Considerably More Snitches Actually Getting Stitches Around The Office These Days

Last week, we discussed the whistleblower payout awarded to Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS employee who single-handedly made the government’s case against the Swiss bank re: tax evasion, scoring the US between $780 million and $5 billion, depending on how much credit you want to give him. Earlier in the month, Birkenfeld secured a $104 million bonus from the IRS for his assistance, though only after a lot of hoop jumping, nearly three years in a federal prison, and several months in a halfway house, prompting us to wonder how much money, if any, it would take to get you to blow the whistle on some colleagues playing it fast and loose with the law,* if you would do time for it, and, if so, how much? Today brings one more issue to consider, should you be seriously considering teaching your coworkers a lesson they'll never forget, which is: are you will to get your face rearranged and/or have your hand stapled to your desk? Because it will probably come to that. “The number one weapon used at work is the fist,” says Larry Barton, a professor and leading expert in workplace violence who estimates more than 1.2 million Americans were assaulted at work by a coworker in the past calendar year. The second most popular weapon? The stapler on your desk. A new report from the Ethics Resource Center shows that physical violence at work as retaliation against whistle blowing is on the rise. Since 2009, the percentage of people who’ve reported misconduct at work and were victims of physical harm jumped more than 25%. By these tallies, both fists and staplers have been getting quite the workout. Just something to think about. When Snitches Get Stitches: Physical Violence As Workplace Retaliation On The Rise [Forbes via Heidi Moore] *Be it securities laws or simply workplace etiquette, i.e. don't grab someone to chat for "just a quick sec" when they're clearly heading out the door to flee this asylum for the night.
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Last week, we discussed the whistleblower payout awarded to Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS employee who single-handedly made the government’s case against the Swiss bank re: tax evasion, scoring the US between $780 million and $5 billion, depending on how much credit you want to give him. Earlier in the month, Birkenfeld secured a $104 million bonus from the IRS for his assistance, though only after a lot of hoop jumping, nearly three years in a federal prison, and several months in a halfway house, prompting us to wonder how much money, if any, it would take to get you to blow the whistle on some colleagues playing it fast and loose with the law,* if you would do time for it, and, if so, how much? Today brings one more issue to consider, should you be seriously considering teaching your coworkers a lesson they'll never forget, which is: are you will to get your face rearranged and/or have your ear stapled to your spacebar?**

Because it will probably come to that.

“The number one weapon used at work is the fist,” says Larry Barton, a professor and leading expert in workplace violence who estimates more than 1.2 million Americans were assaulted at work by a coworker in the past calendar year. The second most popular weapon? The stapler on your desk. A new report from the Ethics Resource Center shows that physical violence at work as retaliation against whistle blowing is on the rise. Since 2009, the percentage of people who’ve reported misconduct at work and were victims of physical harm jumped more than 25%. By these tallies, both fists and staplers have been getting quite the workout.

Just something to think about.

When Snitches Get Stitches: Physical Violence As Workplace Retaliation On The Rise [Forbes via Heidi Moore]

*Be it securities laws or simply workplace etiquette laws, i.e. don't grab someone to chat for "just a quick sec" when they're clearly heading out the door to flee this asylum for the night.
**Just a for instance. Could be hand to desk, tongue to tie, foot to mouth, whatever. Relatedly, to the researchers studying these trends or the people who have actually done this: How does one make the decision to go with the stapler over the fist? Obviously any sort of history of violence is not going to look good on a résumé, but the stapler seems considerably more psychotic than the hand-as-weapon. You're not coming back from that and might as well have taken it upon yourself to remove someone's wisdom teeth with a pair of pliers, for how people are going to look at you moving forward.

