Whistleblowing and Employee Loyalty

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By y2duan
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CHAPTER 8

WHISTLEBLOWING AND EMPLOYEE LOYALTY*

Three Mile Island. In early 1983, almost four years after the near meltdown at Unit 2, two officials in the Site Operations Office of General Public Utilities reported a reckless company effort to clean up the contaminated reactor. Under threat of physical retaliation from superiors, the GPU insiders released evidence alleging that the company had rushed the TMI cleanup without testing key maintenance systems. Since then, the Three Mile Island mop-up has been stalled pending a review of GPU’s management.1

The releasing of evidence of the rushed cleanup at Three Mile Island is an example of whistleblowing. Norman Bowie defines whistleblowing as “the act by an employee of informing the public on the immoral or illegal behavior of an employer or supervisor.”2 Ever since Daniel Elsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers, the question of whether an employee should blow the whistle on his company or organization has become a hotly contested issue. Was Elsberg right? Is it right to report the shady or suspect practices of the organization one works for? Is one a stool pigeon or a dedicated citizen? Does a person have an obligation to the public that overrides his obligation to his employer or does he simply betray a loyalty and become a traitor if he reports his company? There are proponents on both sides of the issue––those who praise whistle-blowers as civic heroes and those who condemn them as “finks.” Glen and Shearer who wrote about the whistleblowers at Three Mile Island say, “Without the courageous breed of assorted company insiders known as whistleblowers—workers who often risk their livelihoods to disclose information about construction and design flaws— the Nuclear Regulatory Commission itself would be nearly as idle as Three Mile Island … . That whistleblowers deserve both gratitude and protection is beyond is…...

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