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I believe the CEO at my company has acted in a highly unethical and possibly illegal manner. I directly confronted the CEO about it and he continued to lie and deflect. I am contacting a lawyer about the issue. However, in the meantime, what should I do at the workplace? (For clarity, I am not an employee at the company, but work as a subcontractor.)

  • During day-to-day interactions, do I just pretend like nothing happened?
  • I don't always interact with the CEO, but do on occasion. If the CEO brings up the "issue" should I tell him to contact my lawyer instead?
  • Should immediately resign? I cannot work with this person, regardless of the outcome of litigation. So, I plan on leaving; however, I don't have a job lined up, and I am concerned about having work history gaps (especially in a less-than-ideal job market).
  • As I am job hunting, I am also unsure how to handle the scenarios where the hiring manager asks me why I left my previous position -- if I say that the previous CEO behaved unethically, I fear it will raise a red flag: they either won't believe me or will think I am a liability.
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    Contact that lawyer fast and ask them what to do, how to act, and if you even have actionable case to begin with. Honestly, that was something to do before you confronted the CEO. Everything depends on what the lawyer will say, because if you have no actionable case, or one worth throwing your job away over... Ay caramba.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 16:43
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    'How should I act' - exactly how your lawyer advises you. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 17:08
  • @JoeStrazzere Yes, of course. I wasn't suggesting to be dishonest; rather, wondering if there was a more 'political' way to approach such a sensitive topic without automatically being crossed out as a potential candidate.
    – bonkers
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 18:25
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    I've decided to VTC this - after thinking about it - although it's not about Legal advice, specifically - the reality is that the answer to this question really is only answerable by a Lawyer, who is familiar with the details of your grievance. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 18:51
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    I would think it also depends a lot on what the behavior was. For example, if the CEO lied to a customer during negotiations or cheated a customer, that would be unethical and OP may very much dislike that. Not sure that gives OP standing to take legal action. Being a contractor also may limit OPs standing to take action. Lawyer has the best answer
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 20:25

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You can't have your cake and eat it; it is clearly untenable for someone employed by a company (even indirectly) to be taking legal action against the CEO. You can probably hide the fact you're taking legal action for a while, but expect to be out the door in about 2 seconds flat as soon as you mention it, or when the first letter arrives from your lawyer to the company/CEO.

The only exception here is if your jurisdiction has some kind of whistleblower protection which would cover you. That's a question for your lawyer.

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  • Don't all states in USA have whistleblower protection?
    – bonkers
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 16:38
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    My understanding is that there is a base level of federal protection; some states may have increased protection on top of that. But again - this is what your lawyer is there to advise you on. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 16:44
  • @bonkers, whistleblower protection may or may not apply to a contractor
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 15:53

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