‘Office Space’ Turned 25 This Year, But Its Lessons on Whistleblowers are as Relevant as Ever

HR Dive

In a witty look at the movie classic ‘Office Space,’ Woods Rogers attorney Justin Lugar describes the lessons human resources professionals can take from the fictional company Initech to learn about whistleblowers.

“As one who has investigated, prosecuted, defended, and filed whistleblower claims, I can assure you that Milton’s story is not unique or out of the norm,” Justin wrote in the column. “While I’ve yet to see any glitch in payroll akin to Milton’s situation, I have often seen companies miss early opportunities to engage with employees long before they contemplate blowing the whistle. And importantly, even if there is no real whistle to be blown, there are affirmative steps HR and legal departments can take that both provide an opportunity for an employee to be (and feel) heard on an issue and alert the company to any possible issues that it may need to deal with to avoid the genuine problems that may arise.”

Justin provides several suggestions for HR professionals to use when a disgruntled employee raises a concern, hoping that engaging with them will prevent them from blowing the whistle.

As Justin points out, “Just as Milton’s payroll glitch did not just work itself out, neither will a potential whistleblower situation. Engage strategically and with purpose so that the company, not a Milton, takes control and ‘works it out.’”

If you’re interested in reading the column, visit HR Dive.


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