I was a whistleblower and got fired — what do I tell future employers?

I called out my employers because they were engaged in some very suspicious behavior with a compliance law that the auditor had overlooked. When I challenged, this auditor told my manager. Two days later I was let go, after refusing to sign an attestation which would have been fraud. How do I address this when asked why I no longer work there?

What you describe is wrongful termination, and you could be protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act, which prevents employers from retaliating against employees for reporting violations.

Given what you have said, I highly recommend that you seek the advice of an attorney.

As far as what to say to a prospective employer, without revealing too much, saying that you were uncomfortable with some of the employers’ practices and decided to leave could be a viewed as a positive attribute.

However, this is an important reminder to everyone: If you are terminated, discuss with your employer what they will say on a reference.

It can often be negotiated.

What I wouldn’t say is that you were fired and the reason why, particularly if you sue your employer — saying that you are in a legal dispute with your former employer will throw up red flags and give a prospective employer pause.

Salary negotiation.
A woman asks about being promoted for a lesser title and pay than the man whose position she’s replacing.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

My boss left and my employer wants to promote me into his role. However, my boss was an SVP and they only want to give me a VP title and pay me less. I think it’s because I’m a woman, and they wouldn’t treat a man the same way. Any advice?

What’s on the surface may seem unfair or discriminatory, but there can be legitimate reasons why two people can have the same job but different titles and compensation, like tenure, experience, performance or other considerations.

It’s not uncommon for companies to reevaluate a role or compensation when an executive leaves.

Before you assume the worst, ask why you are being offered a lesser title and compensation than your boss, while at the same time expressing gratitude for the promotion and the career development opportunity.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. Hear Greg Wed. at 9:35 a.m. on iHeartRadio 710 WOR with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. Email: Follow: and on Twitter: @GregGiangrande

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