When an employee discovers unethical, immoral or illegal actions at work, the employee makes a decision about what to do with this information. Whistleblowing is the term used to define an employee’s decision to disclose this information to an authority figure (boss, media or government official).
The topic of this chapter is whistleblowing. The purpose of this chapter is to help teachers and students to learn more about how employees make their decisions to come forward with potentially damaging information and about how employees identify strong ethical employment environments and, in turn, avoid potentially unethical employers.
Whistleblowing leads to good and bad results. In this chapter, we will explore both. 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. Severe damage to the environment has been stopped by the actions of one individual who blew the whistle on an unethical employer. Here are some examples of serious ethical violations that have resulted in whistleblowing. These examples represent significant consequences to businesses:
Dumping of toxic waste
Padding an expense report
Violating laws about hiring and firing
Violating laws about workplace safety
Violating health laws which lead to documented illness and even death
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. Lives have been saved, and severe damage to the environment has been averted because of the courage and persistence of whistleblowers.
At the same time, an employee who witnesses unethical business practices at work may want to think carefully before making the decision to inform an authority of the practice. The consequences of whistleblowing are often extreme and include possible firing, civil action, or even imprisonment. Furthermore, an employee may want to follow the rule of "chain of command" – that is, begin to discuss issues of whistleblowing with his or her immediate supervisor first, before discussing the matter with anyone else. A great deal of information about whistleblowing, whistleblower’s rights and protection, whistleblowers in many countries and in many professions (sports, the tobacco industry, chemical industry, and even the government) is available on the World Wide Web. A list of some of those sites, with links to others, appears later in this chapter (see Internet Resources).
Company loyalty is an internationally held value. Employees want positive work environments. Most workers do not like to have disagreements with their bosses. At the same time, bosses and managers do not want employees to complain to others in the workplace about a problem that the manager might be able to solve. Complaining to one’s colleagues can be harmful to morale and should not be confused with careful thinking and action on behalf of unethical business practices. One company’s unethical practices were uncovered by an employee who was later fired for "blowing the whistle." No employee wants to be branded as having bad judgment.
When should an employee blow the whistle? When should he or she "keep quiet"? Experts have set guidelines for whistleblowing. Some of those are listed below.
Guidelines for Whistleblowing
This list is a guideline that will help an employee to determine if a situation merits whistleblowing.
Magnitude of consequences
An employee considering whistleblowing must ask himself or herself these questions: How much harm has been done or might be done to victims? Will the victims really be "beneficiaries"? If one person is or will be harmed, it is unlikely to be a situation that warrants whistleblowing.
Probability of effect
The probability that the action will actually take place and will cause harm to many people must be considered. An employee should be very sure that the action in question will actually happen. If the employee does not know if the action will happen and if the action will harm people (or the environment), the employee should reconsider his or her plan to blow the whistle. In addition, the employee must have absolute proof that the event will occur and that people (or the environment) will be harmed.
An employee must consider the length of time between the present and the possibly harmful event. An employee must also consider the urgency of the problem in question. The more immediate the consequences of the potentially unethical practice, the stronger the case for whistleblowing. For example, the effects of toxic waste dumping that are likely to occur in a week are more pressing than the firing of 100 employees next year.
The physical closeness of the potential victims must be considered. For example, a company that is depriving workers of medical benefits in a nearby town has a higher proximity than one 1,000 miles away. The question arises about matters of emotional proximity or situations in which the ethical question relates to a victim with some emotional attachment to the whistleblower.
Concentration of Effort
A person must determine the intensity of the unethical practice or behavior. The question is how much intensity does the specific infraction carry. For example, according to this principle, stealing $1,000 from one person is more unethical than stealing $1 from 1,000 people.
告密 当一个员工发现不道德的,或违法行为的,劳动者在做出决定对于如何处理这些信息的方式。告密”是定义一个雇员的决定，披露这些信息权威的人物(老板、媒体和政府官员)。 本章的主题是告密。本章的目的是为了帮助老师和学生学习更多关于员工做出决定上前与潜在的破坏性信息和如何识别强烈的民族就业环境的员工,并且避免潜在的不道德的雇主。 背景资料 告密导致好与坏的结果。在这一章中,我们将探讨。首先,仔细考虑告密会导致最后的不道德的商业行为。生命的个人和整个社区都被告密者。严重的破坏环境的行为一直停留在一个人的揭发一个不道德的雇主。这里是一些例子严重的道德行为,导致了告密。这些例子代表重大后果的企业： 倾倒有毒废物 填料的费用报告 关于招聘和违法违纪行为被解雇 有关安全生产违法违纪行为 违反法律规定,导致记录有关的疾病,甚至死亡 行动的告密者都是潜在的对社会有益。企业从事不道德的行为已经被关闭因为行动的告密者。生命得救,严重损害环境已经避免因勇气和毅力。 告密者。 同时,有位员工在工作见证不道德的商业行为可能要仔细考虑在作出决定前通知权威的实践。告密的后果,包括可能经常极端射击、民事诉讼、或甚至入狱。再者,雇员可能要遵守规则的“命令”——那就是,开始讨论议题与他或她的告密直属上司,再讨论这件事。大量的信息,告密者的权利,告密保护告密者在许多国家,并且在许多行业(运动、烟草、化工、甚至政府)可在万维网上。有些人名单,有链接到其他地点,出现在本章后面(见互联网资源)。对公司的忠诚度是国际举行的价值。要积极向上的工作环境的员工。大多数工人不喜欢与他们的老板。同时,老板和经理们不想员工抱怨其他人在工作场所的有关问题,经理可以解决这个问题。对一个人的同事抱怨会对驻伊美军的士气,而不应被误认为仔细思考和行动的不道德的商业行为代表。一个公司的不道德行为是由一名员工,他后来被炒”吹哨子。”任何员工要被冠名为有坏的判断。
当一个员工吹哨子吗?当他或她“保持沉默”吗?专家将指引告密。其中的一些被列出。 指南告密 这个列表是一个指南将帮助雇员来确定一个情况等优点,告密。 震级的后果 一名员工,考虑自己必须向告密这些问题:多少伤害已经完成或可能做的受害者吗?将受害者真的会“受益人”吗?如果一个人或会伤害,这可能是一个情况,保证告密。