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UBS Whistleblower's $104 Million Award Poses Interesting Conundrum For Would-Be Snitches

Remember Bradley Birkenfeld? He's the guy who single-handedly made the U.S. government’s case against UBS and forced the Swiss bank to hand over the names of thousands of tax cheats, which resulted in the US scoring $780 million from UBS and may have inspired some 33,000 Americans to "voluntarily disclose offshore accounts to the IRS, generating more than $5 billion." And yet, despite his assistance, Birkenfeld wasn't immediately thanked for a job well done. Instead, he was sentenced to forty months in prison (fair-ish, considering he showed a few clients how to avoid paying taxes himself) and told to piss off by the Internal Revenue Service, from whom he sought an award, because he was "not forthcoming about his own role in the scheme," even as a Justice Department attorney admitted that "...without Mr. Birkenfeld walking into the door of the Department of Justice in the summer of 2007, I doubt as of today that this massive fraud would have been discovered by the US government" (or as his lawyer put it, "They didn't know how to spell UBS until he showed up. He didn't just give them a piece of the puzzle. He gave them the entire puzzle"). Now, after doing 32 months at Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution, getting let out early on account of "good-time credit," and living in a halfway house in New Hampshire, Birkenfeld has finally been thrown a bone. Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS AG banker who told the Internal Revenue Service how the bank helped thousands of Americans evade taxes, secured an IRS award of $104 million, an amount his lawyers said may be the largest ever for a U.S. whistle-blower. Birkenfeld told authorities how UBS bankers came to the U.S. to woo rich Americans, managed $20 billion of their assets, and helped them cheat the IRS. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008, a year after reporting the bank’s conduct to the Justice Department, U.S. Senate, IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. He was released from prison Aug. 1...Birkenfeld, 47, worked at Zurich-based UBS, the largest Swiss bank, for five years. He sought a reward from the IRS of as much as 30 percent of any taxes the agency recovered as a result of his whistle-blowing activities. Clearly this whole thing should stir up a few questions inside you all, chief among them: how much money would it take to get you to befriend or get yourself employed with some rogue people so you can blow the whistle on them? Would you do any time for it? If so, how much? And are we talking Club Fed or a place where your roommate spoons you every night? UBS Whistle-Blower Secures $104 Million Award From IRS [Bloomberg]

Bloomberg: Everyone Sleeps At The Office

Are you just waking up from a nap, perhaps your second of the day? Did you take it under your desk, curled up on the conference room floor, or in a bathroom stall? If the idea of regularly catching a few winks at your place of work sounds like a fireable offense, relax: apparently everyone is doing it, says Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Yes, from the people who brought you "90 percent of Wall Street does calisthenics in the middle of the trading floor," comes "Sleeping On The Job? Good! Overachievers Do." According to BBW, "many Wall Street types use power-napping to make up for lost sleep," at the office. Where do these naps take place? Wherever looks comfy and you can fit a pillow and an eye mask if overhead lights are an issue. Got some colleagues who haven't gotten the memo and continue to rudely pound the keyboard as though they don't know you're trying to get some sleep here? One woman recommended "heading out to the car to recharge." Sleepy Bankers Take Secret Naps [Bloomberg] Sleeping on the Job? Good! Overachievers Do [BusinessWeek] Related: The “Workout Taking Over Wall Street” Involves Treating Your Place Of Work Like Your Own Personal “Curves”

Bank Of America Makes Policy On Flashing Your Bare Ass At The Office Clear

Do you anticipate that at some point the future, in a moment of anger, you'll get the urge to unbuckle your belt, drop trou, and display your ass in the direction of your superiors? Do you hope to keep your job afterwards? If so, just a forewarning: Bank of America is not the company for you. Send a resumé to Citigroup or KKR or wherever. According to court documents, Jason Selch's friend Chris O'Dea was fired after he refused to accept lower compensation. This ticked Selch off. Selch burst into a conference room where executives from Columbia were meeting to give them a piece of his mind. He wound up giving them a piece of something else as well. First Selch asked if he had a non-compete agreement, which on Wall Street is usually a way of threatening to quit and go to work for a competitor. After the executives said he didn't have a non-compete, Selch mooned them, told one of the New York-based executives never to return to Chicago, and left the meeting. Extraordinarily, Selch wasn't fired. Instead he was issued a formal warning. Selch’s boss testified that while 99 percent of employees would have been immediately fired, Selch was one of the one percent who could be granted a one free mooning reprieve. The executive actually fought for Selch to keep his job. When Columbia CEO Brian Banks found out about this incident, he insisted that Selch be fired. The behavior was too “egregious” to allow Selch to continue at Columbia. No free mooning at Bank of America, Banks decided—even if you are in the one percent. The firing meant that Selch lost a multi-million contingent bonus package that would have vested if he had remained at the company a few months more. Because he was fired, Bank of America got the keep the money. Selch sued, arguing that firing him after issuing warning was a breach of contract...Last Wednesday, a three-judge appeals panel upheld the trial court, describing the mooning as “insubordinate, disruptive, unruly and abusive.” BofA Right to Fire Broker Who Mooned His Boss: Court [NetNet]

The Securities And Exchange Commission Requests A Little Credit Where Credit Is Due, Please!

