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‘Workplace Heroes or Criminals?’ : Could you, would you, should you blow the whistle?

Whistleblowers

Framework
- Define/introduce whistleblowing
- Ethical examples
- Unethical examples
- Generalize/State under what conditions ethical/unethical
(Examples are to be presented in different ways: normal present, video, drama, news report…)
- Feasibility/Practicality of whistleblowing in different countries
- addressing Could you?
- How to determine would you or should you?
- applying different principles of ethics learnt inside/outside class (e.g. sleep test,
mum test, 5 steps…)
- Conclusion
-
- Q&A
- http://www.aatethics.org.uk/sites/default/files/The_ethics_of_whistleblowing.pdf
- -Example with an open-end question
-

- Unethical conditions
- each illustrated with an example
- Unethical conditions
- each illustrated with an example
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhj9EnoC76U

WHEN IS WHISTLE-BLOWING ETHICAL?


Whistle-blowing is appropriate—ethical—under five conditions:
1. When the company, through a product or decision, will cause serious and considerable harm
to the public (as consumers or bystanders) or break existing laws, the employee should report
the organization.
2. When the employee identifies a serious threat of harm, he or she should report it and state
his or her moral concern.
3. When the employee’s immediate supervisor does not act, the employee should exhaust the
internal procedures and chain of command to the board of directors.
4. The employee must have documented evidence that is convincing to a reasonable, impartial
observer that his or her view of the situation is accurate, and evidence that the firm’s practice,
product, or policy seriously threatens and puts in danger the public or product user.
5. The employee must have valid reasons to believe that revealing the wrongdoing to the public
will result in the changes necessary to remedy the situation. The chance of succeeding must be
equal to the risk and danger the employee takes to blow the whistle.

WHEN IS WHISTLE-BLOWING UNETHICAL?


If there is evidence that the employee is motivated by the opportunity for ​financial gain or media"
attention​ or that the employee is carrying out an ​individual vendetta​ against the company, then
the ​legitimacy of the act of whistle-blowing must be questioned.
The potential for financial gain in some areas of corporate whistle-blowing can be considerable:
• On November 30, 2005, New York City’s Beth Israel Hospital agreed to pay $72.9 million to
resolve allegations from a​ ​former hospital executive​ that it falsified Medicare cost reports from
1992 to 2001. The case stemmed from a 2001 whistle-blower lawsuit filed in the U.S. District
Court in New York City by former Beth Israel vice president of financial services, Najmuddin
Pervez. Mr. Pervez is expected to receive 20 percent of the recovery amount, around $15mil.

• In June 2010, Northrop Grumman Corp. agreed to pay the federal government $12.5 million to
settle allegations that the company caused false claims to be submitted to the government.
Allegedly, Northrop Grumman’s Navigation Systems Division failed to test electronic
components it supplied for military airplane, helicopter, and submarine navigation systems to
ensure that the parts would function at the extreme temperatures required for military and space
uses. This case was filed under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act by
whistle-blower Allen Davis, a ​former quality assurance manager​ at Northrop Grumman’s
Navigation Systems Division facility in Salt Lake City. Mr. Davis will receive $2.4 million
out of the settlement
• Douglas Durand, ​former vice president of sales​ for TAP Pharmaceutical Products, received a
$126 million settlement from the U.S. government after filing suit against his employer and a
TAP rival, the former Zeneca, Inc., accusing both companies of overcharging the federal
government’s Medicare program by tens of millions of dollars.
• Under the Federal Civil False Claims Act, also known as “​Lincoln’s Law​,” whistle-blowers
(referred to as “relators”) who expose fraudulent behavior against the government are entitled to
between 10 and 30 percent of the amount recovered​. Originally enacted during the Civil War in
1863 to protect the government against fraudulent defense contractors, the act was
strengthened as recently as 1986 to make it easier and safer for whistle-blowers to come
forward. The lawsuits brought under the act are referred to as qui tam, which is an abbreviation
for a longer Latin phrase that establishes the whistle-blower as a deputized petitioner for the
government in the case. Since 1986, more than 2,400 qui tam lawsuits have been filed,
recovering over $2 billion for the government and enriching whistle-blowers by more than $350
million. Whether the motivation to speak out and reveal the questionable behavior comes from a
personal ethical decision ​or ​the potential for a substantial financial windfall ​will probably never
be completely verified, but the ​threat of losing your job​ or ​becoming alienated from colleagues
by speaking out against your employer must be diminished by the knowledge that some
financial security will likely result. Whether the choice is based on ethical or financial
considerations, the key point is that you had ​better be very sure of your facts and your evidence
had better be irrefutable before crossing that
line.

