or think I'm being an arse??

The latter.  It's likely a lose-lose situation if you bring it up.

 

From the company's perspective, they are the victim of stupid visa laws.

From the foreign workers' perspective, they just want to advance their position in life (like you, when you immigrated).  Perhaps some of them are truly talented and would like to move to the US; unfortunately for them it won't be happening.  Is it fair that they should have less opportunities in life because they weren't born in the right country?

As far as you go, the company may retaliate against you.

From your boss' perspective, your boss would rightfully be pissed off if one of his employees was trying to sabotage the company.

 

This has nothing to do with depriving truly talented immigrant workers of their rights to move to the US or take my job. If my employer feels they can do a better job than me at a price cheaper than mine, my employer has every right to replace me with those individuals, wherever they are born. That's free market. I fully support that.

 

But if those same workers are being brought here illegally (when there are legal alternatives) to probably save a few dollars by circumventing the system, its not a fair market because they are artificially reducing their costs. If I can find an illegal way to reduce or not pay portion of my taxes because I think tax laws are stupid, I can also artificially reduce my costs. Would that be acceptable course to take?

 

We can debate whether the costs imposed by the immigration system are a form of trade barrier/protectionism (and I would definitely support the side arguing that it is a form of protectionism). But it doesn't mean those laws can be broken.

 

Just because we don't agree with a law doesn't give us the right to break it, whether the eventual result is fair/just. Just because we see some laws being broken, doesn't automatically mean we gain a right to break other laws.

 

 

 

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Thank you all for the responses!!

 

I have informed our compliance department (and did so before reading these responces). The reasoning is two fold.

 

First my company needs to maintain its integrity. If employees are lying about the reasons to enter the USA and potentially being encouraged to do so then that’s a major lapse in ethics that needs to be addressed and corrected. The intention may be well meaning but the effect is devastating for reputation.

 

Secondly if the employees are travelling here and entering the country under the incorrect visa then the effect of them has repercussions for them personally. If they are caught they could be fined, deported and never allowed to enter the States again. For those that are looking for a long term career with the company (or elsewhere) that could have a major negative impact on them personally.

 

By ensuring this is all done above board I believe that I’m acting in the best interests of the company and its employees.

The potential downside is that some of the short term goals of the employees may not be met – additionally If they have to return – or some others can’t travel for a short while then some of the short terms goals of the company may also be missed.

Ultimately I’ve been led to believe that the company is currently acting illegally (even if it is in its best interests) than as someone who has recently undergone compliance training I felt it was a matter of sufficient importance to report it internally.

 

If someone decides that I’ve caused too much trouble  and it leads to problems for be , well, that’s life. I’ll deal with the consequences of that and move on. I hope it is resolved soon.

 

BTW one of the team arriving shortly is a guy who I consider a friend – I’ll miss him being here but I’ll know I’m also protecting him in the long term.

 

The dice has been thrown  - lets see what happens.

 

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Thank you all for the responses!!

 

I have informed our compliance department (and did so before reading these responces). The reasoning is two fold.

 

First my company needs to maintain its integrity. If employees are lying about the reasons to enter the USA and potentially being encouraged to do so then that’s a major lapse in ethics that needs to be addressed and corrected. The intention may be well meaning but the effect is devastating for reputation.

 

Secondly if the employees are travelling here and entering the country under the incorrect visa then the effect of them has repercussions for them personally. If they are caught they could be fined, deported and never allowed to enter the States again. For those that are looking for a long term career with the company (or elsewhere) that could have a major negative impact on them personally.

 

By ensuring this is all done above board I believe that I’m acting in the best interests of the company and its employees.

The potential downside is that some of the short term goals of the employees may not be met – additionally If they have to return – or some others can’t travel for a short while then some of the short terms goals of the company may also be missed.

Ultimately I’ve been led to believe that the company is currently acting illegally (even if it is in its best interests) than as someone who has recently undergone compliance training I felt it was a matter of sufficient importance to report it internally.

 

If someone decides that I’ve caused too much trouble  and it leads to problems for be , well, that’s life. I’ll deal with the consequences of that and move on. I hope it is resolved soon.

 

BTW one of the team arriving shortly is a guy who I consider a friend – I’ll miss him being here but I’ll know I’m also protecting him in the long term.

 

The dice has been thrown  - lets see what happens.

 

Well done!

 

I agree that you really are helping out the immigrant workers in the long term, by making them come here legally.

 

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Guest wellmont

my experience is whistle blowers don't fare too well in this society. think about human nature as well. "no good deed goes unpunished".

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Just one thing - the whole 'it was hard for me to get into the country, why should it be easy for them' argument is just stupid. It's a grown-up equivalent to the fourth graders saying that it's right to bully first-graders because when they were in first grade the fourth-graders bullied them.

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