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran a front page story reporting that the Securities and Exchange Commission had "blown" the cover of whistleblower Peter C. Earle. The article claimed that Earle, a former employee of Pipeline Trading Systems turned government informant, had his identity "inadvertently" revealed through a "gaffe" on the part of an SEC lawyer, who showed a Pipeline exec "a notebook from the whistleblower filled with jottings about trades, calls and meetings." The executive was said to have recognized Earle's handwriting and told his colleagues, who had previously suspected but did not know for sure that "Pete's the whistleblower." The story was easy to believe because if you've been keeping up with the SEC over the last number of years, you know that this sound exactly like something they'd accidentally do. Except that whereas the regulator fully copped to, for example, missing Madoff while trying to access ladyboyjuice.com 385 times/day, it says that this accusation? Is bull shit. It did not "inadvertently" "blow" anyone. Here's its strongly worded letter to the Journal saying as much: The Securities and Exchange Commission in no way exposed Peter Earle as a whistleblower, and our use of his notebooks in an investigative deposition was neither "inadvertent" nor a "breach" or "gaffe" ("Source's Cover Blown by SEC," Page One, April 25). It was a deliberate decision, which SEC lawyer Daniel Walfish discussed in advance with his supervisor, who was present for the deposition in which the notebooks were exhibited. Nor did the fully authorized use of the notebooks in any way compromise Mr. Earle or the integrity of the SEC's investigation of the Pipeline Trading Systems matter. Although it was widely known among executives of Pipeline and Milstream Strategy Group that Mr. Earle had approached the SEC after he was terminated from Milstream—a fact volunteered by several witnesses and acknowledged by Mr. Earle long before any use of his notebooks—the SEC declined to confirm his identity and still treated his status as a cooperating witness as confidential. The SEC made sure to obtain all of the notes of the approximately six Milstream traders, and in the SEC's deposition of Gordon Henderson (the supervisor of Mr. Earle and the other traders), the SEC used other traders' notes along with those of Mr. Earle. The use of these traders' notes—highly relevant evidence prepared in the ordinary course of their work at Milstream—in no way revealed whether Mr. Earle or any other trader was or was not cooperating with the SEC. George S. Canellos Director New York Regional Office U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission New York SEC Did Not Blow Source's Cover [WSJ] Earlier: SEC Burns Whistleblower In The Most SEC Way Possible

How Your CNBC Sausage Gets Made (Update)

Step 1: Come up with story idea, say, about how small businesses are being hurt due to the NBA lockout Step 2: Reach out to Twitter followers, ask them to corroborate said story Step 3: Wait. Step 4: Practice asking Kate Upton to be your Valentine. ["Will you, Kaaa" voice cracks. "Will you, Kate Upton.." No, that's stupid. "Kate I would be most honored if you.."] Step 5: Daydream about how you and "Katie" will tell your families you eloped. Step 6: Marvel at your good fortune when a guy, who in real life is a bored teenager but over the internet seems like a legit businessman, emails you to say that he runs an escort service in New York, "mostly for away team players after games but some Knicks and Nets too; they are high rollers and I'm not getting the constant business I that I need to stay running." Step 7: Double fist pump the air and shout "Yes, D-Rove, you got this!" Step 8: Breathe, tell yourself to calm down and reel it in. Step 9: Put on your reporter hat and ask "Henry James" some questions like, "How much money would say you're losing? What cut do you then get? What is the cheapest woman and what is the most expensive woman? I assume it's by the hour and what is the typical # of hours?" Step 10: Make no attempt to verify source is who he says he is, that his business exists, that you're not being taken for a ride. Step 11: Cut, print. How A Teenager With A Fake Escort Service Duped Darren Rovell And CNBC [Deadspin] Related: SI Swimsuit Model Doesn’t Have To Worry About Things Getting Weird With CNBC Reporter Because He’s Known Her Since She Was 17