First example of the unethical condition


-first of all, it was quite unclear for the explanations on the book, so i did some reasearch and
look into some news and the lawsuit file
-the problem i want to say is that receiving money might not be the main reason for the act,
maybe he just purely wanted to report the falsified report thing to the government
-plus, we don’t have evidence to prove that what the whistleblower did was aiming to get
a large amount of money as settlement

The following is some extra info that can let you guys know more about the situation
-the 70m was given to the govt, not to the whistleblower, there were only 15m was given to the
whistleblower, and also he received another 560,000 from the North Shore university hospital

-the whistle sued the hospital with [False Claims Act],and the court said that the hospital
violated the medicare reimbursement rules, which means it intentionally and improperly included
the non-reimbursement cost to reimbursement cost, and the medicare overpays the hospital

-non-reimbursement cost mean the salaries paid, the buying of equipment, and supplies

-the consequence of falsifying the report->caused government to pay for non-r direct cost which
is not the government responsibility

-the lawsuit report stated that what the man did was helping the government to intervened cases
originally commenced by the private parties
Second Example of the unethical condition
-the reason why the whistleblower report to the govt is that the company failed to test properly
for certain commercial parts that supplied for the navigation system in warplanes, submarines-

-whistleblower actually received 2.375m instead of 12.6 m, coz that part was given to the govt

the govt said they failed to provide the teams(national defence force) with the best equipment
which would definitely affect the soldiers or even threaten the country itself

What i want to say is that the above 2 cases are considered as the unethical conditions on the
book by receiving an amount of money from the settlement.
the book said that condition of unethical part is that the action is motivated by the opportunity for
the financial gain or media attention. i just doubt that these examples might not be persuasive
enough to say they are unethical actions

Ethical Principles:
- maintaining integrity and honesty to the world.
- moral commitment to the law and society
- maintaining trust and loyalty with organization
- conscience
- Personal values, egos
- image of wb to other companies + colleagues ( alienated)
- lose rights to health care/ insurances/ current salary (after whistleblowing)
(the more senior, the more they know, the higher they get paid)
- to blow the whistle internally: saves company’s image + money, company can fix the problem,
bringing good to the public ==> ethical to blow
- putting needs of others before your own = doing the right thing?
- external whistle blow also helps to save money. example viet war ==> release of confidential
files caused discontent between citizens and gov. citizens protested for gov to stop and
withdraw ==> save $
Content
Could you?
- status in an institution/org/company
- the higher your rank, the more you know
- channels available/environment
- if everybody including your boss and the boss of your boss etc. is in the same
boat/ no organization, only you would like to blow the whistle, meaningless,
useless

Would you? / Should you?


- Sleep test
- Mum test
- 5 steps
- determine the facts (the incident)
- identify the ethical issues involved (right/wrong/justice/fairness…)
- identify the stakeholders
(interests/benefits/advantages/disadvantages/harm/loss…)
- consider alternatives (if don’t blow, how to deal with the situation?)
- make a decision

Examples:
Edward Snowden
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hLjuVyIIrs
Edward Snowden reference for nichou
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/06/edward-snowden-whistleblower-tra-2014695
5611522671.html
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance
http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/nov/01/snowden-nsa-files-surveillance-revel
ations-decoded#section/2
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/edward-snowden-after-months-of-nsa-re
velations-says-his-missions-accomplished/2013/12/23/49fc36de-6c1c-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_
story.html
http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/05/29/nbc-news-confirms-attempt-by-edward-snowden-to-
go-through-channels-at-nsa/

Parts included in the presentation


-Self-made animation/drama(korean drama pinocchio suggested)
(either one/ both)
-Little drama(performed by us, copying a scene from a movie or drama)
-Asking questions( with little gifts?just to catch attention)

Video from the korean drama is found(actually there are several parts that can be
used)(estimated length: 2 min? will it be too long?)( I can find more videos if you guys want)
(Link: ​http://myasiantv.com/drama/pinocchio/episode-17/​ )
(start from :05:50-07:40, but please watch until 0805, see when should we stop)

Actually, there’s another video, I’m sure all of you know who Snowden is, former NSA staff
Link of his documentary: ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yB3n9fu-rM
It worths watching also, we only have time to play one video ><, so please voice out your
opinion xd
(26 FEB 2015 Nicole)

I think we can summarize the case of edward snowden in presentation, cus the documentary is
a bit too long and you cant really cut it short. plus, we kinda discussed before to use the
pinocchio as a fictional example. and i think the drama clip can lead us to talk about some new
ethical issues. i also think its better to show until 8;05, and show the class that some people do
these unethical stuff for a better life?

as for the self-made drama, i think maybe we can do an interview, where the whistleblower does
not get a job anywhere, or just able to get a low paid, pt job, and ends up staying at home for
the rest of his/her life
(mylinh 1/3/15)