The Whistleblower Forum by Diane Shay – Workplace Retaliation – What to Expect? 041218

Cornwall Ontario – The easiest way to explain what happens to WHISTLEBLOWERS is to use few examples from my case,  but this could have happened to anyone, your mother, father, daughter or son.

There are multiple documents/books which give a template to shut down Whistleblowers.

Step 1: Deny everything.   In my case I was told by the HR Manager I didn’t understand legislation and internal policies which identified “ZERO” tolerance for abuse. Legislation and policies, I had taught many times over the years to GSDL staff n orientation. Interesting enough I always taught that “0” tolerance meant just that, we do not tolerate abuse in any form.

Step 2: Delay any legal process, in my case the City’s unlimited tax base provided them with the ability to delay for years. This began after my termination in 2009. I was very ill by this time and their written offer to me was to top up my LTD for 1 year. Being aware of previous settlements from working in HR this was no more than yet another form of retaliation given I had 18 years of service. The HR Manager informed the staff of my termination the day he sent me a registered letter. One member stated that I would fight this with the Managers response that I was too sick to fight anything. Fortunate for me I didn’t have to be healthy to respond, I just needed a good lawyer.

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Step 3: Divide the employee from as many co-workers, friends and family as possible. In my case, the weekend I was terminated a memo only signed Laura was delivered to multiple people including the union presidents. I only became aware of it months later when one of those presidents emailed to me.

It had many derogatory comments related to the HR department. Once I reviewed it I was aware of some of the issues, but others I had no knowledge of. This memo was given to HR staff prior to my return in early 2010 and it was inferred that I wrote it. Unfortunately, I don’t think my coworkers knew what to think. To this day I am unaware of who wrote it other than they had been working for the City longer than me. I should also mention that once this memo was given to the City they settled within two months.

Step 4: Discredit the Whistleblower in every way possible. In my case I think I may have frustrated the City since I led a quiet life. In 2012 I file a complaint and Judith Allen was hired to do an investigation. Throughout her investigation I was accused of taking too many breaks which some truth to it may have given I was being harassed almost daily by multiple people.

They also said I had a vendetta against the GSDL Administrator because we had competed for a position 30 years earlier with her being awarded it even though I had seniority. We were good friends in those days and I have no idea what they were talking about? Also, they stated that according to the GSDL Administrator my ex husband had an affair related to one of her relatives. Again, not aware of this so I called and emailed him, and he denied it. The levels they can stoop are unimaginable.

All this information was forwarded to Ms. Allen, but it was apparent that she was not interested in anything I had to say. These issues only came up after my 8-hr. interview with her and long before she interviewed the GSDL Administrator who refused to be interviewed for months and only agreed to a telephone interview after most of the interviews were done. I believe it was probably a condition of her settlement since she was a no show at the Ministry trial.

Next week we can discuss How to protect yourself from retaliation.

Take Care,

Diane Shay


  1. Last May in the township of Leeds and 1000 Islands, the treasurer and head public works were fired, and two other staff were suspended for reporting inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The staff have absolutely no protection from the mayor and council, so they are in the process of unionizing right now. Google TLTI staff fired suspended, and read all about it.

  2. This is the City in a nutshell to this very day. General Managers force employees into stressful situations knowing full well their intent then abuse same employees because they looked for help. Employee abuse is favored and rewarded. GM’s meet every week and it’s a point the finger at certain employees. Employees who speak up for themselves are targeted and career all but done.

  3. Rusted Bolt…..sad, but true!!

  4. This is a great colum, being close to this type of work my wife and I always supported and felt for Mrs. Shay. It’s an impossible position to be in, and most people choose to turn a blind eye rather than fight the fight she did. The city will treat us all like peasants as long as we let them get away with it, we need our own Trump here in Cornwall.

  5. Author

    We have one 😉 Did in the last election too when I ran on a campaign to cut taxes by 5% in four years. Council is about to raise taxes 5% after borrowing money rather than pay now. Congrats!

  6. Furtz,
    I looked into that case and their road is just begining.

    Take care,


  7. Rusted Bolt,

    I don’t think they are that organized, but you are right that a few will joiin forces and go on the attack. councillor MacDonald may be feeling some these effects right about now.

    Take Care,


  8. Jerry,

    I believe if you can find a group of like minded taxpayer who embrace transparency rather than just give it lip service to get elected. This will give the power back to the taxpayer. Representing a majority around council table allowing the past to be transparent and build the future we all deserve.

    Take Care,


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