Whistleblowing: When It Is Appropriate To Be A Whistleblower
Being a whistleblower or deciding whether or not you want to become one can present some rather difficult ethical questions. Society teaches us from a young age that it is often wrong to report our friends’ or colleagues’ wrongdoings or mistakes. It shows a lack of loyalty, and in the most extreme circumstances it could ruin the professional careers of many people including the whistleblower himself. This is perhaps the biggest reason why so many people are willing to look the other way or even outright lie rather than expose someone else’s mistakes or transgressions. Unfortunately, one can only look the other way for so long before ignoring or covering up a serious problem becomes just as morally reprehensible as selling out colleagues or friends.
Reporting a serious problem that would otherwise go unnoticed is always a big step to take, but in many cases it could lead to changes for the better. Equipment that was shoddily assembled because someone wanted to cut corners and save on time and money could fail catastrophically and seriously injure someone. A new medication that has adverse side effects that a drug company chooses to cover up could be harmful to millions of people. Irresponsible financial behavior on the part of a corporate executive could bankrupt companies and harm billion-dollar industries and further cripple this economy. These horrible things can and do happen when people choose to do nothing about them, which is why it is so important that there are people willing to take a step forward and expose these problems to the appropriate authorities.