What Should I Do About a Corrupt Boss?

I’ve worked for a boss with questionable integrity for almost five years, and I’ve caught wind that a few of my coworkers have filed HR complaints that are being seriously investigated. I have solid information I could contribute, but I’m scared of what could happen if I get involved and nothing happens. As a believer, how do I speak truth, honor Christ, and protect myself at the same time?


My first question would be for you to define “questionable integrity.” Is your boss gaming the system for self-benefit, putting others down to further their career, or demanding ruthless and unrealistic output from you and your teammates? Or is your boss engaged in ethical violations—legally, morally, ethically, or financially—that venture into gray or outright wicked areas? Is your boss simply not trustworthy, or are they verbally or sexually abusing those who have trusted them? The degree of lack of integrity should likely dictate the degree of severity of your response.

As a follower of Jesus, you have a responsibility—and the strength—to speak truth, and so honor Christ.

Given your outline, I assume your boss’s behavior is at minimum in violation of HR compliance, and at maximum in violation of the law. Your instincts, I believe, are absolutely right. As a follower of Jesus, you have a responsibility—and the strength—to speak truth, and so honor Christ. Your honesty and forthrightness are an overflow of the Spirit within you. You have not received the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear (Rom. 8:15; 2 Tim. 1:7); rather, you are commanded and empowered to worship the Father in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23). So speak the truth with boldness.

It would be easy to end the article here, but, just like life, this situation is not without costs to be weighed and compromises to be considered. The question at the heart of Christian ethics is, “How do I love my neighbor?” But which neighbor do I prioritize? What does love look like in my specific situation? At what point is love for one neighbor producing unintended consequences for other neighbors? It is with this humble approach that we consider your challenge.

Which Neighbor Do I Protect?

Is it really loving to your kids to endanger your employment in order to enable HR to slap your boss on the wrist? Is it really loving to your boss to harm their career? Is your reporting encouraging your coworkers to jump on a ship that will sink their employability?

Whistleblowers don’t fare well in the corporate world. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that the minute you sit down with HR and advocate for justice for the vulnerable, you will be marked. You will be branded. The fortress of a career you have spent years building could become a sandcastle overnight.

But brother or sister, is this not a mark worth bearing? The fortress of your career was never a fortress at all. It has been and will remain an opportunity for you—a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19–20)—to be the place where heaven and earth collide. Your life in Christ has been and will remain a place of tension. You have received a call to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth, to suffer for the sake of Christ, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

The fortress of your career was never a fortress at all. It has been and will remain an opportunity for you—the temple of the Holy Spirit—to be the place where heaven and earth collide.

If the prosperity gospel is false, then you are free to risk your reputation by loving God and neighbor without abandon. You are free to seek justice, do mercy, and walk humbly with God without fear of very real repercussions. You are free to trust that the Lord will protect you as you obey his call to care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in their affliction. You are free to trust the Lord to continue to feed your children, care for your coworkers, and minister to the heart of your wayward boss.

You are free to not have to protect yourself at all.

Choosing Suffering

This rubber-meets-the-road choice to shed comfort and don suffering is contra the evangelicalism that reared me. Suffering for the sake of Christ was something I learned was noble and holy, but only if it could not be avoided. This is not what we find in the Bible or the history of the faith.

The early church debated the question of martyrdom, an ethic that perhaps we take for granted today. Some believed they needed to live and serve God by any means possible, so they fled under shrouds of deception and fear. Some believed they needed to boisterously volunteer for martyrdom, so they ran with vigor to the prisons and the Coliseum. But a third way, a middle way, became the standard. The church resolved not to seek out suffering, but also not to avoid it. They would not rush to the gallows, but if their time came, they would not connive or cower.

They lived as if to live is Christ, and to die is gain, and they found both to be indescribably true. The same is true for you and for me.

Suffer with Christ, and share in his glory. There is no other life worth living.

So pray for humility and courage. Speak truth in love. Suffer the consequences with an honest and human faith, bringing your requests before God and casting your every care on the One who cares for you. Preach the gospel of the suffering Servant who endured the cross because he glimpsed everlasting glory on the other side. And know that your boss may exact revenge, but your Master and Father will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).

Suffer with Christ, and share in his glory. There is no other life worth living.

Will Sorrell

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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