The Madoff Scandal: What can employees learn from it?
By: David H. Rosenberg, Esq.
By this point, everybody knows about the Madoff scandal. What I find fascinating is the valuable lesson it taught to employees suffering from a hostile work environment. This lesson comes from observations of Ruth Madoff's behavior after learning that her husband Bernie had conducted the largest ponzi scheme in history.
By most witness accounts, Ruth was a caring and loving woman. She donated her free time, and money, to charities. These were charitable organizations that she believed in. Ones that she treasured. Jewish charities with causes near and dear to her heart. After learning that her husband depleted the funds used to keep these charities going, she stayed with him.
Ruth also cared about her close friends. These were friends that she celebrated the holidays with, broke bread with, danced with, celebrated with, shared vacations with, and these were people that she loved. After learning that her husband had wiped them out financially, she stayed with him.
Ruth's sister was the person that Ruth was closest to. After the scandal, when Ruth lost everything, her sister and brother in law took her in. They gave her a home, put food on the table, and they provided her with the emotional support she so needed. Upon hearing that her husband had damn near bankrupted them, Ruth stayed with him.
Ruth's sons were probably the greatest loves of her life. They were her flesh and blood, her babies - probably no other two people on earth that she loved more. Her sons, also victims, were so distraught about the shame their father brought to the family that one of them committed suicide. And after they gave the ultimatum of 'choose him or us' in an effort to get Ruth to stop visiting Bernie in jail, Ruth chose him.
However, after learning that Bernie had a very brief affair more than 20 years earlier with some random woman, she stopped seeing Bernie in jail. Why? Because it was at that moment that Ruth realized she had been cheated. Ruth cared about the charities, friends, sister, brother in law, and kids but it paled in comparison to the level of care she had for herself. In the end, it was all about Ruth.
So, now I will ask my famous question: What does this have to do with Employment Law?
I see so many of my clients say things like, "Well Dave, I really do care about the company" or "I really care about my boss" or "I don't want to get anyone in trouble" and "that's the reason why I do not want to complain about harassment."
My response is this: Stop caring. Your boss, the supervisors, the Human Resources Director, and your co-workers only care about one thing. Themselves. They may care about you but it pales in comparison to the level of care that they have for themselves.
Are you suffering at work? Is someone giving you a hard time? Do you not want to report it because you care about the other people? Stop caring. It is OK to stop caring for them and to start caring for yourself.
If you feel you are the victim of workplace harassment, contact The Law Office of David H. Rosenberg, P.C. Problems at work are no problem for us.