It is pretty much unavoidable. At some point, you will work for the Boss From Hell — unreasonable, abusive, maybe even dishonest.
In many cases, your options are limited, primarily to finding a new job.
But if you honestly believe your boss is committing fraud, you can report it. And federal law gives workers more protection than ever against retaliation by said Boss From Hell or anyone else at the company.
"There is a safety net," said Tammy Marzigliano, co-chair of the Whistleblower and Retaliation Practice Group at employment law firm Outten and Golden in New York.
Specifically, the Dodd-Frank law, passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, gives broad protection to employees who report suspected illegal activity.
"It allows them to freely complain and to identify these activities, and if the employer in return retaliates against them, whether they demote them, they ding them on their bonus, they terminate their employment, they get legal protection as a result of that," Marzigliano said.
But the law did not take effect until 2010 — too late for many employees of the quintessential Boss From Hell, Troy Stratos, who is the subject of the latest episode of CNBC's "American Greed."
A serial scam artist described by one former associate as "the greatest con man who ever lived," Stratos is serving a 22-year prison sentence for a scheme that bilked investors out of millions of dollars, purportedly to purchase shares of Facebook stock before the company went public.
A few years earlier, when Stratos was posing as a movie producer, his staff knew something was amiss.
Stratos was living a lavish lifestyle and making big promises to his employees. But projects failed to materialize. So did paychecks. And Stratos turned abusive.
"One of his favorite tactics was public humiliation," former employee Tamara Hegan told "American Greed." "He had me stand up in the middle of an open office and he yelled at me for a half an hour, called me stupid, incompetent, lazy, idiotic — just complete public humiliation."
Eventually, the staff quit en masse. But with no whistles blown about the potential illegal activity, Stratos moved on to his next scams.
Not only do current laws make it easier for employees to report suspected wrongdoing, in some cases you could be violating the law by not reporting it, Marzigliano said. High-ranking executives such as CEOs may have a fiduciary relationship to the board or the shareholders that requires them to report suspected fraud if they see it.