When Linda Almonte alerted her boss at JPMorgan Chase about potential fraud in a major deal she was helping to close, she expected him to applaud her great catch.
Instead, he fired her.
"We went down fast," said Almonte, 41, about her family. She had been making $100,000 a year as a division vice president at Chase, enough to support her stay-at-home husband, their four kids, ages 12 to 22, and rent a three-bedroom house in San Antonio, Texas.
Her move at Chase amounted to "essentially suicide," Almonte told The Huffington Post. No bank in town would hire her after word spread that she had stood up to the banking giant, she said. After more than a year of fruitless job hunting, Almonte and her family left town, landing at a hotel near Disney World, paying $300 a week for a two-bedroom with a kitchenette.
Almonte enrolled her children in a federal program for homeless kids so that they wouldn't have to switch schools if the family had to leave the hotel. Her father joined them to help out and they survived on her father's $2,700 monthly combined Social Security and disability payments.
Her fate is far from unusual. "Employees get fired all the time for blowing the whistle," said Dana Gold, a senior fellow at the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates for whistleblowers. "We see it so much," Gold said. "It's a predictable phenomenon."
She now works as a management consultant earning roughly 80 percent of her salary at Chase. She has relocated from the hotel to a rental home.