There is a certain stigma against whistleblowers in our society. Often someone who brings this sort of thing to attention will be considered a pariah to their peers. Even when they aren’t, there’s just a certain reluctance for someone to step forward and assertively state an issue to the proper authorities. We consider it ‘taddling’, and we are taught as children that ‘taddling is bad’. None the less, these issues need to be solved, and a whistleblower can make all the difference.
Take Bradley Birkenfeld, for instance. Due to his whistleblowing to the IRS and other relevant institutions, he uncovered a massive system of defrauding the USA through overseas accounts by the UBS. A former employee, he attempted to contact the upper authorities of the UBS before taking matters elsewhere when he got no reply. Unfortunately, he himself was sentenced to some measure of jail time due to some technicalities about how long he waited before blowing the whistle, but he later relieved $104 million for his services. This may be the most significant part of the whole case, as it sends a strong message that not only should whistleblower not feel scared to come forward, but should be encouraged to.
Or how about a relatively recent string of cases involving a pair of railroad companies? There are three such cases that have come to the forefront. One has involved a conductor who was knocked unconscious when a knuckle that connects broke who was fired for allegedly violating safety rules. Another concerns a carman who slipped on ice and sustained injuries, who was then terminated for allegedly not following the proper injury report procedures. The final case involves a conductor who raised concerns about improper procedure in the capacity of a member of the union, and was terminated for allegedly failing an engineering test. All were considered to be whistleblowers, and all received generous compensation when the US Department of Labor got involved, and all their concerns were taken seriously by the proper authorities when raised.
Whistleblowing can both save your own job, and provide safety and security for yourself, fellow employees and clients. As much as it is often considered to be a ‘dirty thing’ by employers, whistleblowers both have a right to speak out and legal protection when they do.