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Is whistleblowing ethical?

Is whistleblowing ethical?
The above article is about a wrongful termination of one of the research assistants working in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department. Robert McGee, 54, filed the suit against the University Board of Regents after he was terminated from his job as a research assistant. He was fired because he reported safety violations in the laboratory. McGee said he saw Assistant Prof. Michael Hartman, who led the project, engage in various safety protocol violations, including dumping dangerous chemicals down a drain and entering another lab without proper access. McGee said Hartman also put him in a dangerous situation in which he could have been exposed to the highly radioactive isotope Cesium-137.
The main issue in this article is whether or not it is ethical to fire a loyal worker for whistle blowing. I think it is morally wrong to terminate someone from the job just because McGee noticed that there was something wrong.
Some say that whistleblowers are noble characters, willing to sacrifice personally and professionally to expose organizational practices that are wasteful, fraudulent, or harmful to the public safety. Others suggest that whistleblowers are, by and large, disgruntled employees who maliciously and recklessly accuse individuals they feel have wronged them in order to attain their own selfish goals. Whatever your personal view of whistleblowers and whistle blowing, as an organizational policy-maker you must consider the issue objectively. It is not an issue that can be ignored, due to the possible negative consequences for both your employees and your organization.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. ykbriggs
    November 29, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I think that whistleblowing can be viewed differently depending on situation, because it’s true that some people can pursue their own egoistic goals and actually made lots of harm to employer and surrounding community. But in this particular situation, it was totally wrong and unethical since this man just tried to prevent potential harm. At the same time, if he wouldn’t be fired would he be able to work productively for this company and maintain strong employee-employer relationship and be trusted? It might be unethical and wrong, but it seems like it is the one way road.

  2. twinpate
    December 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Whistle blowing is and always should be seen as ethical. An employee has a right themselves to operate to their highest ethical standards. If a company asks them to violate their standards for the good of the company, then the company is violating worker’s rights. Besides companies with higher ethical standards are more sustainable than those with unethical practices

  3. courtnei86
    December 8, 2009 at 12:32 am

    In this case i view whistle blowing as ethical. When it comes to your own safty and the safty of your coworkers of course something needs to be said. There are rules for a reason and when one person breaks a rule that can cause harm to other people something should always be said. I think he made the right decision.

  4. yulianap
    December 8, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Companies should develop whistle-blowing policies and thus make employees aware that they have responsibilities to report possible wrongdoings. It is not ethical to fire an employee because of his or her professionalism and ethical behavior. However, there will be always some people that would only act from self-interest, so companies should also develop their policies imposing some consequences for those people.

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