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Old 05-29-2021, 01:09 PM   #1
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Default Boss threatened to fire me

In a meeting the other day she said she could take steps to have me fired for refusing to obey her orders. I said her orders were unethical and I have a duty to question unethical orders. I said I could get into trouble for following unethical orders but she said I was covered if I was following orders from my supervisor. I have looked up cases where people were following unethical orders and they can still be prosecuted. I told her I would rather get fired now for being ethical than later on for not being ethical.

Then she got frustrated and told me that ethics were arbitrary. She said some other things after that but I didn't pick them up because I was so stunned about that statement. I finally told her that her statement was very disturbing to me . After the meeting I reported it to the Chief and the Quality Assurance manager. I didn't have a meeting with them until late next week though. many people have told me they are complaining about the things my boss is doing, but no one has done enough to make her stop. She keeps getting worse and worse.
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Old 05-31-2021, 08:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

I assume this unethical order would lead to jail time or at least, ruining your career? You are right. Getting fired is hard, but it is better to get fired than into those troubles. I am sorry for your condition.

Is it possible for you to document that order and that disturbing statement? Maybe those could be a proof for the Chief and QA manager. And maybe give them an example of similar orders that lead to the jail time? The unethical orders would ruin the company too.
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Old 05-31-2021, 08:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

Quote:
Originally Posted by AceRimmer View Post
In a meeting the other day she said she could take steps to have me fired for refusing to obey her orders. I said her orders were unethical and I have a duty to question unethical orders. I said I could get into trouble for following unethical orders but she said I was covered if I was following orders from my supervisor. I have looked up cases where people were following unethical orders and they can still be prosecuted. I told her I would rather get fired now for being ethical than later on for not being ethical.

Then she got frustrated and told me that ethics were arbitrary. She said some other things after that but I didn't pick them up because I was so stunned about that statement. I finally told her that her statement was very disturbing to me . After the meeting I reported it to the Chief and the Quality Assurance manager. I didn't have a meeting with them until late next week though. many people have told me they are complaining about the things my boss is doing, but no one has done enough to make her stop. She keeps getting worse and worse.

What kind of unethical do you mean?

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Old 05-31-2021, 09:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

Following the unethical order would ruin my career. It's possible that I could get prison time in theory. I followed the order at first but right after I complained to the chief and said doing it could be considered lab fraud, but the chief didn't respond. My boss had me set an instrument in a way where we couldn't accurately measure nitrite levels. They always warn us that we could go to prison for lab fraud. Just making quality control data pass by tinkering with chromatograms is said to send people to prison. They have a saying 'let it fail, don't go to jail.' If you send knowingly bad results by e-mail it's wire fraud. If you send them by mail it's mail fraud.

A couple of days after I set the instrument I got really sick and missed a week. When I came back I saw the instrument was still set wrong so I got together with my coworker who also runs the instrument and discussed what to do. Another chemist overheard us and suggested the QA Officer. He definitely agreed that the setting on the instrument was unethical. My officemate and I decided to approach the chief and she finally agreed that we should set the instrument back to the setting I had previously had it at. Everything was fine for a few days. Then I had that meeting with my boss. She apparently has no ethical compass...

I've documented as much as I can. I did not set the instrument wrong until I got the order in an e-mail from my boss. One of the other chemists has complained about her too and he thinks HR is probably conducting an investigation behind the scenes. I hops so. Because if something isn't done soon I'm going to lose it. A few times I have been so fed up that I wanted to quit on the spot. But if I hang on for 5 more years I get a full retirement pension.
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

Quote:
Originally Posted by AceRimmer View Post
Following the unethical order would ruin my career. It's possible that I could get prison time in theory. I followed the order at first but right after I complained to the chief and said doing it could be considered lab fraud, but the chief didn't respond. My boss had me set an instrument in a way where we couldn't accurately measure nitrite levels. They always warn us that we could go to prison for lab fraud. Just making quality control data pass by tinkering with chromatograms is said to send people to prison. They have a saying 'let it fail, don't go to jail.' If you send knowingly bad results by e-mail it's wire fraud. If you send them by mail it's mail fraud.

