I receive hundreds of press releases every day. Most are designed to entice me and my staff to give someone or something some free publicity. Others are designed to convince us to write negative things about someone or something.
With that kind of volume, it’s difficult for any particular press release to stand out from the rest. Then there are those rare exceptions…
I recently received a press release from a Milwaukee law firm. The press release carried the following headline: “A Rat in the House: Detecting, Preventing and Responding to Employee Whistleblowers.”
The press release invited business owners to attend a seminar to be led by two expert attorneys. One attorney’s bio says his “practice focuses on all areas of labor and employment law, particularly employment-related litigation. His experience includes defending class actions under ERISA, the FLSA, the ADA and Title VII as well as high stakes complex litigation, such as EEOC enforcement actions, whistleblower matters and unfair competition/trade secret misappropriation matters.”
The other attorney’s bio says, “His experience includes many years representing the interests of health care providers in state and federal trial and appellate courts. He often represents health care providers who have become the focus of state or federal audits or investigations or when facing qui tam and civil false claims allegations.”
Here’s some text from the actual press release about the seminar: “Program overview: This seminar will provide a quick review of federal and state whistleblower authorities preliminary to a discussion of employer strategies for detecting and heading off potential whistleblower complaints, with a particular focus on the health care industry. We will also discuss strategies for dealing lawfully with internal whistleblowers that are still employed and potential defenses and strategies for the inevitable retaliation claim…Who Should Attend: This seminar is designed for in-house counsel, health care, and human resources professionals, as well as other interested corporate executives. We will apply for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education credit in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, and Wisconsin. We will issue a Certificate of Attendance to Arizona attendees as the State Bar of Arizona does not approve or accredit CLE activities for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement.”
I think that press release misses a greater point. I’ve got a better idea, and I won’t even charge you a cent to hear it: Be ethical and don’t do evil things that would make a response to a whistleblower even remotely necessary in the first place.
Or put another way, “We might be doing the wrong thing if…”
Still confused? Here’s another ethical compass for you: What would your mother think?