Why an Unethical Workplace Can Cause You Stress

Unethical Workplace Can Can Lead To Stress

Without question, having a job carries a certain amount of stress. You worry about whether management will positively acknowledge your work, and whether the job you've done is worthy of a promotion or a raise in pay. This type of stress is typical. But, working on a job where management allows illegal operations can place even more stress on you, especially if you are not in agreement with the questionable practices.

Instilling Fear

Illegal practices in a workplace can proliferate when management creates a "culture of fear" in the workplace. In these types of environments, managers use “scare tactics” to motivate employees to work long hours without breaks, work extra hours without pay, or become dishonest. These tactics usually include threatening employees with losing their jobs and emphasizing how tough it is in today's economic climate to find a comparable job with comparable pay. There have been many reports of employees who worked for unethical workplace and in order to keep their jobs, were told to:

1. Distort facts to customers so that they would purchase a more expensive product.

2. Falsify documents or "cook the books," so to speak, to show shareholders that the company is profitable when, in fact, the company is actually losing money.

3. Discriminate against a certain employee because of race, sex or gender preference, in order to replace them with someone else favored by management.

4. Lie to customers who have safety concerns about the company's products.

5. "Seal the deal" by any means necessary, and "just don't tell" management how it was done.

A culture of fear in the workplace leads to a culture of hostility; management becomes hostile with employees and co-workers are hostile toward each other. The hostility is usually aimed at employees who refuse to follow unethical practices and speak out against them. These employees are either ostracized by management and accused of not being a team player, isolated by co-workers, or fired.

Not all employees will play into this culture of fear, becoming dishonest in order to keep their job. Unfortunately, the situations they find themselves in at work lead to more stress that could manifest into chronic health problems. At this point, there are two decisions they will have to make: Leave the job or become a "whistleblower."

Blowing the Whistle

The federal Whistleblower Protection Act is designed for employees to safely report illegal and unethical practices on their job without fear of reprisal. In November 2012, President Obama signed an enhancement to the act that provides rights to federal employees who want to report government corruption.

The act in and of itself is noble, but employees who have blown the whistle have had mixed results. While some have not lost their jobs, they did not see any changes made by corporate management after exposing the wrongdoing. Some employees left their jobs because of the fallout they knew would occur after blowing the whistle.

Daily stress on the job can take a toll on your health, if you are not careful. If you work for a company that promotes illegal behavior, you will eventually have to decide what to do. Talk to your family or close friends before taking any action. If you decide to stand up and “do the right thing,” maybe other employees will follow your example.

Lisa Coleman is a freelance writer and conscientious citizen who writes this article to provide information, resources, and support to those who are experiencing a hostile or toxic workplace. Whistleblower attorneys Goldberg Kohn inform clients of their rights as a witness of illegal company activity, and, at www.whistleblowersattorneys.com, provide that "Whistleblower laws often provide a financial reward, and a level of protection to those who do."


Thank you for sharing this information on being employed at an unethical workplace and the results of stress that can happen to the workers.


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