“Too see wrong and not to expose it ,is to become asilent partner to its continuance”. -Dr. John Raymond Baker
Whistleblowing: Definition A whistleblower is an employee, former employee, or member of an organization, especially a business or government agency, who reports misconduct to people or entities that have the power and presumed willingness to take corrective action. Generally the misconduct is a violation of law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption.
Benefits Whistleblowing leads to good and bad results. First, the benefits of carefully considered whistleblowing can lead to the end of unethical business practices. The lives of individuals and whole communities have been saved by whistleblowers. The actions of whistleblowers are potentially beneficial to society. Businesses that engaged in unethical practices have been shut down because of the actions of whistleblowers.
Whistleblowing and HR Actioners Determining whether your company has the mechanism to find out the whether the staff have wandered or otherwise left the acceptable assumed track. Whistle blowing mechanism such as hotlines, ombudsmen, administrating annual compliance. This mechanism should be part of your companies strategy.
Detriments An employee who witness unethical business practice at work may want to think carefully before informing to the authorities. Company loyalty is an internally held value. When should an employee blow the whistle? When should he or she keep quiet?
Guidelines for Whistleblowing1. Magnitude of consequence2. Probability of effect3. Temporal immediacy4. Proximity5. Concentration of effort
Whistleblowers: Examples Jeffrey Wigand- “The Insider” FDA Whistleblower
The Insider Jeffrey Wigand, vice president for tobacco research and development at Brown & Williamson: Wigand became the whistle-blower on Big Tobacco, telling how the industry minimized tobaccos health and safety issues. His story was told in the movie The Insider. The tale gets nasty. Wigand was fired in 1993. His former employer publicized unsubstantiated allegations of shoplifting and domestic abuse from his past. He went on to assist the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in its investigation of the tobacco industry. Wigand now runs a nonprofit foundation in South Carolina devoted to educating children about health issues, including tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
FDA whistleblowers: Robert MisbinRobert Misbin, medical officer, Food and Drug Administration:The scientist blew the whistle on the dangers of the diabetesdrug Rezulin. He resigned from the FDA in the fall of 2000,complaining that politics and bureaucratic concerns hadreplaced sound medical judgment in approving drugs. At issue:that drug maker Warner-Lambert Inc. had pressured the FDA toapprove Rezulin, despite a number of patient deaths from liverfailure. Rezulin was recalled in 2000, the same year that Warner-Lambert was acquired by Pfizer.
CASEAn executive of a large company learns that the company isviolating the state antipollution law by dumping chemicals intothe lake bordering its plant. The state inspectors are beingbribed to ignore the violation. What are the executive’s options?What are the consequences of each option? Which optionshould the executive choose?