A couple of days after I set the instrument I got really sick and missed a week. When I came back I saw the instrument was still set wrong so I got together with my coworker who also runs the instrument and discussed what to do. Another chemist overheard us and suggested the QA Officer. He definitely agreed that the setting on the instrument was unethical. My officemate and I decided to approach the chief and she finally agreed that we should set the instrument back to the setting I had previously had it at. Everything was fine for a few days. Then I had that meeting with my boss. She apparently has no ethical compass...

I've documented as much as I can. I did not set the instrument wrong until I got the order in an e-mail from my boss. One of the other chemists has complained about her too and he thinks HR is probably conducting an investigation behind the scenes. I hops so. Because if something isn't done soon I'm going to lose it. A few times I have been so fed up that I wanted to quit on the spot. But if I hang on for 5 more years I get a full retirement pension.

So itís illegal and unethical but do you think itís criminal?

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Old 06-01-2021, 04:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

People have gone to prison for reporting bogus lab results. Annie Dookhan was in the news in MA all the time several years ago. Every time I visited Boston they were talking about her. She went to prison. She even has a wiki page.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...00-drug-cases/

Here's another at an environmental lab:

Quote:
Andrew K. Ecklund, 57, a chemist, previously employed at an environmental testing company in Northeast Ohio, was charged in a nine-count indictment for falsifying test results that were sent to customers across the country.As alleged in the indictment, Ecklund was a laboratory analyst who was responsible for testing environmental samples for the presence of hazardous substances. On numerous occasions between December 15, 2014 and February 25, 2015, Ecklund allegedly took steps to make it appear that deficient samples met quality control standards when, as charged in the indictment, they did not.
Tallmadge Chemist Charged With Falsifying Test Results | USAO-NDOH | Department of Justice
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

Ace, good for you for standing up for ethical behavior!

You mention documenting as much as you can. Print out any emails you have from the boss telling you to do anything unethical. I'd also recommend making notes after every interaction with her regarding anything unethical.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

I looked up a more recent article on him. He got probation, but his career is certainly ruined. They got him on wire fraud.

Quote:

A Tallmadge chemist was sentenced to probation this week for falsifying test results.
Andrew K. Ecklund, 58, a chemist previously employed at an environmental testing company in Northeast Ohio, pleaded guilty in November in U.S. District Court in Cleveland to nine counts of wire fraud.
Tallmadge chemist sentenced to probation for falsifying test results
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Old 06-07-2021, 03:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

I reported her to the lab QA officer who told me there would be an investigation.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

So Sorry you have to put up with this! Please do not give up! i agree with the other wise and wonderful posters about documenting what you can. i think you are doing the best thing by standing up for yourself and not compiling with unethical behavior. Hopefully this situation will get solved soon. Just do your best in this situation and resist these terrible temptations. Hopefully you won't get fired but if you do know that you did the right thing and that it wouldn't even have been worth it perhaps. Sending many Safe, warm hugs to BOTH you, @AceRimmer, your Family, your Friends and ALL of your Loved Ones! Keep fighting and keep rocking NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, OK?!
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Old 06-09-2021, 01:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

I've been assigned to lab tech duties for a month. This doesn't look good. At my last job when I reported payroll fraud I was the one who got kicked out.
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

I'm not seeing a good ending here. I'd be looking at other opportunities if I were you.
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Old 06-10-2021, 08:01 AM   #13
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The McDonald's across the street is always hiring.
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Old 06-15-2021, 03:06 PM   #14
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Default Re: Boss threatened to fire me

Today I caught her overwriting data on the chromatographer. You aren't supposed to do that. It's obvious to anyone looking at the printout of the run. The sample that ran at 5 pm last night is gone and replaced with something run today at 8 am.
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