Whistle Blowing (130)

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Corporations may flaunt legal or ethical guidelines by harassing employees, ignoring safety considerations, or dumping toxic chemicals. Governments also engage in transgressions from the minor to the truly horrific. Many of these misdeeds are kept secret, protected by a "code of silence." Whistle Blowing is the act of exposing problems within an organization by making incidents or documents public. Although society as a whole benefits from Whistle Blowing, the whistle-blower can be seen as a traitor to their community and punished for their efforts. Tom Devine offers useful advice on how to "blow the whistle" without becoming a martyr in the process. These suggestions include carefully documenting the questionable activities, identifying potential allies, and maintaining good relations with the staff. Whistle Blowing can be employed by anybody who finds themselves in possession of knowledge that is being kept secret when it should be made public. People who aren't in this position can provide support the people who are. Whistle Blowing connotes the use of a whistle, as with the whistle of a police officer, to signal for help. Others have compared it to a train whistle, that sounds a warning when approaching an intersection, or to the whistle of the referee, signaling foul play.

Text: Douglas Schuler