Lending an Ear

Companies seek complaints

The 19th century robber barons would be speechless. Instead of turning a deaf ear to their workers' concerns, a growing number of corporations are urging employees to get things off their chests by going directly to the boss on hot lines or through the mail. Firms have devised programs with catchy names such as Expressline, Speak Up! and Open Door that guarantee confidentiality and offer assurances of action on valid complaints.

One of the latest corporations to join this movement is American Express. The giant financial and travel company has begun offering a program called Expressline to the 4,000 employees...

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