The Workplace: Blowing whistles and the EU: Marta Andreasen

Marta Andreasen blew the whistle on dodgy practices inside the European Union, she now resides in limbo.

The saga dates to May 2002, when she started alerting her bosses and then ultimately their bosses that the government computer software was vulnerable to error and fraud just five months after she started her job.

“It was not as though I was asking them to build a cathedral or send a man to the moon,” said Andreasen, who is still on the payroll. “Had they followed my advice, today there would be effective measures in place, and the funds would be protected. Instead, I was suspended, and the EC said they already knew about the problems.”

Today the commission is hard pressed to explain precisely why disciplinary proceedings against Andreasen have lingered. A commission official, who asked to remain anonymous, said authorities had moved slowly to “make sure that justice is done.” It took time, he added, because the author of a report about the matter held another full-time job.

The accusations against Andreasen are also a little complicated. She was not suspended because of her withering criticism, which gained support from, among others, Jules Muis, the commission’s former internal auditor.

He observed in a blunt internal memo that Andreasen’s concerns appeared “factually substantive and correct.”

In reality, she was suspended for violating Articles 12 and 21 of staff regulations: failure to show sufficient loyalty and respect. She had ignored the established hierarchy by expressing her concerns directly in letters to the commission’s president and 10 legislators.

Sufficient loyalty and respect? Are these guys crazy?