“In Defense of Whistle Blowing”
By: Gene G. James
Whistle blowing is an effort to make others aware of practices one considers illegal, unjust or harmful (EIP 315).
Internal whistle blowing is when someone goes over the head of immediate supervisors to inform higher management of wrongdoing (EIP 315).
External whistle blowing is when someone discloses information to outside individuals or groups such as reporters or public interest groups (EIP 315).
Most whistle blowing is done by people presently employed by the company and they are called current whistleblowers. People who have left the organization may also blow the whistle and they are referred to as alumni whistleblowers (EIP 315).
Whistleblowers almost always experience retaliation;
1. If they work for a private industry, they are likely to be fired.
2. They receive damaging letters of recommendation and may be back listed so they cannot find work in their profession.
3. If they are not fired, they are still likely to be transferred, demoted, given less interesting work and denied salary increases and promotions.
4. They are called traitors, rat finks, and other names.
5. They are also said to be disgruntled, known troublemakers, people who make an issue out of nothing, self-serving and publicity seekers.
6. Physical assaults, abuse of their families, and even murder may also be experienced.
Whistle Blowing and the Law
The law does not at present offer whistleblowers very much protection (EIP 315).
Agency Law imposes a duty on employees to keep confidential any information learned through their employment which might be detrimental to their employers. However, this duty does not hold if the employee has knowledge that the employer has committed or is about to commit a felony. In this case, the employee has a positive obligation to report the offense (EIP 315).
Problem with agency law is that the employer has the right to discharge employees at any...